Durham Pre-Sale Outrage

I try to give the benefit of the doubt.  I try to find a reasonable explanation when things in Duranland aren’t what I and many other think it should be.  In this case, I’m struggling.  I’m truly struggling to understand, to explain, to remain positive.  As we all know, last week Duran announced a new date in Durham, North Carolina, on August 21st.  Okay.  That could be cool.  Last week, in the wake of this news, Rhonda and I both talked about how difficult it is to plan for shows when we only know 2 in isolation.  As some people have pointed out, these dates probably have been released by the venue rather than the band’s team.  Okay.  I get that.  Nonetheless, it is frustrating when you want to put together a logical tour for oneself, which includes shows close together, both geographically and time wise.  I get that the band’s team, for whatever reason, isn’t ready to put out the rest of the dates, assuming there are more.  See I’m being understanding…well, I was until I found out about the presale for Durham. 

I found out about the presale from a phone call from Rhonda who found out from Julie, one of our readers.  Apparently, it was also “announced” on the band’s twitter.  I didn’t see it on their facebook, however.  Now, I’m a member of DDM and have been since 2004.  Why don’t they send emails to their members when presales are announced?  Do they assume that everyone goes over to DDM on a daily basis?  (I don’t, by the way, especially since there rarely is information provided that way and the boards are soooooo….slow.)  Anyway, luckily, someone was paying attention and was kind enough to point it out to us.  (Thanks, Julie!)  So, now we are about 15 hours or so from the start of the presale.  What information do we know?  Pretty much NOTHING.  We know that there will be two ticket options from Artist Arena:  the regular ticket price and the enhanced merchandise bundle ticket.  Are prices given for these options?  Nope.  Do they describe the possible location for these options?  Nope.  Do they give details about what is included in the merch bundle?  Nope.  I had to look at ticketmaster to have an idea of what the ticket prices MIGHT be.  Why should I have to search that much?  Why isn’t it given?  Why don’t we know where the tickets will be located, in general?  Is this enhanced merch the new name for VIP?  If so, can I assume that the tickets will be in the first few rows?  Honestly, the customer service here sucks.  Yes, yes, Artist Arena, at least, says exactly where your seats will be when you add seats to your “shopping cart”.  That is literally the only good thing about them that I can find. 

Back in the good old days of DDM (and I can’t believe I’m saying that or believing that!), there were VIP packages and there were Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and sometimes more.  VIP included the first 5 rows, merch, a chance for a meet and greet, and a preshow party.  It wasn’t cheap but…at least you knew exactly what you were getting.  Tier 1 tickets would also be specified.  Before the presale began, you would know exactly which sections and rows were included for Tier 1.  They were the same as the regular priced tickets but you could get 6th-15th row, at least in my experience.  The other tiers would be further back or in the balcony.  Again, though, you would know exactly how much those tickets were and where those seats would be located.  Thus, you could get decent seats through DDM without buying VIP.  I truly don’t think that is the case now that they are using Artist Arena.  For example, for LA this past year, I tried to get regular seats and got something like 32nd row.  Many people I know tried to get seats for the Chicago show that way and couldn’t get any.  They didn’t have many seats under the regular ticket heading and I’m not sure how many VIPs they had either.

While I can understand having a couple of dates out there before the rest of the tour is announced, I don’t get why Artist Arena is so pathetic with their information.  I also don’t get why the presale wasn’t announced everywhere.  I don’t get why members weren’t alerted.  Don’t they want to sell these tickets?  Don’t they want to create excitement?  Then, why can’t they give information about the prices, the merch, the seating locations?  They must know it and, if they don’t, why the heck not?  Thus, Rhonda and I still don’t really know what the best plan for us is.  Do we buy tickets tomorrow?  If so, will we regret it later when we find a different group of shows to go to?  Which tickets do we try for?  I don’t know.  I’m beyond frustrated, though.  I realize that the band members themselves aren’t doing this.  I realize that it is Artist Arena and DDM that has created such a bad situation for us fans.  I am sure that the band isn’t even checking on these groups but have people to do that for them.  That said, it ends up making THEM look badly and will eventually chase a lot more people away besides the large number of people who left a long time ago.

Come on, DDM and Artist Arena, you can do better than this!  Come on, the Duran Duran machine, check on who you have working for the band.  Make sure that they are doing a quality job.  Do it before people walk away for good.

-A

15 thoughts on “Durham Pre-Sale Outrage”

  1. I don't get it, either. If we had a decent amount of time between announcement and presale, we could:

    * plan multi-show vacations centered around the tour
    * recruit more friends to go to the show with us
    * save or move around money so we can buy more tickets
    * adjust our schedules to be able to be online when presale starts
    * be able to verify time off work and/or schedule babysitters before buying tickets

    In one past case, I learned about a presale the afternoon beforehand. In those few waking hours, I had to track down my sister, who is my tourmate. This involved paging her and waiting for her to be able to call me back between her scheduled patients. She had to request time off work, find someone to be able to fill in for her, and get the time off approved by her manager. In the meantime, I persuaded my parents to babysit on show night, as my husband's unreliable travel schedule for work doesn't allow him to commit to that. On presale morning, I connect my laptop to the WiFi at my gym, which is also where I can leave my kids under the protection of the Play Center while I log into Artist Arena…erm, I mean, “work out.” With usernames pre-entered and credit card numbers ready to copy and paste into the web form, I watch the clock count down while wiping the sweat from my fingertips. (Who knew we had sweat glands *there*?)

    I swear, the presale announcement/purchase process requires more intense, stressful, and sudden preparation than going into labor.

    FFS, DDM.

  2. Suzanne, you describe all that most people have to go through in order to “decide” on a show and go through the actual presale. It truly is super intense and stressful and it shouldn't be!

    -A

  3. The way ticket sales are announced is an absolute joke! I think back to last year in Toronto where it wasn't even realized until after tickets were on sale that the seat map published wasn't the correct one! DD played in “theatre mode” as opposed to the entire arena. Fan Club tickets looked like they were at the back of the arena, when in fact they were actually quite good because of the smaller set up. Unfortunately it isn't limited to just Duran Duran. DD and Motley Crue (two polar opposites I know!) are my two all time favourites. Motley has just announced a summer tour. It was announced Tue., and fan club ticket sales (through Artist Arena!) would take place on Wed. It was announced there would be VIP packages. Sales started at 10 am. VIP ticket prices weren't available until 9:50… 10 minutes before the tickets went on sale! Even worse, the top package was way too much for me ($1400 but with a lot of cool stuff. Guaranteed M&G, backstage tour, pictures with the band's gear, personal picture with the band)but there were other VIP tiers available as well. The other packages listed “exclusive merchandise TBD”. They STILL haven't said what the merchandise is! I'm not willing to pay an extra $100 for tickets based on merchandise that is TBD. If it was something cool I would go for it, but a recent Crue example was an exclusive trucker hat. No interest. It gets better… The cheapest fan club VIP bundle (merch and a seat)was at the absolute back of the arena! I ended up getting a seat through American Express, for face value of the ticket, and with the interactive seat map I can see that it is in the same rows as the 2nd level of VIP tickets. Why am I in the fan club if I can get good as or better seats that don't require fan club membership? What kind of a thank you is it to fan club members in giving “VIP” seats at the back of the arena?! The whole thing really ticks me off. I do not understand the rush to sell tickets and announce presales or on sales, when all the necessary info isn't available. I agree 100% it makes the bands look bad! I really wonder how much they are aware and would love to know. I'm also disappointed in what is passing as “VIP” these days. While $1400 was way too much for me to go 1st level VIP with Motley Crue, I did at least agree that all that was being offered was what I would call “true VIP unique experience”. Another favourite is Def Leppard. Their summer tour is offering VIP tickets at $450 each. What do you get for $450…? A good seat, and a t-shirt! VIP used to mean “meet the band”. It is getting way to expensive, with very little value for what you pay for. VIP now means “overpriced tickets” only. Put all of the above together and ticket buying is way too stressful with way too much work involved just to get basic info. I'm lucky that I usually go by myself and it is always easier to buy a good single and I don't have to count on anyone else to confirm. If my wife and I do go together, at least we both agree that we want to go. Trying to arrange tickets with a travelling companion or group of friends… forget it! You can't be calling everyone 10 minutes before the onsale when info is just released to see if they are in or not. Why does management or the band not make more of an issue of this? Pearl Jam has proven it can be done. Their fan club allocates the best tickets , to the longest standing members in the fan club. Nine Inch Nails printed fan club names on the tickets to ensure they can't be resold to others and are actually used by the fans. Both have made a point of telling their fans how to take pictures and record the shows, and what to do about it if hassled at the venue. I will always love Duran Duran and have been loyal since 1982. That will never change. I am getting more and more cynical though when it comes to seeing them live, because it really is getting more and more difficult. Thanks for letting me rant. Love the site! Jamie

  4. YES!!! 4 tickets Front Row!!! And the Enhanced tickets are now sold out – at 12:04 – there were not very many…. big sigh of relief… are you guys coming out, have you decided???

  5. I'll be interested in seeing your follow up post on this. I remember responding to a previous blog post that you guys did on DDM in which I said that I wasn't sure what the value of DDM or a presale was when a lot of times you can just get better tickets through Ticketmaster or at the box office (basing this on my personal experience).

    -Susan-

  6. I think I was a happier DD fan before learning all this about the DDM and how they seem to be on a different planet than fans.

    Are there enough die-hard fans to make a dent in ticket-sales if we went on “strike”? Would we forfeit the chance to see the band to make a statement to their management? Would we hold the band responsible for their management? I don't think we would. So if we want things to change, we're going to have to find another way to be heard. And not only be heard – but be taken seriously.

    I don't have any answers right now, but in my spare time I'm thinking about it! A little. 😉

  7. Hmm… Not really sure I have front row now… Looking at the DPAC seating chart – they typically have a row 1 & 2 ahead of row A… that wasn't an option on the AA site. Argh – I hope that is not the case – what a sham if it is. Give us the best/closest seats, or don't offer presales…

  8. I'm a Def Leppard fan myself, and while I agree that their VIP tickets are pricey and not worth it for me personally – I think their announcements of dates, and even telling us when they THINK they're going to tour far exceeds that of Duran Duran. I do appreciate your commenting though because I think it's worth noting that while we might think we've got it bad in our fan community or paid fan club, there's always “worse” to be found. 🙂 If nothing else, we can commiserate with one another!

    Thanks so much for commenting on your experience! -R

  9. Oh Susan. I just don't think there's any right or wrong answer. *sigh*

    I really don't know WHERE the value is in DDM. On one hand, I could point at the availability of VIP tickets. Those can be great if you get those treasured front or second rows. I could also say that for VIP you know that you're getting the best seats in the house, and if you wait for Ticketmaster, there's no guarantee that those are even available.

    That said, there's a lot of pain and torture involved with DDM. We don't know how much the seats are, or what they're offering until the last minute (apparently!). It's a pain, but I find that I'm just as nervous for Ticketmaster sales. My gosh, just a couple weeks ago I wanted LAWN seats for a Def Leppard show and I panicked until they were in my cart and sold. Nobody wants lawn – they weren't going to sell out – but I still worried. It's a curse, I tell you. LOL

    That said, I do believe it's an addiction at this point. One I might honestly die from when my husband gets hold of me and finds out that I've bought tickets to a show that is literally across the country from me. Again. *sigh* -R

  10. It could always be worse… but my big point is it's been proven by others that it can be done better! Just nice to know I'm not alone with these frustrations.

    Maybe we should all be flooding the “Ask Katy” mailbox with emails asking about what the band does or doesn't know with regards to the fan club. Jamie

  11. Well Julie..we've got row B, and Amanda said the same as you are. There were no rows 1 or 2. Now, whether that's because they didn't sell those or it's because those don't exist (one of our friends called the venue and they said that a lot of times those seats aren't put out for shows)….it's hard to say. -R

  12. They need Nathan, as in the Nathan that runs their Myspace page? Listen – I think that a big improvement would be to get people in there that actually WANT to work with the fans.

    Quite honestly, Amanda and I could do that job. I have zero interest in the technical stuff, but as far as bringing fans together and being a good liaison – I'd be all over that and I know she would as well. -R

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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