Is there a solution for DDM?

Someone once said that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  We take that quote to heart here at Daily Duranie.  Contrary to what some believe, we don’t simply “moan”.  Our blog is meant to not only bring issues to light (whether those issues are good, bad, or indifferent),  it is meant as a springboard for discussion.  The only thing Amanda and I truly control is the direction the blog takes each day.  From there, we allow the discussion, should there be one, to flow however it might, although we respond to the comments. Sometimes, we’re completely surprised by the lack of response, and other days, we are simply surprised by number of responses!  Overall, we want our blog to be a pivotal source of discussion, and perhaps a source of movement for our fan community.  GLOBALLY.

Fan clubs are a much different animal today than while I was growing up.  Back then all a fan had to do was look for the fan club address in the back of Tiger Beat, then send them their name, address and money for the membership fee (if required).  Then in about 4 months,  a packet with fan club swag would arrive in the mail…and that was about it.  If a fan was really lucky they might get added to a mailing list, and just as that fan moved on from that particular object of interest to the next latest celebrity or band, they’d get some sort of newsletter telling that they were going on tour, or in a new movie.  It took relatively little, and having a fan club really didn’t hurt or help a celebrity.

Today is far different.  As I’ve mentioned several times lately – the model for doing business in this industry has changed.  What used to work back in the 80’s along with about $3.00 will buy you a small cup of house coffee these days, and those records will still be on the shelf.  (Except that today we’re talking mp3’s and iTunes, aren’t we?) The troubling thing is that so many bands are incredibly slow to pick up on the new reality. Their management doesn’t get it, the bands don’t understand why radio isn’t playing them, and they’re expecting that since they sold records a few decades back, that they can still do it solely based on their name.


Those days are over.

Even artists like Paul McCartney are finding that they have to appeal to their audience on a completely different and much more personal level than ever before.  A lot of it is trial and error, and still more of it requires making the connection directly with their fan base.  Many bands, especially those built back in the day when fans were something they ran from, are resistant to the idea.  Just the words “Fan Empowerment” sound so completely radical.  What in the hell could those words possibly mean, and why on earth would an artist or band actually want to speak to those people?!?

Our roles have certainly changed.  The term Fan Community means far, far more than just a club. (For the record – in this blog, I am referring to our community at large, NOT just the pay-to-play DDM Fan Community) Daily Duranie is all about community.  We like the idea of promoting and celebrating what brings us together. For many of us, we’ve been around a long time.  My kids say we’re older than dirt. (a particularly hateful thing to say, but it’s becoming closer to reality with each passing day, I suppose)   We do want to bring fans together, because fostering that connection to one another does something else: it fosters loyalty.  Meet ups, weekend get togethers, group hotels for tour stops, conventions – things like that present opportunities for fans to get together and connect with one another.

For far too long, our community has been almost solely about what *we* can get out of the band.  How can we get the band to recognize we’re here and give us more of what we want – which is them, obviously.  How can we make sure that WE get those front row tickets, meet and greets, etc; yet make sure that we get more of them than anyone else in the community.  We don’t like to share much, do we? There is so much discussion of that sort of thing in our community, yet there is frighteningly little discussion of how we can work together to promote the very thing we all have in common.  The BAND.  Of course the front row tickets, the meet and greets, the “accidental” meetings outside of a hotel are part of being a fan.  They do make it all more fun and it would be ridiculous to argue otherwise.  I like to have fun too!!

My assertion is that there is room and time for everything.  The sense of community, the fun “extras” like good tickets and experiences, and even promotion can be accomplished with help directly from the fan community. That idea has the potential to be empowering for everyone.  With that thought in mind, and with yesterday’s blog still on my heart, I want to know what YOU think can be done to improve the paid fan community.  Should we scrap it and start over?  Should there even be a paid fan community?  I brought a few problems up for discussion yesterday, but what can really be done to improve the situation?

-R

10 thoughts on “Is there a solution for DDM?”

  1. my DDM membership expires tomorrow got 2 vip tickets last year paid a lot of money and had really crappy seats there's no M&G unless you are in the Us or UK so why would I bother renewing my membership?

  2. At this point I have no idea…

    That said, I DO think there are ways to improve upon what was started on DDM and create a real fan community. DDM is unfortunately a prime example of a wasted opportunity for the band because it really could have been a vehicle to do all of the things I described in the blog above. (I'd just like to say good bye to my chances of getting a good seat at a concert ever again…but my heart is truly in the right place here)

    I really don't want to trash DDM, that was never my intention although I wholly own up to pointing out some real problems with the DDM concept. I want to find and suggest solutions. There are many out there – so let's see them! – R

  3. Just wondering – does anyone know of a band whose fan club does work?

    It seems that what fans want is: more shows, access to better tickets and more possibilities to meet the band. Maybe some fan-club only merch?

    If this is the case, is it possible that DD just has too many fans to make this possible? Breaking this down…

    More shows. I'm not sure it would be good for the band to add more shows. They aren't 25 any longer and Simon's voice has already taken a hit. Roger's already retired due to exhaustion once before and he was a young stud then. I admit that of course I'd love to see them more than once a year, but is that the best thing for the band? Financially, sure. Physically/mentally perhaps not. And, in the long run maybe not for them as a band either – there is something to anticipation. If they're coming around too often it might lose some of its magic.

    Access to better tickets/meet & greets. As a paying fan club member, pre-sales are all I really need. I'm not going to pay the kind of money VIP packages cost. I just won't. (Maybe that's a sign of having grown up a bit? God knows I would have when I was younger and overly infatuated.) The outrageous prices of VIP packages that carry only a chance of winning a meet & greet pass? No thanks.

    I do feel badly for fans in other countries who don't see them nearly as often as others. DD's show is huge and expensive to move from place to place. Maybe in some countries it's more difficult to get from one city to the next in a timely manner with everything they have to take with them. Would fans go for a “DD Lite” tour – acoustic, perhaps? Fewer bells and whistles but a show nonetheless? More smaller venues? Is this something DD would even consider? Would it be too demanding on them physically, especially Simon's voice?

    As for merch, unless it's really cool, I'll pass. The best thing in the fan pack, I thought, was the copy of Simon's handwritten lyrics. I'm not as into all that as I once was.

    Just some thoughts. ~Betsi

  4. Duran need new management, replace them with people who know what they are doing & a fan club should be run by fans. Fans know what fans want. Sadly the fan club just like everything else in DDM world is about making money not pleasing the fans.

    I am of the opinion it is not just the fan club that has issues, the band are never promoted in the UK, they never do any TV or radio there, which bear in mind is the country in which they live, whilst its not about a UK vs US comment, I find the amount of shows & times & promotion they do in the US is done like that because the management are American, and because they seem to make the most amount of money in the US.

    Well done to you girls for discussing these issues.

  5. There are a lot of fan clubs that do more than just adore from afar…I don't know if I'd characterize the promotion as actual “work” though. It's more subtle than that. For example (and this is just off the top of my head due to something else I'm working on), there was a band from the UK named Marillion whose fans wanted them to tour the US. The band explained to them that since they didn't have a label at the time, they couldn't tour (the label typically fronted the money for tours at that time, and I think they still do that for SOME bands even nowadays). Well, the fans took it upon themselves to try and raise money, and before they knew it they had about $20,000 in a bank account. The band figured it'd take about $50,000 to tour and break even – so the fans raised $60,000 for them and put it in an escrow account.

    That's just one example of the type of “work” fan clubs have done. I'm not really sure something like that would work for Duran Duran, but that's the type of thing I was thinking of when I wrote the blog. Fundraising works for some bands, others – well, probably not. Of course we'd have to find things that would make sense for Duran Duran, but that's part of being creative. You have to understand that labels do virtually nothing for their signed bands and artists these days – and Duran Duran isn't even signed with an actual label (aside from distribution) anyway.

    As far as playing more shows and things, that's not really what I was suggesting. More access to the band overall is what fans want of course – whether that's seeing them at shows, having them play “secret” shows for fan club members only (Foo Fighters do that on occasion and it works very well for them), it's really about making the fan club members feel like they're a part of something very special. Some bands do that extremely well, and others hold their fans at arms length with a sense of disdain, and still more fall somewhere in the middle.

    I think there has to be a sweet spot where you're utilizing the talent and energy of the fan club along with offering them plenty of fun and special things – both things that would require paying extra for and things that might not – that the band is just missing right now. There is a way to accomplish what they need, it's just thinking outside of the box (or just forgetting all about “The box” and starting anew!) and getting creative!

    -R

  6. Fair enough. I know that most bands see the US as the place to make money, and I can't argue with them there…I have to assume they're right on that one. I don't really know if it's because their management is American though. I mean, a LOT of managers are from the US simply because the industry is largest here, you know? As far as the amount of shows they do here – our country is huge. We have many, many large cities to play on our continent, and people don't travel here nearly as easily as they do in the UK or in Europe. Our population is bigger, etc. etc. I'm not really arguing with you because I do think they do a lot of shows here, but I also think it's because it's very well warranted. All of that said, how many shows do you think would be appropriate for the UK? They spent a few weeks touring there last November and December and seemed to hit most of the major cities, did they not? (I'm seriously asking – not being facetious) Maybe it's not necessarily the amount of time they spend each tour, it's that they should go back there more often as they do here in the US. That, I would agree. – R

  7. You mis understood my point about the management being American. The fact that the only country they have done radio shows to win meet and greets or tickets, or tv appearances, or anything that resembles publicity is the USA. Thats because the management are from the US and are out of touch with the other countries in the world and how to put the publicity out there. They could be big in many places if they actually accepted there was a world outside the US.

  8. So the band doesn't get printed press, radio or TV anywhere but here? I know I've seen the band mention many different types of press that they've done in Germany, other parts of Europe and the UK as well as Italy. I'm not sure that I can really agree with that statement. There may very well be MORE here, but that really can't be blamed on management. It could be that there is just more demand for them here. They can't very well go on TV shows and the like if they aren't wanted or invited. -R

  9. I don't think that's true. Duran Duran have appeared on TV shows in the UK promoting things, they've done radio programs there and it was the UK that got all those great little rehearsal shows. I know, I've seen them on Youtube. 🙂 I've also read the many articles and interviews done for UK magazines and newspapers. I've seen them do interviews in other countries in both print and radio/tv. In fact I've often thought “Why can't they do interviews like that here?” and things like that.

    The US is MUCH bigger country so they have to do those things in more places in the US, I think sometimes that is forgotten. You can't do something in one place and expect it to be seen and heard in even half the country. Aside from a few national entertainment shows–where for the most part they'd only be able to play one maybe two songs if they were lucky or a one minute interview segment, everything is regional. Radio is all local.

    The US is something like the 3rd or 4th largest country in the world in terms of geography(and that's not counting Alaska and Hawaii I don't think:)) and I think 3rd in population size as well.

    It takes time and hard work to do the promotions here. That's not favoritism, that's just practical facts. There are places in the US where people have to drive just as far to see a DD concert as if they were playing two or three countries over in Europe. How many shows does for example, Belgium need? It takes what? 2 or 3 hours to drive across the whole country? To put this in perspective, my home state of New Jersey is only slightly smaller and slightly less populous and it's the 3rd smallest state in the country, there are 47 states LARGER than New Jersey. The neighboring state of Pennsylvania could fit about FOUR and 1/2 Belgiums inside it but you know what? There are still 17 states bigger than Pennsylvania. However I believe they only played one show there, because population wise–Pennsylvania isn't that populous for it's size being only slightly more populous than Belgium. So there is a need to try and balance geographic size with population size, thus why sometimes people might have to drive far distances to go to the closest show.

    I think they accept there is a world outside here very well, to me they look like an international act and in fact you don't see very much of them here in the media, because honestly, you'd have to do more and put more time than they do to get that sort of media presence. When you see them doing a radio show in North Carolina, pretty much ONLY the North Carolinans hear that radio show, unless it ends up on youtube or someone links to a live stream for other fans in other places to listen to. Otherwise no one else even knows about it. Even in New York, if they do a New York radio show, the ONLY place hearing it is the Tri-State area. Luckily that's a big population center but it's not national. The other 47 states really have no idea. Same for LA.

  10. All are very good points, and I think that the concept that we have MANY different TV and print markets here within the same country is very difficult for those outside of the US to understand. Our country is huge – and each state operates as it's own separate entity (and actually each major metropolitan area really operates on it's own as well!!). Most countries are much smaller than the US and operate far differently. It's hard to understand what goes on here unless you've lived here. Thanks for commenting and helping to drive home my poorly stated point! 😀 -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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