This weekend I was out with my husband (I can’t even remember why we were actually out of the house without a child in tow…) and over lunch we had the oddest conversation. As we were eating lunch, completely out of nowhere, my husband asks me what I think would happen if one of the band members was in a karaoke bar (yeah, right there is when I should have tuned out…) and heard someone attempt to sing Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf. Sigh. To begin with, I really need everyone to understand that Duran Duran really doesn’t occupy THAT many of my thoughts on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s my weekend. So once I snapped into reality and recognized that yes, he really wanted my answer to this question. I rolled my eyes as only a wife can do, and said I didn’t know. Sadly, this wasn’t enough for my dear husband. He continued on saying “Let’s say it was Simon.” (Oh yes, let’s!) “Does he go up and sing a DD song, or does he sing something else?” Sigh. More eye rolling. I really don’t know what he’d do. Why would Simon go to a karaoke bar anyway? Isn’t that sort of like my husband hanging out at a trade show just for the fun of it??
Yes, these are the sorts of conversations we’ll have when my husband is left to his own devices. I still haven’t answered him. Luckily, I found another topic to badger him about. Any guesses from the rest of you out there??
In a desperate attempt to catch up on the RSS feeds I chose to ignore last week, I was scrolling through some this morning and came across an article about superfans. While reading, naturally I referred back to our own fan community here. It talks about things such as naming your fans, giving approaching fans undivided attention, tagging fans (or allowing fans to tag themselves, actually) in panoramic concert photos (as in taken from the stage), sharing “dark secrets” on the blog, developing shared symbols, playing smaller venues, and a few others. If you are interested in reading the original article that I’m commenting about before blasting me with love notes about how ridiculous it is to use the term “Superfan”….read it here.
I stopped to consider why on earth the article ever needed to be written, not really whether or not Duran Duran fans meet the criteria or whether the band employs these methods. (We’ve been fans for over 30 years in many cases. That should pretty much answer that, yes?) I almost liken this to attempting to write a chart-topping ‘hit’. If you’ve got to TRY to create superfans rather than just allowing it all to happen organically out of loyalty to the band or to the music, is it really the same thing? In our case, much of the time we’ve had relatively little contact with the band directly. Sure, they’ve come on tour and we’ve gone to see them, but unless you happen to live in the UK to visit them at the studio, their homes, etc…most of us have never that chance on a regular basis, if ever. We’ve stuck by them from the beginning because we believed in the music, and many times, it wasn’t anything more than a transactional relationship that kept us there. It’s only been as of late that the model has really evolved to where we have more opportunity for interaction – whether that is through having the opportunity to travel, to see them locally, to get involved in social media, or other methods. I like the theoretical ideas of Fan Empowerment or Direct-To-Fan. However, when it gets to the point where manuals are created on the “How To” of cultivating superfans rather than letting the music chart the direction and fan loyalty create the ties that bind, we’re running dangerously close to having the same synthetic and formulaic feeling of many ‘hits’ that top the charts today. It feels like being stuck in a studio with Timbaland. (Yes, I dared to say that.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Duran Duran hoped to create loyal fans and that their attempts to reach us on Twitter or by creating a fan club early on were all about cultivating that loyalty. Was it all really that mind-numbingly calculated? I suppose the proof is in the pudding – somebody drop me a line in twenty or thirty years and let me know how it works out for some of these newer bands and their fans.