Duranland has been a little crazy the last few days. First, it started with the discovery that the European EP of Mediterranea was available on many European iTunes. This, obviously, was not a planned release. Nonetheless, the community went crazy. Some people were able to download the EP, legally, via those iTunes until iTunes realized their mistake and the songs were removed. (EDITED TO ADD DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if this was a mistake on iTunes part or what. This is my assumption about what had happened. I know nothing official, people. I’m just a fan.) Other people were able to hear a sample of many songs, including “All You Need Is Now” and “Mediterranea”. Everyone wanted to know or discuss what the songs were like. Of course, those without the downloaded songs were either openly hoping to get a copy from a Duranie friend or were arguing that the copies should not be shared, for a variety of reasons. Now, new rumors appeared, which included that some of the songs were put up on youtube to hear or that the entire album was available at a torrent site. While I would love to be one of these lucky people to have copies of all new Duran Duran material, I’m not. Therefore, I cannot write about what the songs sound like but I am interested in how the fan community responds to rumors of such significance.
It seems to me that there is no Duranie Alert like hearing that a new song is available in some means. These alerts are more interesting when the song(s) are not available legally. Does the legal status deter Duranies from trying to get the songs? For the most part, in my observation, the answer is no. Duranies may say publicly that they don’t want to hear songs in advance or wouldn’t want to get a hold of the album before it is actually released, but that isn’t true. Behind the scenes of the message board, most fans are contacting the other fans they know to find out if they have the songs and are willing to share. Part of this is simply to hear the new material but there is another piece to this. For some people, this is a way to show one’s status within the fan community. For example, if you are one of only 15 people who have the song, you might feel pretty darn special. Likewise, I can only imagine what that person would feel like when telling others that s/he has one of the only 15 copies of the song. That must make people feel special and/or superior! Of course, the people who have to ask about the songs don’t have the same feeling. Instead, they are forced to beg or do something to encourage the other person to share with them. It becomes a rather interesting and unequal dynamic.
Where does that leave the fandom on a day like today? It leads to fan community to be leading two different lives. On one hand, on message boards and on social networking sites, there is discussion about how people should not download illegally or share with their friends, if they did have a copy. The reasoning is a logical one. Downloading illegally or sharing leads to poorer sales for the band and less chart possibilities. Behind the scenes, fans are contacting each other in order to get the songs. Duranies clearly are an impatient bunch. They are also people who can be constantly concerned about their social status in the community. So, what is the solution to this? I don’t know that there is. Duranies, like all fans, will seek out things unavailable to the public. I suppose the real way to stop this is for the band and their people to keep such incredible control over their material. Yet, is this a good thing for the band, in the long run?
Does leaked material lead fans to not buy the song(s) or album? I don’t think so. Does it create more excitement, more interest? Quite possibly. What would they think of all of the maneuvering between fans in order to get the songs? Perhaps, they would be horrified. Maybe, they would be entertained. Who knows. Here is what I do know: the next few weeks will be VERY interesting for the Duran Duran fandom. This will help me survive the time while waiting for the single and album.