No Early Entry GA Ever???

Yesterday, the Daily Duranie heard from a couple of different people that, on this summer US tour, there will no early entry included with ANY VIP package. We don’t know that this is completely true but the people we heard from had apparently contacted Artist Arena and received that information. That said, we don’t exactly what was asked and what exactly the response was. We did not see the exchange of emails. Anyway, we tweeted about this yesterday and there was quite the response on twitter. In fact, the reaction ranged from annoyed to outraged. I didn’t see one tweet that was excited about this notion. The other day, though, I did see some people think it was a good idea. After all, shouldn’t all fans have a chance to get to the front and not just the ones that have more money that they can spend on tickets as long as they are waiting in line to be in the front. While that is a valid point, people’s negative reactions to this news were more focused on why should people VIP then and what is the point of the fan club AT ALL.

It appears that there are going to be some general admission shows during this US tour. Clearly, Biloxi is one of them that has at least a section of general admission. I know that the Memphis show and the Chicago show also have sections with general admission. Thus, this issue will keep coming up over and over again. Here is the thing: Many Duranies are willing and able to pay the money to be up front. For a general admission show, the way that people have been able to be up front is by having early access or to be able to enter before the rest of the crowd. Now, if they have no longer have this option, why would people be willing to pay for VIP? As Rhonda mentioned the other day, VIP or the “enhanced merchandise bundle” is still available. This means that for VIP price, all you get is stuff. Merchandise. Is this merch worth the price? Obviously, everyone has to decide this for themselves. Interestingly enough, I have heard complaints about what is offered as well. I have heard people complaining about how the t-shirts don’t fit well, the tote bags are poor quality, and that the package includes items that are useless like the laminate. Perhaps, then, for some fans, it is worth it. For others, it might be worth it if the bundle was changed, updated. I do wonder how they decide what should be included in these packages. Why would they think that people want laminates? Back in 2005-2007, the laminates, at least, indicated what shows you VIPed at. Not anymore. Now, they just list the year. Who cares? The t-shirt I got for VIPing last year had VIP 2011 on the back. Again, it only mentioned the year. It did not even include the name of the tour and the locations. Lame. Perhaps, DDM, Artist Arena and DDHQ would benefit from taking a survey about this merch bundle. It seems, based on people’s reactions yesterday, that most people wouldn’t VIP for just the merch. The stuff simply isn’t good enough for what it costs. Of course, many fans want a step beyond that. Many began to wonder why they bother to be members of DDM at all.

Why do/did people join DuranDuranMusic? It obviously costs money. What do people think they get or should get with their membership? They think, and rightly so, that they should get something above and beyond the rest of the general public. Most Duranies I have heard from say that they joined the fan club to get information and for tickets. Yes, obviously, DDM offers a couple of other things like Katy Kafes, contests, and a message board but I don’t ever hear those referred to as a reason to join or a reason to stay. Now, we have talked frequently about information or, more often, the lack of information from DDM. Yet, some people continue to stay. I have. Is it because of those message boards? No way. It is truly because of the tickets. I like to go to Duran shows. I am willing to travel and I’m willing to pay for a membership that guarantees tickets to shows I want to go to. I am often willing and able to pay money, serious money for me, to not only have tickets but GOOD tickets. I’m probably not the only one, in the same spot. If the membership lacks the ability to buy these GOOD seats or access to good seats, why should I continue to pay my money? Wouldn’t I be better off to buy through public sales or through sites like ebay or stub hub? Based on yesterday’s response on twitter, I know that I’m not the only one thinking this.

The bigger issue, beyond money, is customer service, is respect, is being treated well. I bet that most of us thought, believed, expected to be treated special when we joined. To me, this is the opposite. We are being treated like naive people who will just buy whatever because it has the Duran Duran fan club attached to it. I hate to thell them that I am not one of those fans. I expect more and better and I doubt I’m the only one. Will I continue to be a member? I honestly don’t know. I’m going to be watching the rest of the presales to see what is offered, GA or not. If it is a show that I plan to go to and it is GA, I can definitely say that there is NO way that I would pay for VIP without early access. They would have to offer something more than the merch bundle for me to even consider it. Maybe then, I would start to feel respected again. I think I have given up hope of feeling special, though, which is the saddest thing of all.

-A

17 thoughts on “No Early Entry GA Ever???”

  1. Amanda and Rhonda, Thank you for being able to take a step back and provide a much needed sense of perspective on the contentions and peeves voiced re: the summer tour and membership in DDM FC.

    I know I want a great experience when I see DD or any show. I don't want my memories to be overshadowed by the politics and negative feelings I have expressed about this summer tour, which surely defeats the purpose.

    It's just not worth it. You're right, expectations are what can make or break an experience. And for some, it is more about the meet ups with friends only seen when the band is touring.

    For me, as a noob member of DD fandom, I have no context, so my expectations were not realistic. I want to meet up with folks, and eventually I will, but it won't be this summer tour for me.

    The stress of the last 2 days was not worth it. And as I've said, I saw them in October, it was the greatest experience, and I'm good with that. As you both pointed out, if it's about the show, no two are the same. One can be great and another can be less great, or a complete disappointment. I don't want to go to say I saw them twice this year, I don't want to go only to compare this concert to the one I already attended in the fall and prior to that in 1993(?).

    So I await to hear the stories from others on there grand experiences with friends and fellow fans.

    Some day I will be able to be healthy enough for my brain to handle life's ups and downs better. I'll just wait until the next tour, next album, and there will be a next time!

    Deb

  2. Deb-I truly am so sorry to hear that the last couple of days have been so stressful for you. If I can offer a piece of advice, let me suggest something. Take a break from thinking about the show. Then, if you feel like it, try for tickets. If it is easy to do, then, maybe, it was meant to be. A little story to show what I mean…

    In 2007, when the band was releasing Red Carpet Massacre and things were so ugly in the fan community, I tried to keep positive the best I could with an album that I wasn't excited about. The band decided to do a run on Broadway in which they would play the entire album. I wanted to go. I sought out my touring buddies. Rhonda was pregnant with her youngest and my other friend couldn't afford a trip. I decided that it wasn't meant to be. I tried to put it out of my mind and did. Then, I got in touch with a college roommate who was living in New York City. I suggested that I wanted to go see Duran on Broadway. She offered to go with and a place to stay. Still I thought that I wouldn't be able to find decent seats. Then, I looked on DDM and saw that a friend was selling 7th row tickets. Clearly, it was meant to be. I, obviously, headed up going. While it wasn't the usual tour or the usual show, I'm so glad that I went. It helped me keep going as a fan. It helped me survive a tough time in Duranland.

    -A

  3. “We are being treated like naive people who will just buy whatever because it has the Duran Duran fan club attached to it.”

    That assumption has been proven time and time again because fans keep buying/renewing their VIP membership! This is not the first time that the DD fan club has let us down with their lack of service or lame offerings. Yet the fans keep hoping for change to happen instead of leaving en masse to drive home the point of your dissatisfaction.

    I'm not sure if the band members are directly to blame for this mess but they need to have some awareness that this disrespect reflects badly on them. How can people *THINK* that they are receiving something and get something entirely different or below expectation? There's a lack of communication or clarification somewhere and it needs to be fixed. Nobody should be getting stressed over figuring out whether or not they get to meet the band or get front row tickets. It should be straightforward; a given for paying customers (if the band/its management so choose to operate that way). I've never bought a DDM/VIP membership but after seeing how others got shafted, I pretty much made up my mind that I won't ever do it!

  4. I'm one of those people who keeps renewing my membership. As I stated in the blog, I have for the tickets and the tickets alone. It is a tougher decision than what it appears…do I stop the membership and then not have the chance at good seats or do I continue to put up with it? Obviously, in the blog, if the chance at good seats/spots at shows goes away, my decision is easy.

    As far as the band goes, you are right. It has their NAME on it. Thus, it does reflect on them. As for lack of communication about what they get, the information gets out there BUT it is right before the tickets go on sale. They should be clear about what packages include for the whole tour, as much as possible.

    -A

  5. Madame Duran, A&R, with such a diverse and loyal fan base, I am curious on comments made thus far . It begs the question of how fans can unite to be change agents.
    There's a common saying among “good businesses”– the customer is always right. Essentially, that philosophy means that it is the customer that drives business practices.

    If this was applied to the dilemma at hand, what might this change look like? How do duranies unite to change the status quo that many have expresses dissatisfaction with? And yes, these problems that have been expressed, are valid, warranting further investigation into how many of “us” are disgruntled and what changes “we” want to see.

    I believe at some point, sooner than later, that energy be put into this rather than venting and getting nowhere.

    I am thankful that I can vent here and be a part I'd a duranie FCC that values discourse and reflection.

    So what is the next step? Who's with me here?

    Deb

  6. The first question is does that said business know that the customers are disgruntled? Typically, a business would know this by loss of profit. I would argue that the membership of DDM has gone down but has ticket sales? I would argue that ticket sales don't matter to Artist Arena and DDM because the tickets that aren't sold just go back to the public sale. That said, if these ticket policies affect the membership in a serious way, then they might notice enough to make a change. Until then, I am not sure what we can do.

    -A

  7. I'll tell you how we're going to go forward from here. People are “speaking” about this, and many of us are refusing to buy what is being offered. We're buying regular GA tickets. We're not participating in DDM presales. We're going to Ticketmaster and other outlets, and we're not renewing our DDM memberships. Contrary to what some might believe, Amanda and I didn't start this blog as a venue for complaints. I realize that sometimes, it certainly reads that way – but that was definitely not the intention. We would much rather celebrate our fandom, learn from our differences, share our experiences, and cheer over the band.

    I didn't join DDM just for good seats. I joined because I wanted to be a part of the community. I wanted to get involved, go to meetups, make friends, have connections that go way beyond the 4 band members on stage. That's what is really important. I can buy good seats to nearly every show on StubHub. If that's all I wanted, then that would be the way to go. The trouble is that since the inception of DDM, things with that community have continued to go downhill. Let me make this clear just so that if someone, ANYONE out there with real influence is reading they'll understand: I WOULD HAVE GLADLY KEPT PAYING FOR MY MEMBERSHIP IF THE FAN COMMUNITY WAS REALLY ABOUT A “COMMUNITY”. At $35 or even $55 a year, feeling as though you're a part of a special group or club is worth the cost if you can take advantage of the things that are being offered and organized. I was happy to be supportive of the band, and at first – I really did feel “special”. We had fun VIP preshow parties. We had great merchandise (I still use my duffle bags!!), we had good tickets and I met a great many good people out there. Of course, that's not currently the case with DDM. At this point in time, it's about having the ability to buy tickets. It's about presales. The site isn't well maintained, there's absolutely zero sense of direction, and there's really nothing “exclusive” about the fan community. I really can't imagine anyone would argue with me about that. So I quit. I stopped paying. It's not that I can't afford it – it's that I'd just rather not bother with the membership. I know I'm not alone.

    Now of course, it's looking like being a member of that fan community is affording people less and less in the way of special experiences, exclusivities, and flat out customer service and respect. If in fact it is true that there will no longer be true enhancements beyond merchandise for those “enhanced COST” tickets – they can keep them. I can't see fans continuing to shell out the extra cash for just a t-shirt.

    It was explained to me that often times, the venues really do WANT to be open for early access, but the cost in maintaining staffing for that time is paid directly out of the band's pocket. Not many bands out there want to pay the price for the extra perk of early entry for GA shows. Ok. While I don't like the idea, I do understand business. I get what it means to have to cut costs. I know all about budgeting. I don't have to like it, but I get it. That said, I also won't be purchasing those enhanced price tickets just for some extra stuff that I probably already own, and as I've seen – I'm not the only one.

    Marketing. Customer Service. Learn the words. Use them. -R

  8. Rhonda makes a good point here, which is why people joined the fan club to begin with. Goodness knows that many of us joined the fan club back in the day and it had nothing to do with tickets. The fact that most people NOW are there only for tickets says a lot. Most of us gave up the idea of a real fan community on there. We no longer even expect it. Perhaps, that is the saddest thing of all.

    -A

  9. They were made aware of it long ago via a phone conversation I had with Wendy Laister. She defended many of the DDM choices and while she promised to give what we talked about some thought, nothing improved. In fact the service and the packages have steadily declined in value. That was pretty much my last straw. I did not renew my DDM membership after that. I believe that was 2005.
    ~Grey Rzeznik

  10. Is the “they” you are referring to, the band? Is it possible that Wendy did not share this conversation with the band or is it possible that even if she did, she still makes the final decision as manager? I'm asking because I don't know exactly how the relationship works with Duran and their manager.

    I agree with you that the packages and service have declined.

    -A

  11. Yep, if we want a community we're on our own to create one. Hence, the Daily Duranie meetups and things we're trying to plan. I'm not above doing the work to make this community fun again, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for membership to something that doesn't even work. -R

  12. There's no way to know for sure what Wendy did/didn't tell the band but that in and of itself is just sad. Nothing changed for the better so either she told them and they didn't feel the need to listen or she didn't tell them and they blindly let their fans be fleeced. Both scenarios suck big ones. Maybe it's overly jaded of me to say but this band tends to respond best to what favors their wallets the most. Not that I fault them for that by itself; only the side effects they allow it to have on their fans.

    ~Grey

  13. Well, almost a whole day unplugged and I find all these posts! I just got finished responding to a pm from a friend I met through DDM, and a post on Kettering, OH date.

    Two things: one comment about the Fraze venue (kettering) was made stating that there was no pre-sale for DD in 2005 there. Hmmmm.

    Another comment, from a new member to the community (2 posts) asked about backstage passes and meet and greets. I tenderly explained to her how those days are gone, my child.

    If the answer to this mess is “blowing in the wind”….I hope it's not a fart.

    'Cause the whole thing smells something terrible.
    Deb

  14. In 2005, I went to that show. It's true that there was not a presale for regular tickets but I believe that VIP was available as a number of people I knew from the fan club had really good seats.

    -A

  15. “I didn't join DDM just for good seats. I joined because I wanted to be a part of the community. I wanted to get involved, go to meetups, make friends, have connections that go way beyond the 4 band members on stage.”

    My sense of fan community came from participating on message boards (e.g. Lizard King) and from fans I met offline. I suspect it's the same for most other fans too so I find it a bit redundant to use DDM for that purpose. However, the promise of better tickets (or first dibs) and the chance of meeting the band was something that message boards couldn't offer. DDM has no appeal to me whatsoever. I don't even click on its link from the official DD website splash page. The “exclusive” Katy Kafe interviews (admittedly of some interest to me) end up online because someone leaked them and I hear them for free. What is left to seriously keep we wanting to be part of the DDM community? NOTHING.

    It may sound very retro of me to say this but what Duran Duran needs is a tech-savvy, fan connected version of the Berrow brothers to guide them in the area of better fan relations. Mark Ronson can stay in the studio to do more of his wizardry (more like midwifery business).

  16. I see what you're saying here and agree with much of it.

    You had already found your sense of community before DDM came along, so for you it was extra. I'm sure that was the case with many people. Message boards tend to have a tight knit group of people that keep it going, and if you're not within that group – it's very difficult to break through. I've met so many people that just never found their “space” in the community, even after DDM came along. I can't say it's purely because DDM was mismanaged, but I CAN say that the way the site/community works today doesn't help.

    As for who should run the fan community – I can't really say. All I do know is that only a fan would understand what a fan really wants, and it's very difficult to mix that emotionality with business. It can be done, but I think it's a fine line to walk, and yes – I'm available whenever they want me. LOL 😀

    -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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