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.