No Early Entry VIP?

Today was the presale for Biloxi, Mississippi. I went to Twitter this morning in a rather vain attempt to shake the trees looking for possible Duranies who were planning to attend. It would seem that this show is not going to be a favorite for the hard core fans that choose to follow us on Twitter (or Facebook), as decidedly few have mentioned their plans.

As Amanda and I were preparing ourselves for the presale by understanding what might be available (Is the venue seated or GA?  Will their be VIP packages?  Where in the heck is Biloxi? Can I fly there from Orange County?), we noticed that the ticketing for this particular show is indeed different from other shows.  I’m not sure how many of you have bought presale tickets lately, but “VIP” has a new name.  It’s now called “Enhanced Merchandise Bundle” and includes things such as a t-shirt, a commemorative tour laminate, and a photo book.  The price for this “bundle” is $125 over and above the ticket price for the show.  When we bought our presale tickets for Durham, it was made clear that the seats would still be preferential. (although as I recall there was no firm “first 5 rows” or anything like that given – the seats were merely called “premium”)  However, for this particular venue, the floor is GA standing, with seats surrounding.  In the past, when there has been a GA gig, there has still been an opportunity to buy a VIP ticket that would include early entry into the venue at the least – and at some gigs there would even be a roped off area in the front for these tickets.  In Biloxi though, this is not to be the case.  As I mentioned before, the tickets are now called “Enhanced Merchandise Bundles”, and for this show they do not include early entry.  You’re simply paying for the merchandise when you buy a GA ticket in this bundle.  There is, however, an option to buy a premium reserved seated ticket – and these seats are located in the first 3 rows of the balcony.  In both cases, the bundle is an extra $125 above and beyond the ticket price of whichever ticket you purchase. (And yes, there is a hefty price difference between GA and seated tickets!)  In the case of Biloxi, these enhanced merchandise bundles were a total of $224.50 for a GA ticket and $288.70 for a seated balcony ticket. Definitely different, if not downright highway robbery.

The questions here are obvious:  why on earth would you spend so much just for extra merchandise?  I suppose for those fans who haven’t seen the band in a while or don’t have much in the way of merchandise, this is a benefit.  The bigger question is whether or not this is going to be the new trend for GA shows, and if so – how does everyone feel about that?

As I contemplated the pricing and the newly named merch bundle, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this is going to be the new trend throughout all presale ticketing, meaning that perhaps premium seating will slowly be phased out. In the reading I’ve done across the industry, bands are starting to back away from the VIP experience altogether.  Many are not comfortable with the idea that their fans can buy their way into areas reserved for friends and family, and they don’t like the idea that the same fans can essentially pay to have the same seats for every show – thus seeming to block anyone else from having the chance to be up close.

From my own perspective, I feel as though if premium seats weren’t offered to the fan community (I must reiterate here that NO SUCH ANNOUNCEMENT has been made by DDM or Artist Arena – this is pure conjecture on my part as I offer the topic for discussion.), I would simply find other ways in which to purchase them.  I’m not interested in sitting in the balcony or the back at gigs.  I want to be in the front, and as many others like me have said – I’m willing to pay the price to sit where I so choose.  I cannot possibly imagine I’m the only fan who feels that way. Perhaps that doesn’t seem fair to other, less die-hard fans.  I suppose my response would be that in the many, many cases where I am just a casual fan – I don’t want to pay high ticket prices, and therefore I happily accept less-premium seats.  My goodness I’m going to see Def Leppard and Poison (Yes, yes I am!) in June, and I’m thrilled that my seats are way back on the lawn!  I paid that $20.00 for those seats with a smile on my face, knowing that I will be well away from the chaos of the die-hard fans that are eager to show Bret Michaels everything they’ve got, and very close to the beer/wine trailer while I enjoy some fantastic rock music and see a great show.

I would also say that while I am no longer a member of DDM, taking away the chance to purchase premium tickets would do absolutely nothing to help the cause of the paid fan community.  I certainly would see no reason to rejoin!  I know many, many members (If not all) pay their yearly fee in order to have the opportunity to purchase those tickets.  I can’t imagine that membership would be all that attractive otherwise.  I also have to wonder what is ever going to happen with those “Gold” memberships – did people really pay extra SOLELY for some extra merchandise?

It would seem to me as a somewhat biased bystander that DDM is becoming more and more “merchandise” driven as opposed to actually providing the possibility for unique experiences as a fan.  While I can’t possibly know what the future plans for the site or for ticketing will be, I have to hope that the Biloxi presale ticketing is not a sign of what is to come.  I’m curious to read what many of you are thinking.  I’ll will be continuing to watch presales, and keep you posted!


10 thoughts on “No Early Entry VIP?”

  1. I agree. I don't need the merch (I'm not a collector and have enough t-shirts already). However, I am willing to pay a hefty price for one of the first rows and/or a meet & greet. Not having early entry for GA turns me off to buying VIP for those shows. However, I will still do pre-sale because I don't want to get shut out of a show. The last few SF Fillmore shows were sold out in a matter of minutes.

    While I'm not willing to fly anywhere for a show unless I know I'm in one of the first few rows (yes, the experience IS that different), I'm willing to drive to the Bay Area even if I have to stand in the back at a GA show.

  2. This is a joke and a slap in the face to those of us who still pay to be a member of the “fan club.” First, there is no email announcement with tour dates or ticket sales. Many of us who have complained have been told we must regularly check th DDM home page for current info. Now, as you have mentioned, Biloxi only has an “enhanced merch bundle” ~ still at the $125+ ticket price cost. Whatever! At least lower the price somewhat if they are going to take away early entry! The only reason people pay those fees are for good seats. Why spend $125 for a laminate, an unseen t-shirt (which will vary in size) and a “photo book” which technically I purchased in the spring of 2011. (Yeah… I'm sure you guys have heard of the photo book/tote bag debacle!) If I am going to spend $125 on DD merchandise, it will be on items I have already seen and selected, not on items DDM claims they will mail to me at some vague time either before or after the concert 😛 Clearly, these people are not interested in treating the fanclubs members fairly or with respect.

  3. I actually HAVE heard of that photo book debacle – we were to get a photo book back last May in the UK, and ended up with a silly tote bag instead.

    I also need to update this to read that I heard from Artist Arena directly on Twitter. They actually cannot post ticket prices until the day of the sale due to contractual obligations. While I don't like this answer, I appreciate that they answered me. (especially since I didn't even ask them directly!) That said, it doesn't explain why or how some select people in the community knew exactly how much these tickets would cost yesterday. I suppose it's all in “whom you know”! -R

  4. Totaaly agree with you Rhonda! This is a potential bad sign of things to come. I've said it before in my responses to you, but the Fan Club is really holding less and less value. I don't join for exclusive merchandise. I'm not 12 anymore.

    I'm new to Twitter and now follow you. Love the Motorhead retweet today!

    Hopefully one day I'll make it to a preshow party as I would love to meet you both and think we would get along great… I just bought tickets yesterday to go see Def Leppard and Posion in Toronto! Great minds think alike! 🙂 Jamie

  5. As I said before, I really don't know if this is just for this venue – or if this is going to be the way it is for all GA shows here in America, or what. It just begs the questions to be asked and discussed. I just feel that we should all be able to understand exactly what it is we're paying for if we're members of DDM – or what we WOULD be getting if we were members. Some say it's not typically the venue, it's the band because they won't pay to have the additional staff on hand in order for early entry to take place. I really don't know what caused this particular gig in this particular venue to be handled this way, I only know that I hope it's not a sign of things to come. -R

  6. I think that Def Leppard/Poison show is going to be fantastic! I saw them together two years ago at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater here in Irvine CA – I had lawn tickets and they were fabulous. The show was outstanding and the crowd down front was entertaining too! Sure, they're both hair bands, but the showmanship is first rate, and I loved singing right along with the entire crowd. If it's not fun, it's not worth it!

    I hope you do make it to a preshow party one of these days, I'd love to meet you!


  7. I agree with the comments above. I, too, belong to a fan community for the very reason of pre-sale/VIP opportunities. I haven't found that to be the case since joining after show in October, which did not sell out in cleveland (how sad). But since my daughter uses a white cane and I am still recovering from my TBI, we request the accessible seating, which was JT side of the stage, maybe 10 rows back. And I didn't have to pay a dime more, got my tickets 2 weeks before the show date, and since I have a handicap placard, didn't have a problem with parking even though I pre-paid, arrived late, and the deck was full.
    And, I was completely pleased with the arrangement. With my hearing issues, and sensory integration dysfunction, I don't want to be in the mosh pit so to speak. It made me terribly sick in a recent GA concert of the Psychedelic Furs we attended. I had to leave because I got a migraine. Too close, too loud (even with my attenuators at 25db reduction), and visual overstimulation, let alone getting pushed around. I don't want to pay gobs of money if I dont have a seat attached to it. I don't want merch that I already have. And, I dont want to have to leave THIS concert (Psych Furs a different story) of DD. I didn't even see anything about accessible seating folks. You usually call them for that and they are decent orchestra seats.
    Aside from my personal situation, on one hand, I understand that it is about time and money. Remember the discussion about getting other folks excited about DD? I can see why having the same people in the same seats at every concert can get old. How about a lottery? [I know I will get boos and hisses for this].
    would I like a meet and greet with ALL the members of the band? yes of course! That's long gone, too. Frankly, I just expect a great show when I go. I don't need to touch them, or see their feet. But I don't want to be {word finding moment here….} ummm taken to the cleaners (?) by buying a “special” fans only pre-sale whatever if it offers very little in return for the cost of the package, i.e. no perks. But as long as people buy them, DDM and Artist Arena will continue to do this type of thing, following suit with other bands.

    I may not be making much sense right now. I started a new migraine/anti-seizure med 2 days ago and I'm stuporous. Guess that's why they call it Dopamax/Stupormax.

    I'm glad I'm healthy enough to have seen the band once. If I get to see them twice, I'm doubly grateful.

    And I'd love to meet ya'll too!

  8. I only joined duranduranmusic last year, to see about getting a possible meet-and-greet. Of course my show at MSG last October didn't have one. They gave me an option of early entry, with a laminate, t-shirt, and some other thingy or two. For $125? Are you serious? I'm not a sucker so no thank you.

    The funny thing is, those that paid for early entry were only 6 rows in front me for the GA seating, and I got there 30 min's before doors opened (Again, one of those questions: is the time on the ticket doors open or show time?).

    These “fan club” things for me are a farce. Unless you're gonna give me something WORTH $125 (I wonder what the total amount of the merch was. Still not worth early entry), I will go in like I normally do.

  9. I have only been a DD member for a year and the only reason I joined is to get in on presale tix! I am amazed that the Biloxi presale for VIP is all sold out!! I was not planning to attend this show, but if I was I wouldn't have paid well over $200 to not have an early entry ticket to a GA show. I sure hope this isn't a sign of things to come!!!

  10. Today is the day that the public sale began for Biloxi. Any seats that DD would have had leftover from the presales would have gone back to Ticketmaster to be sold….not sure that VIP really “sold out” as much as the seats were sold elsewhere. -R

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