Fan clubs are a much different animal today than while I was growing up. Back then all a fan had to do was look for the fan club address in the back of Tiger Beat, then send them their name, address and money for the membership fee (if required). Then in about 4 months, a packet with fan club swag would arrive in the mail…and that was about it. If a fan was really lucky they might get added to a mailing list, and just as that fan moved on from that particular object of interest to the next latest celebrity or band, they’d get some sort of newsletter telling that they were going on tour, or in a new movie. It took relatively little, and having a fan club really didn’t hurt or help a celebrity.
Today is far different. As I’ve mentioned several times lately – the model for doing business in this industry has changed. What used to work back in the 80’s along with about $3.00 will buy you a small cup of house coffee these days, and those records will still be on the shelf. (Except that today we’re talking mp3’s and iTunes, aren’t we?) The troubling thing is that so many bands are incredibly slow to pick up on the new reality. Their management doesn’t get it, the bands don’t understand why radio isn’t playing them, and they’re expecting that since they sold records a few decades back, that they can still do it solely based on their name.
Those days are over.
Even artists like Paul McCartney are finding that they have to appeal to their audience on a completely different and much more personal level than ever before. A lot of it is trial and error, and still more of it requires making the connection directly with their fan base. Many bands, especially those built back in the day when fans were something they ran from, are resistant to the idea. Just the words “Fan Empowerment” sound so completely radical. What in the hell could those words possibly mean, and why on earth would an artist or band actually want to speak to those people?!?
Our roles have certainly changed. The term Fan Community means far, far more than just a club. (For the record – in this blog, I am referring to our community at large, NOT just the pay-to-play DDM Fan Community) Daily Duranie is all about community. We like the idea of promoting and celebrating what brings us together. For many of us, we’ve been around a long time. My kids say we’re older than dirt. (a particularly hateful thing to say, but it’s becoming closer to reality with each passing day, I suppose) We do want to bring fans together, because fostering that connection to one another does something else: it fosters loyalty. Meet ups, weekend get togethers, group hotels for tour stops, conventions – things like that present opportunities for fans to get together and connect with one another.
For far too long, our community has been almost solely about what *we* can get out of the band. How can we get the band to recognize we’re here and give us more of what we want – which is them, obviously. How can we make sure that WE get those front row tickets, meet and greets, etc; yet make sure that we get more of them than anyone else in the community. We don’t like to share much, do we? There is so much discussion of that sort of thing in our community, yet there is frighteningly little discussion of how we can work together to promote the very thing we all have in common. The BAND. Of course the front row tickets, the meet and greets, the “accidental” meetings outside of a hotel are part of being a fan. They do make it all more fun and it would be ridiculous to argue otherwise. I like to have fun too!!
My assertion is that there is room and time for everything. The sense of community, the fun “extras” like good tickets and experiences, and even promotion can be accomplished with help directly from the fan community. That idea has the potential to be empowering for everyone. With that thought in mind, and with yesterday’s blog still on my heart, I want to know what YOU think can be done to improve the paid fan community. Should we scrap it and start over? Should there even be a paid fan community? I brought a few problems up for discussion yesterday, but what can really be done to improve the situation?