Tag Archives: music industry

2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are out, and you-know-who was notoriously left off the list. Again.

I’ve learned never to assume anything when it comes to writing this blog, but I have to think that many fans, but perhaps not all, would have liked seeing them included on the list of nominees. Am I right, or no? On the other hand, Duran Duran (notably Simon and John) have openly said during interviews that it’s a non-issue for them. They don’t care. They see it (the Hall of Fame) as a political vehicle and therefore it’s not worth their time. Whether or not this is truth or a carefully worded reply meant to hide disappointment, I can’t say.

Even so, there are groups of fans out there that try to rally support for their inclusion each year. In the past, we (Daily Duranie) have stayed out of the argument beyond echoing what the band has openly said themselves. It caused a few people, including those petitioning to have the band included, to block and unfriend us. Our official position was simple – if the band didn’t even want it, we felt like we shouldn’t push it. Some didn’t like that, and I can understand and accept their fury. I also need to call out what I see as industry-driven BS, as you’ll read below.

Before I go any further, here’s the list of 19 nominees for 2018:

Bon Jovi

Depeche Mode

Dire Straits

Eurythmics

J. Geils Band

Judas Priest

Kate Bush

Link Wray

LL Cool J

MC5

Moody Blues

Nina Simone

Radiohead

Rage Against the Machine

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The Cars

The Meters

The Zombies

The very idea that Duran Duran continues to be omitted from the list of nominees each year is gross. We’re not talking about a band that never graced a top ten list, or never did much beyond release a few unknown albums. At one point, Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. They are video vanguards, lifetime achievers, and continue to influence younger generations of musicians and performers. They didn’t just embody the style of 1980 and beyond…they created and drove it.  They’re still creating, nearly 40 years later.

Yet with each passing year, they’re not even given a mention beyond a couple of tweets from well-meaning fans. Not only is the Hall of Fame dismissing the band and their career, but they are also smugly discounting the thousands of fans who have stood by them for the last four decades. The old men might not get it, but the little girls completely understand, and always have.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and watched the induction ceremony for 2017. Yes, I’m behind. The one thing I saw over and over was how the bands thanked their fans for getting them there. Of course I liked seeing that, and it was touching that when it came down to it for the bands being inducted, their fans mattered. I thought about all of the history I’ve read about Duran Duran.  Disparaging comments about the band’s fan base aren’t hard to find. The critics hated that little girls loved this band. As far as critics were concerned, the reason to hate this band was purely because little girls (who are now grown women) loved them. That one highlighted detail created a situation where Duran’s music was never quite taken seriously. Why would it? Girls liked them, they couldn’t possibly understand what good music is about, and therefore the band were pin-up material. Period.

Amanda and I haven’t just seen this written once or twice in books. It has been discussed in every piece of comprehensive band history we’ve ever read, watched, or heard.

Simon addressed this general topic in an interview done just before they appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in 2015. He commented about the critics and their hatred for them and their fans. He believes much of that comes down to jealousy, and that may very well be true. He also commented that much to the chagrin of the critics—many of whom are not still writing or in the industry—the fans of the band, and the band themselves, are still around today. In many aspects, that alone is the best revenge. But is it enough?

I’m not so sure.

Sexism, my friends, is alive and well in the music industry, whether  the performers themselves, the business-side, or the fans. Look at the list of nominees again. Do you see many bands up there that have a predominantly female fan base? I can see a few that might have a sizable percentage of female fans, but none of them to the extent of Duran’s. None. Why is that?

The very idea that a sizable number of Duran’s fan base are women drives people crazy. Even the band tries to even it out in interviews by mentioning the growing number of men in their live audiences. People try to attribute our (female) presence to be about anything but the music. I’ve seen the very words “What would girls know about music?” in print more times than I can count.

Really?

I have heard similar anecdotes from female fans all over, whether they’re a blogger like me, your average concert-goer, or a radio show host. Sexism is everywhere. If you’re a woman, you couldn’t possibly know anything about the band you admire beyond their looks, and the only reason for being a fan is to fulfill that one-night stand fantasy. You know, the one we’ve all secretly held for nearly 40 years now?  The assertion that we’re all fans because we’re still waiting for our one nighter with Simon, John, Nick and/or Roger is pretty astounding.

(Call me crazy, but the last thing I’d fantasize about is going backstage and getting on my knees for a band member, only to be gracefully guided to the exit doors immediately following. Why on earth would I waste FORTY YEARS on that???)

Seriously, people of this world, THINK. We’re gonna have to try harder. It does not have to be like this. We have to be ready and willing to call the bullshit out when we see it and force change to happen, because it is obviously not going to happen on its own.

Now THAT is an effort I can get behind.

-R

Influencer Fans Matter

If there was ever a doubt as to how much bands need well-known faces to tout their music to their friends…all of that was put to rest today as I read this article from the International Business Times.

The good news? Social media matters. The bad news? The article focused on younger, fresher-faces than say….the ones found on here on Daily Duranie. Not that we’re old (gasp)…but when one of us has a daughter who is the same age as many of the “influencers” cited in the article…. what more can really be said in our (ok…my) defense?

The article explains that labels will go to extreme lengths to make sure that young influencers, such as those of well-known YouTube, Vine and Instagram “stars”, talk about the bands and artists labels wish to heavily promote, many times paying those people, or, at the very least, treating them to VIP-like experiences at concerts and festivals. To labels, it is a (legally…if only just barely) form of advertising, and interestingly enough, in a survey taken in 2015, 61% of marketers said that they would be either including or increasing their budgets for these influencer campaigns.

What does that mean for Duran Duran? Well, I’ll ignore the obvious – like a website featuring DAILY advertising for five and a half years now from a website and blog (along with several other forms of social media) that happens to be near and dear to my heart <wink, wink>.

Huh. Obviously, I have been looking at this all wrong….

Fans matter. It is something I’ve always said, and will continue to say. If the band wants other people to be influenced enough to buy their music – which does seem to be the issue at hand – they need to find people (or see and publicly acknowledge) the people standing right in front of them who influence their community to buy those CDs and purchase those concert tickets.

This is also the sticking point, because I think upon reading that last paragraph, the assumption must be that Duran Duran needs to find a couple of young fans to appeal to others. Wouldn’t that be lovely if it actually worked?

As with anything, this can’t just go one way. Duran Duran shouldn’t focus solely on young people. Some might even argue with me, and say they should focus on what they know – their fans that have been with them for decades – and I wouldn’t necessarily argue. However, I also know that youth is the lifeblood of the music industry. There’s really no getting around that fact. There’s also no getting around the reality of a band that is in their 50’s trying to appeal to a crowd that wasn’t even born when they had their first tastes of success (and in some cases, their second in the 90s). Work one end of that spectrum of age, and the band would most certainly lose the other, no matter the direction we’re talking.

Instead, we are looking at Duran Duran taking new directions: a ballet, a musical. Maybe another album. Maybe not. The one thing I do know for certain: Daily Duranie will continue as long as there is a band and projects to support. Some might say we’re the “older and much wiser” equivalent of what is described in that article, and I’m sure others of you would wholeheartedly disagree, saying that “anyone could do it”.  True. I wouldn’t argue otherwise, and I think that’s the point.

-R