Links roundup for 28 March 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on fan clubs that might be of interest to fans:

  • As this article on the Valient Thorr band’s ‘Thorrior’ followers begins, many people believe fan clubs are a thing of the past. “Once a staple of rock ‘n’ roll fandom, the official fan club has been made mostly obsolete thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Who needs a newsletter or exclusive forum when there’s probably a better, cheaper alternative? A handful of notable, named, and relatively organized clubs still exist—Pearl Jam’s Ten Club, the Metallica Club, and Turbonegro’s Turbojugend among them—and most are dedicated to giant, decades-old bands.” However, as bandleader Valient points out in the accompanying interview, these groups are still vital to artistic success. “The Thorriors started by itself. That, to me, is what’s so cool about it…because if you’re writing music and driving yourself and booking your hotels and getting to the venues, it’s just one thing after another . . . When nobody else gives a shit, at least you’ve got your fans who are going to be there.”
  • The fan club continues to be relevant to fandoms old and new, whether it exists in a print or digital format. While individual music fans may go to extremes for performer contact, the importance of groups and their activities can be significant to different performers and projects. The Jakarta Globe documents the importance of L’Arc en Ciel Indonesia, which started as a Facebook group for fans of the popular Japanese rock band L’Arc en Ciel and whose members first met in person in 2009. “That early membership has since blossomed into a full-fledged community of a whopping 15,000-plus that regularly meets for social gatherings, Japanese-themed bazaars and J-rock and J-pop tribute concerts.” The group is quite organized. “Each regional subcommunity has its own leader, but Kirani Sharie, 24, heads the entire organization.” Like many groups, they engage in charity work, “like tribute gigs for charity or Ramadan fast-breaking-hours at orphanages.”
  • Technology is inextricably bound up with fan activities, including the ways in which certain platforms are particularly well suited to fan use and communication, and changes in tech affect how fans are able to influence producers. In television, the way that time-shifting can now be tracked means that “[t]he daily ratings are in many ways a mirage now, sure to change significantly once the people who time-shift their television viewing are taken into account.” It has also meant a change in ad sales: “In the past, Thursday night shows carried the highest prices in television, because advertisers paid a premium to reach people before their movie openings or weekend car sales. ‘Now they buy us on Wednesday,’ [Paul Lee, the president of ABC Entertainment] said, the day that new ‘Modern Family’ episodes are broadcast, ‘and they know they are going to get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.'” This has also meant a resurgence in scripted programs as they are more likely to be recorded and rewatched.

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