Duran Duran is still keeping fans enthralled.
After more than 30 years in the music business, the 1980s pin-up boys have long graduated from the covers of Tiger Beat and Bop. But the British band still has the golden touch in connecting with their millions of fans through vast channels of social media, contests, and the much desired meet-and-greet.
Take today, for example. It's bassist John Taylor's birthday, and he posted a handwritten birthday message for one lucky Duranie to win. Earlier this month, keyboardist Nick Rhodes sent a video birthday message along with a playlist of some of his favorite songs.
Tonight, Duran Duran makes a special appearance in New York City at a private show with DJ Steve Aoki. The band gave away tickets to the event, billed as a mystery gig, to fan community members. (Yes, Duran Duran still has a rabid fan club.)
Maya Garcia, a Duranie since 1982, received two tickets to the show. She paid for airfare from Chicago to the Big Apple on short notice in order to attend. It's super special for her because it's John's birthday - although Nick is her favorite.
"I am expecting a bit more interaction with the band than during a normal show, since the crowd will be comprised of mostly Duran Duran fans, most of whom are fan club members, the 'hardcore' contingent," she says. "I expect to hear rarities or tracks never performed live before. And I also hope to see the band members sing 'Happy Birthday' to John Taylor. That should be both entertaining and amusing to watch."
It's no surprise that Duran Duran has intensely engaged 21st century technology. The band was one of the first to shoot glossy music videos in the 1980s. Lead singer Simon Le Bon running through the jungle in "Hungry Like The Wolf" has become an iconic image of the decade. In 1997, Duran Duran touted that it was the first band to sell a single on the Internet.
The band's social media goddess, Katy Krassner, manages the popular Duran Duran website and various streams of social media, including Pinterest, the most recent Duranie addiction.
"I've been working with Duran Duran for over a decade, and the evolution of their social communities has truly been amazing," Krassner says.
Krassner snaps candid pictures of the band at rehearsals and tweets them to nearly 70,000 Twitter followers and 860,000 Facebook fans. She sends reminders about upcoming media appearances and interacts with fans about the band. She also creates content across media platforms.
Now is a busy time for Krassner. That's because Duran Duran is releasing its first live DVD and CD, "A Diamond in the Mind," in nearly a decade in July. They are also preparing for more dates on their current world tour and will headline a major concert on the opening night of the Olympic Games in London.
Krassner is currently overseeing a Facebook giveaway that asks fans to change their profile pictures to one of three featuring the Diamond project. Daily winners receive a CD and a shout-out on the band's Facebook page. In a move reminiscent of the '80s when Duranies waited breathlessly for MTV world premiere videos, the band will debut the live concert on Facebook on July 8. For $4.99, fans can watch the concert online, and then participate in a live Q&A session with the band after they play a show in Istanbul.
So much interaction has reignited Duranies who have never stopped loving their teen idols.
"The band's fans have been so supportive, and have literally followed them off magazine pages onto the Internet," Krassner says.
Suzi Parker is a Monitor contributor.