Fan Club Wait Continues
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2016-01-28)
UPDATE: January 30: Subscriptions have been extended again, this time until February 16, 2016.
Each fall, u2.com traditionally has announced a new fan club gift, and in most years the gift is available shortly after the announcement. But it hasn’t always worked smoothly. Once again this year, there has yet to be any announcement of a fan club gift, and subscribers who were due to expire in the fall had their membership expiry date moved forward to January 31, 2016. Now many of us are seeing our accounts are ready to expire and are wondering when we will know what to do. The easy answer is to wait to subscribe until the gift has been announced, but fans have seen in the past that going without a subscription can leave you limited when tickets go on sale, and we have been trained not to let those subscriptions lapse, as staying subscribed does seem to matter.
This is the twelfth year that u2.com has offered up a gift with a yearly subscription. The first year that gift was an odd metal keychain. We have had eight gifts in CD format, including some much loved recent gifts of “U22“ with a large format booklet, and “From the Ground Up“ which came complete with a book. In 2013 the gift for renewing was “North Side Story” a softcover book detailing U2’s early days in Dublin, and last year we received a double 10-inch vinyl set of an early concert from 1980.
So has the gift ever been this late being announced before? Yes. In 2008 u2.com were not ready to announce the gift in the fall. And like this year, subscriptions that were ending before the gift could be announced were extended. On November 17th, 2008 U2.com announced they were working on an annual gift and, aware that subscribers were due to start resubscribing, advised them to do so even though the gift had not been announced—assuring them that everything would be sorted out later. Then, on November 28, U2.com announced that fans’ current subscriptions would be extended so that they would not expire. In this communication the fan club specifically asked fans NOT to resubscribe even if they were to receive a re-subscription notice—the opposite of what the previous communication had instructed. Several months later, on February 24, 2009, the new gift was finally revealed, along with an announcement that the price for a fan club subscription had risen from $40 to $50. Copies of that year’s gift “Medium, Rare and Remastered“ starting showing up in subscriber mailboxes in April 2009 just a couple of months after the gift was announced. Like this year, the extension on subscriptions was very close to ending (March 1) and subscribers were still waiting for news, which finally arrived just 4 days before the extensions were due to end. As we publish this, they still have three days left before the current extension ends. As of today going to the subscription page people will still see “If you are a current subscriber and your annual term ends in the period from October 2015 to January 2016, you do not need to renew at this time. Your subscription has been automatically extended to January 31st 2016. You will be emailed details of our 2016 Subscription Offer ahead of that date.”
With the exception of “Medium, Rare, and Remastered“ all of the other gifts have been announced in the fall of the year. The earliest one was announced was August 23, 2010 when “Duals“ was announced, and the latest was November 28, 2005 when the first CD, “U2.Communication“ was announced.
Many of the gifts have arrived in December of the year, after a fall announcement. “U2.Communication“, “Zoo TV Live“, “Go Home“, and “From the Ground Up“ all arrived in December. The book “North Side Story” started arriving in January. A few gifts have taken longer to produce. “Artificial Horizon“ started shipping in March 2010, “Medium, Rare and Remastered“ and “Duals“ both shipped in April, 2009 and 2011. The two gifts that have shipped the latest have been “U22“, the double CD set taken from the U2360 tour, and “Another Time Another Place“, the most recent gift from u2.com. “U22“ didn’t start to arrive until late June in 2012, and “Another Time Another Place“ had reached us at the end of July this past year, which perhaps has made it feel like we just got a gift.
I’ve had a few people ask what they should do with the renewal of their account pending? Subscriptions were extended to January 31, 2016, and there is still a couple of days in which something could be announced. I personally would wait to see if anything comes up in an announcement from u2.com between now and Sunday. But if I hadn’t seen any announcement by mid-day on Sunday I would be resubscribing. We’ve seen that letting a subscription lapse can bump you down in the priority groups for ticket sales, so if that is important to you like it is for many, you will want to look at this as an option. Right now I’m willing to set an alarm for Sunday and remind me to do it. Grab your phone and put in a reminder. And who knows, maybe when we all log in on Sunday we’ll have a new offer waiting for us.
Calls to Customer Service for u2.com today in regards to the issue are being met with the message that the 2016 gift has not yet been announced and urging people to subscribe before the expiry date on the subscription. Thanks to reader, Lance A Schart for passing along his experience in calling today. U2.com has a help FAQ available with some information about this issue, which is available here. But it appears that the information has not been updated since the extension of subscriptions at this point.