On-again, off-again for years… “official” fanclub appears almost lifeless
NEW YORK (UPDATED) - Roxette's "official" fanclub (ORFC), located in the Netherlands, seems to have come to a full stop. While there have been numerous other times over the years when the fanclub became dormant, only to spring back to life so it seemed to some when there was something new to sell or a series of concerts to attend… this time it appears that – as one of their members put it – "the lights are out and the door has been locked."
Even with the fanclub's history of sporadic activity in mind, many fans are once again expressing concern because there has been no outward communication from the ORFC "team" for quite some time and no news updates on their website since November.
One only needs to listen to the chorus of complaints and comments appearing in The Daily Roxette's SmallTalk section and on the Run to Roxette forum (a site operated in cooperation with TDR) to quickly understand that this lack of communication has been interpreted by many as the fanclub having gone out-of-business.
"We can't say anything about it yet," said Iris van der Staaij, one of ORFC's officers, when contacted by telephone yesterday by TDR. "We're negotiating with others who might want to take on a larger role."
The fanclub announced curtly in November that their "fanshop" was closed. No explanations were given, and apparently, no merchandise has been shipped since. Frustrated, angry and nervous fans have reached out to EMI, d&d Management and this newspaper to investigate what has happened, since they have already paid for their merchandise. For months now, no one has been able to get a response from anyone in charge, even though TDR has learned that some members of the fanclub staff have continued to regularly visit these online forums.
d&d Management sent out a message in response to some fans the other day, saying that they are looking into the matter but that the fanclub staff does not reply to mails, and that they therefore need more time to investigate.
"Unfortunately we are aware of the situation and are desperately trying to reach the people responsible for the fanclub to find out what's going on," the management firm wrote in an email to Sandra Muller of the Netherlands. Sandra is still waiting for Marie Fredriksson's "Kärlekens Guld" box set which she paid for back on September 6th. She says she feels "as if she's been cheated."
Tobias J of Sweden tells TDR "they owe me €20 that I probably never will see again, and I know for a fact that they owe many other fans a lot more. What makes me really upset is that they don't seem to care at all." Tobias ordered a video from the fanclub in May last year and paid for it in advance. He then received a mail saying that the video was no longer available but he would get "store credit" for the amount paid – something he says he really didn't want, but had no say in. Tobias ordered a few singles in September, and after that he has heard not a word from them. "I've mailed them lots of times, and looked for them in every forum I know they use, but nothing. Oh, I got one reply once, saying that they had had mail server problems. But if a mail server is down, the mail bounces," Tobias concludes.
Tobias' and Sandra's cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Many other fans report unfulfilled orders totalling 30, 60 – even 100 Euro.
Iris claims otherwise, saying that she thinks "the people complaining are quite a small group." She does, however, admit that the outstanding orders "have been delayed quite a long time."
"You can assure people that everyone will get what they deserve," she told TDR. A meeting is scheduled next month at the home of Eugène Commandeur, the group's current president, to discuss their future. "The only thing that's clear," Iris states, "is that the outstanding orders must be sent, of course."
Should the ORFC choose to disband, it wouldn't be the first time an "official" Roxette fanclub has done so. Running a fanclub can be a very time consuming process, and many such "clubs" are actually operated as for-profit businesses. Such an "official Roxette fanclub" in the United States folded over a decade ago when Roxette's star faded a bit in the U.S. and the club was no longer a profit center for the company running it. Some fans suspect that for a long time now, the perceived rewards no longer seem to merit much of an effort from the ORFC.
Eugène, according to Iris and Ronald den Ouden (with whom TDR also spoke), is currently on vacation, and was therefore unavailable for comment.
Update Jan 30: After this article was published, Official Roxette Fanclub released a message about the subject on their website.
Update Feb 13: The two weeks that the fanclub staff requested and promised to have news out have passed. However, there's still no news.
Update Feb 19: Three days after our latest update the fanclub posted a new message on their website. While the message doesn't give any new information about the fanclub's situation and future, customers with pending orders are promised all their items will be shipped "next week." This means, in some cases, more than six months of waiting for items ordered and paid for. "I won't believe it until I have my CDs in my hands," says a customer from Germany who prefers to stay anonymous, "I have received the same messages from the fanclub before and in the end they never shipped what I ordered. I hope this time it's for real, though."
Update Mar. 3: Not a single order has been reported as having been delivered yet (either directly to TDR or on our affiliate forum, R2R).
Update Mar. 13: According to a message from Sarah, a fanclub spokesperson on the R2R forum, they discovered today that two large bags of merchandise being sent out to fulfill pending orders have sat dormant at the post office for a week and a half due to "a strange miscommunication between the FC and TPG-post (dutch postcompany) about financial issues." Apparently, there was a lack of funds in their account to pay the postage. Sarah reports this issue is being addressed "as soon as possible."
Additional reporting by TDR News Editors Thomas Evensson and Judith Seuma.
Technical errors may occur.