This post is for readers who depend on this blog for Rain/The Cloud news.
As the date of Rain’s official comeback in Korea is getting near, The Cloud has released a few announcements regarding the opening of Cloud 9th. The notice (in Korean) is posted at Rain’s Official Website. Translations in various languages are posted at the Cloud Community Board (you must be registered at rain-cloud to view the thread).
For those who are not members of rain-cloud, I am posting the English translation by huhuhuhu here. My own commentary as regards the new provisions are posted in blue font.
[Eng] Notice on operating system changes regarding the 9th Cloud Fan Club
We wish to inform all clouds about the following:
As we are about to start recruitment of 9th Cloud, we want to inform you about the changes in the system of the fan club. The key points are listed below with additional explanation as necessary. Please read this carefully and we hope to have your understanding on the changes.
Existing 8th Cloud benefits (contents as listed in the notice of 8th Cloud recruitment)
1. Provision of official fan club membership card.
2. Priority application for fan meeting and admission
3. Upgrade to full regular member at the Cloud official fan site with provision of differentiated information.
4. Priority entrance at public broadcast program (as agreed with the organizer)
5. Benefit of fan club seats at concerts etc.
The differences in fan club benefits on the forthcoming 9th Cloud as compared to 8th Cloud:
1. Change of structure from Executive to Supporters
2. Cheaper membership fee
3. Provision of official fan club membership card only. (we plan to create shopping channels for the purchase of a great variety of fan club goods)
4. Paid entrance fee for fan meeting
5. No guarantee on fan club seats for paid concerts.
The same benefits as with 8th Cloud:
1. Priority application for fan meeting and priority admission.
2. Upgrade to full regular member at the Cloud official fan site with provision of differentiated information.
3. Priority entrance at public broadcast program (as agreed with the organizer)
4. Provision of official fan club membership card.
5. Operation support from the company to the official web site.
Explanation regarding the difference in the benefits for 9th Cloud..
1. Change of structure from Executive to Supporters
- As we all know there had been situations when nobody volunteered to be an Executive. Our judgement is that even with 1 or 2 Executives, they cannot conduct their duties smoothly without the help of supporters. That’s why we change the structure to supporters based.
I don’t know why nobody would volunteer on the Korean side, but I think I speak for the rest of the Overseas Clouds (particularly the non-Korean and Japanese) when I say that there are many who are willing to volunteer as Supporters. The problem is that Supporters are REQUIRED to know Korean. For an artist who takes pride in being a World Star with an international fanbase, it baffles me that Rain and his people still insist that it’s his international fanbase who must adjust to them instead of them adjusting to us. All other Korean stars who are aspiring for international careers have already made their adjustments by hiring people who can communicate with their non-Korean fans. Rain, the supposed ‘pioneer’ World Star, still hasn’t adjusted to the times.
Yes, I know huhuhuhu is already there. But she’s just one person and she would need all the help she could get.
2. Cheaper membership fee.
3. Provision of official fan club membership card only
- The major expenses of the existing fan club membership fee can be divided into the following: fan meeting, fan club souvenirs, shipping of fan club souvenirs, support and gifts for Rain. Unexpectedly the shipping of fan club souvenirs occupied a big portion of the expenses. In the case of overseas fans, the cost of shipping is even greater than the cost of the souvenirs themselves. As such, the membership fee becomes high (especially to overseas fans). Fans will either think twice in joining or simply give up. We also consider whether we should conduct a fan club without membership fee, but that will mean we don’t even have a very basic means of differentiating members. Not only is it hard for clouds to build their trust with each other, it is also impossible to plan any activity. Therefore we decide on the following change. The membership fee will be cheaper than the existing fee. (The exact amount will be discussed). When fans join the fan club as paid members, they can upgrade as full members at the official website, and membership cards will be sent to them as identity. We will not provide cloud souvenirs but we plan to offer a variety of fan club goods for sale via the official website. This means we will reduce the burden of joining fees and the operational funds of the Cloud will also be reduced. The relevant internal expenses on the purchase of cloud souvenirs, the attendance of fan meeting, and external expense on donations in the name of the Cloud will be allocated back to individuals. This is the change we plan to make.
Actually, the reason why more and more fans have declined to register for paid membership is not because of the high shipping fees. Fans are willing to spend. The decline is mainly because (1) the registration process is too tedious, complicated and more expensive, especially for non-Korean and Japanese fans; and (2) Overseas Clouds are simply not getting the full benefits of being an officially registered Cloud, as compared with the K- and especially the J-Clouds. These issues have been brought up from as early as Cloud 6th. I’m surprised – or more accurately, bothered – that the Executive Board are still not recognizing these issues as the real cause for the decline in membership numbers.
4. Paid entrance fee for fan meeting
In the same context as 2 and 3 above, we will change free admission of fan meeting to paid admission for future fan meetings.
5. No guarantee on fan club seats for paid concerts
There will be no guarantee on designated fan club seats for paid concerts. It is not too much to say that priority application for fan club seats at paid concerts would have the greatest impact in deciding whether to join a fan club and would be considered as the greatest benefit.
The fan club, through the company, has always obtained good designated seats for the Cloud members to enable them to see Rain closely. One of the reasons for such good fan clubs seats to come by is that externally it is seen as a benefit for fan club member, but internally to the seller (and the organizer) it means even though they are the most expensive seats, many seats can be sold easily without hassle within a short period of time. This is one of the main reasons for fan club seats to come by. It’s a pity that recently we see that the sale of fan club seats has reduced significantly and the process proved to be very cumbersome (telephone protests about the position of fan club seats during the nationwide concert tour before enlistment etc.) The reality is that it becomes meaningless to continue offering fan club seats. Also, there are circumstances where people who are not members protesting that they are not able to purchase VIP seats. To the investors and organizers, other than providing a good performance they also want to make profit. While it seems a matter of course to enjoy this benefit, we have to inform you with difficulty that due to the above reasons, the reality is it will be hard to have fan club seats like what used to be.
I know I did not watch as many concerts as some fans did, but other than my first Rain concert (Rainy Day Hong Kong, when I wasn’t an official Cloud yet), I don’t remember getting any “guaranteed fan club seats for paid concerts” as benefit for being a registered Cloud. I had to work my own way to get those seats. So yeah, it’s not like we’re going to miss anything by removing this benefit…
• We also wish to inform you that as what is being done currently, we will continue to receive help from supporters. Funds to support Rain will be raised according to the nature of the events and accounts will continue to be provided.
• The cost of running the official Cloud website will be sponsored by the company.
As it should’ve always been.
These are the changes in the structure we wish to inform you. It’s a long one.
We believe it is possible that many of you will see shortcomings, feel bad or bitter. However our judgement is that it is difficult to keep on maintaining and operating the fan club like it’s current state. The fan club has many years of history. Just as conditions and environment have changed, the fan club also has to adapt and be flexible to changes. We hope to have your great understanding and support.