With the Tool Fall 2016 tour dates just announced, it seems as though ToolArmy is also getting an update of sorts. For now, it seems that the Toolband/Army store has been updated to use the Full Screen Direct framework, with new members able to join for an annual fee of US$49.99.
This fee includes:
- 1 Year Membership
- 2 Stickers
- 1 Patch
- 1 Keychain
- 1 Membership Certificate
- Membership T-Shirt
From memory that’s more or less the same as the basic level of old ToolArmy membership. The interesting addition is the annual fee. It’s not clear to me if it’s $49.99 every year or if it’ll be a different amount. For those who were TA members prior to June 6th 2016, it looks like your membership will be honoured.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never had a problem with an annual fee, provided the site gets updated. $49.99 per year sounds pretty expensive though, and I’d certainly question if there were value for money there based on the mis-handling of Toolarmy over the years.
From a technical standpoint, the Full Screen Direct framework allows more than just a store – it’s a mini social network of sorts for fan club members. I know many of us would welcome a return to the interactivity ToolArmy had in the past, though based on how fans react to things on Tool’s Facebook page, it could just end up being a shit storm!
I’m also disappointed that the pre-sales for the coming dates appear to be VIP only. It’s great to have some of these reserved for TA members, but not all of us want to blow $500 just to see them, regardless of what the other parts of the experience can offer. And for those who have already experienced the VIP sessions before, I doubt many of them are super keen to see it again (despite reports that it’s a great experience).
On a positive note, it is good to see some kind of movement on the website front for the band. Though the album may still be some time off, I think many of us acknowledge that the website really should be updated prior to it’s release, and the framework being used can be a good asset for the band in helping to release special editions of the album to its fans.