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Do you wish Club Exclusives were available to buy?

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2022 7:14 pm
by Patterson
Disclaimer: Bart's reference to the AiO piracy site in the poll is a joke. Not only is piracy wrong as it's stealing, is riddled with viruses too. Don't use it!

I personally wish that AioClub exclusives were available for individual purchase. It's unlikely that it will happen, but a guy can dream.

Streaming on a regular basis isn't financially viable for everyone and I for one would love to have my own copy of Cars, Trains, and Motorcycles(possibly the funniest episode in recent AiO). I was ticked off at FotF years ago when I learned that they were making a sequel to Gifts for Madge and Guy, but that it would only be available on streaming. When I got a chance to hear the sequel, it was good but not amazing, so it wasn't a huge loss that longtime fans couldn't own it, but still sad.

When it comes down to it, FotF has as much right to make streaming exclusives as Disney+ or anyone else does, but when I hear or watch quality content, I'd prefer to buy the content once and for all.

A major draw of Odyssey in particular is that you can hear it in the car. Not so much when you can only hear an episode when you're connected to the internet. I don't know if the Club app has downloads for offline listening, so maybe that point's moot, but I don't know.

I haven't heard a lot of club exclusives, but the ones I've heard were mostly really good or really bad. There And Back Again was great, while Walter's Flying Bus deserves all the hate it gets. (Okay, I heard that one after someone illegally put it on Spotify. Btw, I was using Spotify for free, I'd much rather subscribe to the AioClub if I was paying for streaming.) An idea for FotF is releasing "best of" albums or one that's say like all the Renee Carter episodes. They kinda did something similar when they released the club exclusive: The Drop Box as a sampler album.

Your thoughts?

Re: Do you wish Club Exclusives were available to buy?

Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2022 10:25 am
by ASmouseInTheHouse
For many years, I did not have the Club and often wondered about the things going on in the Club episodes. There was one in particular that I certainly would have bought if I had the option: There and Back Again, because it was where Jay returned. I remember being very annoyed that Jay returned with an appearance from his dad outside of the mainstream. :x
Patterson wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 7:14 pm
A major draw of Odyssey in particular is that you can hear it in the car. Not so much when you can only hear an episode when you're connected to the internet. I don't know if the Club app has downloads for offline listening, so maybe that point's moot, but I don't know.
The Club app does allow the user to download 24 episodes for offline listening. For longer sagas, this might be inefficient, but it generally works quite well.

Personally, I would be up for having the Club episodes availible for digital download. I hadn't thought of releasing them in albums before, but gathering all the "like" episodes as you suggested makes sense.

Here's the question: If they started releasing all their Club episodes to the public, would that reduce incentive to join the Club? Do people join the Club because they want to hear the Club episodes or because they want access to all the "mainstream" albums? For me personally, it was a mixture of both: I'd heard of interesting character developments happening in the Club ("Take Every Thought Captive," "There and Back Again" with the first appearance of Jay's father!, "Walk Worthy," which started developing Jay and Buddy as friends, etc.) and I also wanted to listen to the classic "mainstream" episodes of AIO. It would be nice for non-Clubbers to have access to the major Club episodes. :yes:

Re: Do you wish Club Exclusives were available to buy?

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2022 8:37 pm
by Patterson
In the recent live chat with Marshall Younger, he said this about club exclusives:

21:59 <Marshal>:We talk about doing special releases of Club episodes, but right now, there are no plans to release all of the Club episodes to the general public.
22:00 <Marshal>: We wanted the Club to be special. To have exclusive content that would make people want to be in it and stay in it.

I'm happy to hear that they might do some more releases of certain club episodes. It's nice to know that they've considered releasing some.

As for what Mr. Younger said about all the exclusive episodes not going to be released elsewhere, we all knew or highly suspected that, but I was just throwing out a hypothetical idea.

The exclusive episodes are the major draw to the club for me personally, I've got a fairly large collection of mainstream episodes on mp3 and have the majority of the ones I like more. On mp3, I can stick a bunch on a microSD on my phone and it's almost as convenient as streaming. But the club would be super nice for people with a smaller collection.

Another plus about hearing older episodes on the club is the sound quality/convivence. If I wanted to watch older disney movies, I could watch them on VHS(yes, I still use them from time to time) but Disney Plus (mooching off my folks subscription here) is faster to set up, better quality, and portable. Same for AiO fans with a lot of episodes on tape. I've put in the time to put most of my Odyssey cassettes onto digital for portability, but it takes forever to do and the sound isn't near as good(and it's kinda a legal gray area :anxious: ). For the short time I had the club, it was so much better for listening to classics like Flash Flood.

I don't hate the club, I just gripe about exclusives because I'm cheap. During the summer when I have the time to listen to a lot of Odyssey, then buying a month of the club might be good. I love Odyssey but I normally limit myself to one a day because I'm a bad multitasker. Definitely agree that There and Back Again needs a CD or digital release.

Re: Do you wish Club Exclusives were available to buy?

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 3:42 pm
by Dallas R.
Nine seasons later, I definitely still dislike the Club Exclusive episodes. I don't like that kids who can't afford the club don't get to listen to half of the episodes. I know I wouldn't have gotten to hear them if I were still a kid during this era. I also own every episode that has been released and have ripped all of my CDs to MP3. I don't like having what is becoming a massive hole in my collection. I wonder about the legality of recording Club episodes? I subscribe once a year to listen to the club episodes from the previous year. So, for $10 I'm listening to 12 new episodes once, but not owning them. With the mainstream episodes, I pay $12 to get 12 MP3 episodes that I OWN forever. How wrong is it to record those episodes each year to keep a collection complete, for lack of any other legal way to own them?

Re: Do you wish Club Exclusives were available to buy?

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:15 pm
by Bob
The forum ate my earlier attempt at a response here, so this one might not be as eloquent.

It may very well be legal, as services that record streams have survived without any legal consequences, but it is in violation of the Club terms of service, meaning that you would be breaking the agreement you made with the Club when you subscribed.

"The AIO Club Site and the content provided on it may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted, sold, transferred, broadcast, modified or distributed without the express written permission of Focus and/or its third-party providers and distributors."

As much as we might like it to be otherwise (it'd be very convenient for retro tech enthusiasts dealing with 'abandonware'), there is no such thing as a 'right to purchase'. When it is the Club's clear intention not to sell some episodes, it seems difficult to ethically justify the practice of signing up with the express intent of violating their terms of use. The Club may be a bad deal, but even if it is, that doesn't change the principles or rights here.


As far as the cons of the Club generally... there's two separate groups here that seem negatively impacted, as you've alluded to, and they are very different. The first are 'super-fans' who have spent a lot of money purchasing everything available; the second are poor fans who can't afford anything at all.

These groups are both regrettable 'collateral damage' in addressing a bigger problem: the size of the group of fans who could pay if they really wanted to, but hadn't, up until the Club came along. My suspicion is that this group used to be the silent majority of AIO listeners. Running a show like this costs money, and it's hard to begrudge a decision that probably took the program from a weak financial position to being a clear gain.

In the case of the super-fans, I would point out that Matthew 20:1-16 seems relevant to this situation. ;-) Of course, if you don't gain as much from having a Club subscription, it's worth noting you don't lose as much from not having it either; you don't 'have' to be subscribed, so long as the only episodes you want to listen to are the ones you already have. Considering that's most episodes, that means you can, over the long term, save a lot of money, so you still have an advantage over not having paid anything at all. Your advantage in terms of the size of your collection and the percentage of AIO episodes you have access to at one time has decreased, but your overall advantage probably hasn't.

In the case of the truly poor... back in the day, before the internet, you could only hear the episode when it aired on the radio at a certain time. A little later, it was that plus you could access other recent broadcasts from the last week or two online. Now that there are so many free episodes, and ways to listen to those that aren't free, the focus has shifted to what isn't available, Clubhouse magazine and the exclusive episodes/videos, rather than what is. Yet we understand non-paying listeners have to miss out on something. Although they have less access to new episodes, I would say that free listeners still have more access to the program as a whole than they have had in a long time, and this will remain so until we have a significantly greater proportion of Club to non-Club episodes than we have now.

Finally, I might point out that the Club restrictions are much milder than they could have been, since they only apply to slightly under 50% of episodes made after the Club started. Consider this imperfect proposal I made a few years ago in a ToO post, and be glad that they went with the Club model instead. ;-)
2011 Bob wrote:If I was in charge of FotF and wanted to crack down on this, I would reduce the online radio play rotation to, say, three or four eps out of every album, plus three or four of the new episodes that come up in the season. Then lower the cost of every episode that doesn't show up in the rotation by about 33% or 50% of what it is now, and make a price adjustment to the albums -- which makes them, I think, about 10 bucks each (4 free episodes, 8 half-off eps are about a buck each, slap on a little more money to make it round).

This way, nobody can ever get all of the eps just by recording them, but it doesn't cost nearly as much money to buy the episodes and the albums to fill in your collection. You have a fair selection of episodes to listen to if you're not going to buy them -- more than you have now -- but they'll get older after a while because you have to wait for new seasons to get new content. Everyone wins, except for the people who record every episode, or who have the patience to wait for an episode they like to come up in the two-year-long radio rotation.