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Ryan Bengtsson, L. & Edlom, J. (2023). Commodifying participation through choreographed engagement: the Taylor Swift case. Arts and the Market, 13(2), 65-79
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Commodifying participation through choreographed engagement: the Taylor Swift case
2023 (English)In: Arts and the Market, ISSN 2056-4945, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 65-79Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose– This article examines the ways in which the popular music industry markets artists through integrated transmedia marketing campaigns. These campaigns unfold across multiple media and create multiple pathways for audience engagement, particularly fan engagement, across social media platforms. The purpose is to further theorise the relationship between artists, the music industry and audiences.

Design/methodology/approach– The study used digital ethnography to scrutinise the activities within a contemporary music transmedia marketing campaign, focusing on the release of Taylor Swift’s album Reputation as an illustrative case.

Findings– The study demonstrates how strategically curated activities encompass platforms’ affordances and industry events by making use of fan engagement across social media platforms and streaming services. Fans shift through platforms, as well as across digital and physical spaces, through defined marketing activities at specific times. This article proposes the concept of choreographed engagement to specifically address the ways in which the temporal and spatial aspects of social media marketing are used at the intersection of platform logic, algorithm economy and fan engagement to reach wider audiences.

Originality/value– By proposing the concept of choreographed engagement, the authors bridge the gap between fan practices and marketing practices, providing insight into how commodification of fan engagement is utilised spatially and temporally within the contemporary platform economy. Choreographed engagement constitutes a significant aspect of strategic communication and marketing. The term expands the vocabulary used in the debate on the commodification of artistic work, and audience engagement in the platform era

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2023
Keywords
Algorithm economy, Audience engagement, Commodification, Fans, Music industry, Strategic communication, Transmedia marketing
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-93062 (URN)10.1108/aam-07-2022-0034 (DOI)000913631900001 ()2-s2.0-85165132062 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Music ecosystems (MECO)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-NorwayEuropean Commission
Available from: 2023-01-24 Created: 2023-01-24 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. (2023). Show me love: Emergent strategic communication practices and fan engagement within the popular music industry. (Doctoral dissertation). Karlstad: Karlstads universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Show me love: Emergent strategic communication practices and fan engagement within the popular music industry
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis studies how the music industry’s strategic communication practices interplay with and steer audience and fan engagement. Relationships with, and expectations on, “active”, “prosuming” or “co-creative” music audiences make it imperative for communication practitioners to produce engagement. The music industry has adapted its promotional strategies accordingly, and data-driven processes and algorithms have become ever more central to understanding and controlling audience practices. Currently, we are witnessing the emergence of new strategic communication approaches to follow, foster, steer, track and commodify audience engagement, via big data. Applying qualitative and ethnographic approaches and socio-cultural perspectives, the thesis explores how strategic communication practices are enacted and designed to cater for, interplay with and steer fan engagement. Drawing on practice and structuration theory, critical questions are asked about the social consequences of communication engagement and an engagement imperative – for both individuals and organisations involved in the strategic communication around a music brand.  Results indicate that the contemporary, digitalised music industry demands communication practices that are at the same time strategic, professionalised, agile and co-creative. The study highlights important implications of such practices, in terms of changing professional competences and ethics as well as context-specific articulations of the power relations that support and are (re-)produced through the engagement imperative. In sum, the thesis is aimed at extending our understanding of how strategic communication practices respond to, and change in, a seemingly liquid, yet at the same time carefully orchestrated, communicative context. 

Abstract [en]

For the music industry, audiences’ engagement around music artists is central to building and communicating artist brands. Currently, we are witnessing new communication approaches to track, foster and commodify audience engagement, partly via data-driven processes. This thesis studies how the music industry’s strategic communication practices interplay with and steer audience and fan engagement.

The thesis applies qualitative and ethnographic approaches and socio-cultural perspectives. Drawing on practice and structuration theory, critical questions are asked about the social consequences of communication engagement and an engagement imperative – for both individuals and organisations. Results indicate that the contemporary, digitalised music industry demands communication practices that are at the same time strategic, professionalised, emergent, agile and co-creative. The study highlights implications of such practices, in terms of changing professional competences, ethics and power relations that support and are (re-) produced through the engagement imperative. In sum, the thesis is aimed at extending our understanding of how strategic communication practices respond to, and change in, a seemingly liquid, yet at the same time carefully orchestrated, communicative context. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2023. p. 144
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2023:31
Keywords
agility, audience engagement, branding, co-creation, communication management, engagement, fandom, liquid, music industry, participation, practice theory, strategic communication, structuration theory
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97176 (URN)978-91-7867-412-1 (ISBN)978-91-7867-413-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-12-04, Geijersalen, 12A 138, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2023-11-14 Created: 2023-10-23 Last updated: 2023-11-14Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. (2022). The Engagement Imperative: Experiences of Communication Practitioners’ Brand Work in the Music Industry. Media and Communication, 10(1), 66-76
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Engagement Imperative: Experiences of Communication Practitioners’ Brand Work in the Music Industry
2022 (English)In: Media and Communication, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 66-76Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Due to societal trends, such as digitalisation, platformisation, and active and co-creative audiences, new organisational practices have surfaced. This study examines how communication practitioners experience their changing work in a new communication environment in which participatory cultural norms are becoming standard in strategic communication. I argue that the requirements to produce audience engagement affect the communication work and the communication workers. This study uses the popular music industry as a case, and is based on interviews with communication practitioners as well as on the qualitative text analysis of reports and newsletters from the music marketing firm Music Ally to the music industry. The study shows that communication practitioners within the industry experience a duty to create audience engagement-an engagement imperative. Although the practitioners are highly skilled in digital communication and social media, they often see the development of digital promotional culture as a challenge and express a lack of a deeper understanding of engagement. This study highlights implications for their professional roles, competences, and identities as well as ethical implications regarding the exploitation of audiences in communication work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisbon: Cogitatio, 2022
Keywords
audience engagement, communication management, communication practitioner, engagement imperative, ethics, media work, music industry, participatory culture, strategic communication
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-88131 (URN)10.17645/mac.v10i1.4448 (DOI)000746066800007 ()2-s2.0-85122982875 (Scopus ID)
Projects
MECO – Music Eco-systems Inner Scandinavia
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2022-01-20 Created: 2022-01-20 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. & Karlsson, J. (2021). Hang with Me—Exploring Fandom, Brandom, and the Experiences and Motivations for Value Co-Creation in a Music Fan Community. International Journal of Music Business Research, 10(1), 17-31
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hang with Me—Exploring Fandom, Brandom, and the Experiences and Motivations for Value Co-Creation in a Music Fan Community
2021 (English)In: International Journal of Music Business Research, E-ISSN 2227-5789, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 17-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Active and co-creative audiences are sought, used, tracked and taken for granted in the quest for strong music brands. Fan communities are co-opted to build value for brands and used to foster communication in transmedia marketing campaigns. However, when focusing on audiences and fans’ digital media activities, digital traces and numbers, important questions of motivations, expectations, experiences, morals and power structures are often overlooked. Drawing on a digital ethnographic study and an interdisciplinary perspective, we investigate a fan community of the Swedish artist Robyn, both online and offline. The article contributes to the concepts of fandom and brandom and the notion of value. It also adds to the knowledge about the perspective of fans and fans’ motivations for taking part and co-creating value in a highly commercialised and strategised music market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Warsaw: De Gruyter Open, 2021
Keywords
fandom, brand community, brandom, value co-creation, music industry
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies; Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-84059 (URN)10.2478/ijmbr-2021-0003 (DOI)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2021-05-26 Created: 2021-05-26 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. & Karlsson, J. (2021). Keep the Fire Burning: Exploring the Hierarchies of Music Fandom and the Motivations of Superfans. Media and Communication, 9(3), 123-132
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Keep the Fire Burning: Exploring the Hierarchies of Music Fandom and the Motivations of Superfans
2021 (English)In: Media and Communication, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 9, no 3, p. 123-132Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Internet has changed how music fans come together and how the music industry connects to and communicates with fans. To understand the incentives for becoming a fan and why fans take part in an artist brand, this article considers the diversity in a particular fan community, including its hierarchy and roles. Fans have different levels of engagement, knowl‐ edge, and status, both inside and outside a fan community. To extend the existing research on fan hierarchies into the digital promotional culture, this study focuses on the case of the Swedish music artist Robyn and her Facebook fan community Konichiwa Bitches. To gain insights into a complex online research arena, we use a qualitative and digital ethnographic approach in both online and offline contexts. The article provides an understanding and conceptualization of fan hierar‐ chies, focusing on the top of the hierarchy, superfans and executive fans, and on their incentives for engagement. These high‐level fans function as a key connecting point between the brand management and the fans, thus taking fandom a step further and enhancing the brand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisbon, Portugal: Cogitatio, 2021
Keywords
fandom, fan community, fan hierarchy, engagement, music industry, superfan, value co‐creation
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies; Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-85584 (URN)10.17645/mac.v9i3.4013 (DOI)000683307000004 ()2-s2.0-85111963165 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Music Ecosystems Inner Scandinavia, MECO
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2021-08-05 Created: 2021-08-05 Last updated: 2023-06-27Bibliographically approved
Ryan Bengtsson, L. & Edlom, J. (2021). Mapping Transmedia Marketing in the Music Industry: A Methodology. Media and Communication, 9(3), 164-174
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping Transmedia Marketing in the Music Industry: A Methodology
2021 (English)In: Media and Communication, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 9, no 3, p. 164-174Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the last decade, the music industry has adapted its promotional strategy to take advantage of the fluid, contemporary, platform-based transmedia landscape. For researchers of contemporary culture, the multiplicity of promotional activities creates substantial methodological challenges. In this article, we present and discuss such methodological approaches using two studies of contemporary promotional music campaigns as illustrative cases. Inspired by digital and innovative methods and guided by the Association of Internet Researchers’ (AoIR’s) ethical guidelines, we developed two data collection strategies—reversed engineering and live capturing—and applied two analytical approaches—visual mapping and time-based layering. The first case study traced already staged music marketing campaigns across multiple online media platforms, and the second followed an online promotional campaign in real time for six months. Based on these case studies, we first argue for the importance of grounded manual capturing and coding in data collection, especially when working around data access limitations imposed by platforms. Second, we propose reversed engineering and live capturing as methods of capturing fragmented data, in contemporary promotional campaigns. Third, we suggest the visual mapping and time-based layering of data, enabling researchers to oscillate between qualitative and quantitative data. Finally, we argue that researchers must pool their experiences and resources regarding how to transcend platform limitations and question a lack of transparency while respecting ethical norms and guidelines. With these arguments, we assert the researcher’s necessary role in understanding and explaining the complex and hybrid contemporary promotional landscape and provide tools and strategies for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
COGITATIO PRESS, 2021
Keywords
digital methods, engagement, ethics, innovative methods, music industry, promotional culture, transmedia marketing
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-85603 (URN)10.17645/mac.v9i3.4064 (DOI)000683307000008 ()2-s2.0-85111963476 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-NorwayRegion VärmlandKarlstad University
Available from: 2021-08-07 Created: 2021-08-07 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. (2020). Authenticity and Digital Popular Music Brands. In: T Tofalvy; E Barna (Ed.), Popular Music, Technology, and the Changing Media Ecosystem: . Springer Nature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Authenticity and Digital Popular Music Brands
2020 (English)In: Popular Music, Technology, and the Changing Media Ecosystem / [ed] T Tofalvy; E Barna, Springer Nature, 2020Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The question of what is real in social media is highly relevant today. Authenticity is a key concept that is used in many different aspects, as something that comes across as being trustworthy, but also as a strategic tool in order to create relationships with the audience and a “feeling of true.” This chapter investigates the concept of authenticity in popular music—how authenticity is manifested and created, if it is created, on social platforms regarding music brands. The music industry is both highly branded, commercial, and creative and heterogeneous. The communication on digital platforms is getting more alike, regardless of level of independence, professionalism and artistic integrity. At the same time the audience has expectations of music artist relating to genre and image, that not always match the strategic music brand building. Does this strategy focus make authenticity hollow and vulnerable?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2020
Keywords
authenticity, brand, marketing, music industry, strategic communication
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-85606 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-44659-8_8 (DOI)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2021-08-09 Created: 2021-08-09 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved
Ryan Bengtsson, L. & Edlom, J. (2020). In Search for a methodological approach:: Challenges of capturing transmedia marketing in the music industry. In: : . Paper presented at ECREA Organisational and Strategic Communication section: Complexity, hybridity, liminality: Challenges of researching contemporary promotional cultures. February 21. London, Great Britain..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In Search for a methodological approach:: Challenges of capturing transmedia marketing in the music industry
2020 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we present and discuss methodological aspects of studying engagement in promotional online campaigns within the music industry. We draw on learnings from exploring innovative methods and digital methods in two studies on transmedia marketing campaigns. Based on our method, we discuss researchers' premises when conducting digital data collection, the complexity of analyzing and comparing qualitative and quantitative data sets of different formats, and how to present and handle data in an ethical way. We contribute with innovative methods for studying how engagement is commercially produced, and move between the offline and online in the contemporary platform-based media landscape.

National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-77706 (URN)
Conference
ECREA Organisational and Strategic Communication section: Complexity, hybridity, liminality: Challenges of researching contemporary promotional cultures. February 21. London, Great Britain.
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway
Available from: 2020-05-01 Created: 2020-05-01 Last updated: 2022-11-16Bibliographically approved
Edlom, J. (2019). Sparking the Nordic music brand. In: Cecilia Cassinger; Andrea Lucarelli; Szilvia Gyimóthy (Ed.), The Nordic Wave in Place Branding: Poetics, practices, politics. (pp. 39-53).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sparking the Nordic music brand
2019 (English)In: The Nordic Wave in Place Branding: Poetics, practices, politics. / [ed] Cecilia Cassinger; Andrea Lucarelli; Szilvia Gyimóthy, 2019, p. 39-53Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Today, the Nordic countries are successful exporters of popular music and looked upon as influential on the music scene. This chapter examines the role that music plays in building the Nordic nation brands. The study focuses on two cases during 2016 and 2018 at the festival South by Southwest in Austin, US, where the Nordic countries collaborated in branding the region. The work was done by many actors, both public and private organisations, with common branding objects but also with own commercial objects. This chapter investigates the underlying cultural export, branding strategies and the brand management and leadership of the Nordic music brand. It is concluded that in order to succeed, the cooperation between the countries relied on common and clearly defined values, a thorough strategy, successful and shared leadership and not least a collaborative, inclusive modus and an ever-expanding network.

Keywords
collaborative branding, music industry, nation brand, nation brand management, place branding
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-85607 (URN)10.4337/9781788974325.00013 (DOI)9781788974318 (ISBN)9781788974325 (ISBN)
Funder
Interreg Baltic Sea Region
Available from: 2021-08-09 Created: 2021-08-09 Last updated: 2021-11-17Bibliographically approved
Ryan Bengtsson, L., Edlom, J. & Fast, K. (2018). "#LookWhatYouMadeMeDo" Mobilizing fans in the contemporary music industry: - the Taylor Swift case. In: : . Paper presented at ECREA, the 7th European Communication Conference (ECC), "Centres and Peripheries: Communication, Research, Translation", October 31 - November 3, 2018, Lugano, Switzerland.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"#LookWhatYouMadeMeDo" Mobilizing fans in the contemporary music industry: - the Taylor Swift case
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

On August 21, 2017, American superstar Taylor Swift launched an immersive marketing campaign for her upcoming album “Reputation”. Her first action consisted in a 10 second black and white film clip of a rattling snake. The clip was posted simultaneously on her personal Facebook and Instagram accounts and, generated massive response from her fans, who immediately started to speculate about Swift’s intentions with the video footage. The clip was the first of several efforts to invite consumers to participate in the album’s transmedia marketing campaign. The rattling snake video was followed by an international social media campaign effectively interconnecting diverse digital media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr). The campaign involved very few traditional media appearances, but relied all the more on fan-based content and fan-initiated events. The fan base was anticipated to co-create content and take part in different joint events, not only online but also offline through for example pop-up museums, home-visits, and pop-up stores. 

 

The music industry utilizes transmedia marketing due to its potential to foster fan engagement, or, as we understand it in this paper – fan labour. Fans produce and circulate content and facilitate the engineering of targeted marketing initiatives. The Swift campaign is thus an up-to-date example of how contemporary transmedia marketingemploy offline and online spaces to mobilize fans across and beyond media platforms. Buthow do fans responds to transmedia marketing and how do they navigate, act and perform across these online and offline spaces?

 

This study investigates fan labour through a digital multi-method approach to the Swifttransmedia campaign. By collecting data from the artist’s social media accounts and hashtags specified by the campaign, we capture fan responses, actions, interactions and productions related to ‘laid out’ trails between the campaign’s online and offline spaces. The quantitative material allows us to map how fans move in the marketing time-space. Furthermore, the quantitative method guides us to places where more advanced forms of fan labour occur. As to deepen our understanding of how fan labour is performed within the Swiftmarketing universe, we complement the big data sampling with qualitative studies of specific transmedia places of engagement.

 

Our results show that Swift fans (or ‘Swifties’) follow the paths prepared by the marketers. By placing events in different campaign milieus and by taking full advantage of technological affordances, fans are encouraged to migrate between campaign places. We identify different forms of labour in these places; notably, fans produce and share content with campaign producers as well as within their own networks, thus giving the campaign access to their social media networks and their productions. However, our study also detects instances of fan resistance. Fans use their voice to question specific campaign activities or if they feel sidestepped. Ultimately, our paper scrutinizes the blurry interplay between industry and fan engagement in transmedia spaces and offer – much needed – spatial perspectives on fan labour.

 

National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-70524 (URN)
Conference
ECREA, the 7th European Communication Conference (ECC), "Centres and Peripheries: Communication, Research, Translation", October 31 - November 3, 2018, Lugano, Switzerland
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway, 20200011
Available from: 2018-12-17 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2022-11-16Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-1439-2784

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