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Commodifying participation through choreographed engagement: the Taylor Swift case
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8933-9515
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1439-2784
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. Vol. 13, no 2, p. 65-79
Keywords [en]
Algorithm economy, Audience engagement, Commodification, Fans, Music industry, Strategic communication, Transmedia marketing
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-93062DOI: 10.1108/aam-07-2022-0034ISI: 000913631900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85165132062OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-93062DiVA, id: diva2:1730287
Projects
Music ecosystems (MECO)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-NorwayEuropean CommissionAvailable from: 2023-01-24 Created: 2023-01-24 Last updated: 2023-10-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Show me love: Emergent strategic communication practices and fan engagement within the popular music industry
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

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Ryan Bengtsson, LindaEdlom, Jessica

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