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SHARE! LIKE! CREATE! HOW FAN LABOR IS CULTIVATED AND PRACTICED IN THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC INDUSTRY
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (Geomedia)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies. (Geomedia)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6309-2315
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Information Systems and Project Management. (Geomedia)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0501-2217
2017 (English)In: 2017: AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When the band One Direction released their sixth album “Made in the A.M.” they marketed it through several joint events within different digital platforms. They used google streetview to create a fictional room, in which fans discovered new material and share it within their social networks using #MadeintheAM. In a joint event with Twitter they launched a 24-hour competition, asking which “country” loves One Direction the most. The 10 countries that were able to mobilize the most Twitter-activity on their country’s hashtag during a set period of time were rewarded with their own One Direction emoji. Just before the album release One Direction joined with Apple Music to stage an international competition that ran across several social media platforms and offered fans the chance to win tickets to an exclusive performance by the band. Connecting the music industry with media platforms combining social media happenings and live events, the campaign mobilized fans be part of the marketing of the album.

 

Recently the music industry has struggled with how to make profit in times of illegal downloading, streaming, and Spotifycation. One overarching strategy developed in response is to rely on consumer engagement, making the One Direction campaign a contemporary example of transmedia marketing involving multiple platforms simultaneously. The willingness of the music industry to use transmedia marketing is related to its potential to foster consumers’ engagement in brand experiences across several content platforms (cf. Jenkins, 2006). Like other actors in the entertainment industries, labels and artists are increasingly interested in exploring the potentials of transmedia entertainment and how consumers – without payment – contribute to the production and circulation of content across and beyond media platforms. In this paper, we understand online consumer engagement as a form of labor that reconfigures users as digital publics. Since much of this labor is paid for in affect rather than money, such labor has been recognized as a form of free labor (se for example Andrejevic, 2008; Baym 2009; Fuchs, 2014; Fast, 2012).

 

But the One Direction campaign also illustrates the spatial qualities of such campaigns through the diversity of initiatives taken to mobilize consumers to perform different actions and move between different media platforms. While both transmedia marketing and free labor have been subjected to many studies very few studies address the spatiality of both of these phenomena (though see e.g. Stork’s [2014] “transmedia geography” and “performance space” of the Glee franchise). Spatial metaphors offer both a way to represent and visualize the movements of the consumers, as well as to understand how marketing campaigns construct immersive worlds where free labor is promoted and exploited. Using spatial metaphors also enables a methodological approach to transmedia marketing, positioning actions and actors in relation to each other in time and space. We develop the concept of transmediascape to refer to such contexts, a term directly inspired by Appadurai’s (1996: 35) ‘scape’-metaphor, which accentuates the global flows of people, technology, capital, media content, discourses, and ideas. Indeed, we suggest that the music industry purposely constructs digital narratives that spill over from one media platform to another forming transmediascapes.

 

This paper explores how music consumers perform and act within music marketing campaigns, posing the question: How do music consumers navigate across the transmediascapes constituted by marketing campaigns? In this study we follow the music audience movement within the promotional campaign of one internationally known artist, capturing the audiences’ actions and interactions by using the artist’s hashtag and additional hashtags specified by the campaign. A network analysis allows us to map how the audience moves through the campaign in time and space, and how the prepared trails guide the consumer to various media platforms (e.g. from the official website, to Instagram, to Spotify, etc.) It is important to note that the analysis includes the trails that run from online to offline spaces, or from virtual to physical places (e.g. from Facebook to festival site, or vice versa). However, we also seek to understand users engagement in the production of content, and how this content is then recirculates within the campaign. Thus we have chosen a nethnographic approach to the campaign material. The quantitative material guides us to instances where content production occurs, allowing a close study of these specific events. Thus this is an exploratory study, following the case study approach (Yin, 2003), to approach one specific campaign in depth by adopting a multi-method approach rooted in digital methods (se for example Kozinets 2009; Hjort & Sharp 2014).

 

Our preliminary results indicate that consumers within the music industry are mobilized as they assemble consumer affect and promote physical as well as virtual fan movement. The consumer follows a path constructed by the marketing campaign, making consumers migrating between various spaces located in different platforms. We identify audience engagement in these events and how audiences both produce and share content with the campaign as well as within their own networks – thus giving the campaign access to their social media networks and their productions. We also detect instances of resistance, where the audience use the hashtag or distributed material in a way that was not intended by the campaign. Finally, our paper also contributes with methodological development where acknowledging the spatial dimensions of free labor and transmedia marketing provide an analytical approach to media consumers within the contemporary transmediascapes.

Abstract [en]

This paper explores how music consumers perform and act within transmedia marketing, focusing on music marketing campaigns. We follow the music consumers’ movement within the promotional campaign of one internationally known artist, capturing the their actions and interactions. Through an exploratory case study adopting a multi-method approach rooted in digital methods, we map how the consumers move through the campaign, how the campaign guides them through various media platforms, how consumers are engaged in the production of content and how this content then recirculates within the campaign. We argue that transmedia entertainment carries spatial qualities, and that the use of spatial metaphors offer both a way to explore the movement of the consumer as well as to represent and to visualize how the marketing campaign constructs immersive worlds where consumers transform into free labor – suggesting that we can understand transmedia campaigns as transmediascapes. Using spatial metaphors also provides us with a methodological approach to transmedia marketing, positioning actions and actors in relation to each other in time and space. Our preliminary results indicate that consumers within the music industry are mobilized as they assemble consumer affect and promote physical as well as virtual fan movement. The consumer follows a path constructed by the marketing campaign, making the consumer migrate between various spaces located in different platforms.  Our paper also contributes with methodological development,  where acknowledging the spatial dimensions of free labor and transmedia marketing provides a methodological approach to media consumers within contemporary transmediascapes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Music industry, free labor, prosumption, social media
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-66740OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-66740DiVA, id: diva2:1191400
Conference
AoIR 2017 - Networked Publics
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway, 20200011
Available from: 2018-03-19 Created: 2018-03-19 Last updated: 2018-03-19

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Ryan Bengtsson, LindaFast, KarinFerrer Conill, Raul

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