Fans expect personal relationship with musicians

Music fans want to feel a personal connection with musicians on social networking sites rather than communicate with other fans, PhD research from Victoria University of Wellington has found.

Music fans at a concert

Yuanindita Ingardya (Ardya), a student from Indonesia who is graduating on Wednesday 10 December with a PhD in Marketing, set out to find out whether musicians’ social networking sites influence fans’ brand loyalty towards these musicians. She was surprised to find that fans were single-minded about wanting an authentic, interactive experience with the musicians.

“Fans aren’t so interested in interacting with other fans or with the musician’s management—they want to feel they have a personal two-way relationship with the musician’s themselves through posts that seem authentic and sincere.”

Because music consumers can easily gain free or low cost access to all kinds of music, Ardya says it is a challenge for musicians and other parties to survive in the music industry.

“It can be difficult for any individual musician to stand out from the rest and maintain or increase their fan base, and the increasing popularity both of buying music in digital format and digital piracy are ongoing issues. On the other hand, this advancing technology has provided an opportunity for musicians to market themselves to their fans, who are, in the current digital age, becoming more active, curious, noisy and loud.”

Ardya’s research shows that fans become more attached to musicians that they are able to actively socialise with, which suggests that fans regard the musicians more as their friend than as another product, service or brand.

“It stands to reason that musicians wishing to lift their profile should put time into connecting with their fans over social media.”

Ardya, who has a passion for music, says her thesis didn’t feel like hard work because she was so excited by her topic. She is now employed by Millward Brown Indonesia, a market research-based brand consulting firm, as a research executive.

She returned to New Zealand on Monday 8 December for a one-week holiday to attend her graduation ceremony and catch up with all the friends she has made while living in New Zealand for the past 13 years.