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"#LookWhatYouMadeMeDo" Mobilizing fans in the contemporary music industry: - the Taylor Swift case
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6309-2315
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1439-2784
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6309-2315
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.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-70524OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-70524DiVA, id: diva2:1271658
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, 20200011Available from: 2018-12-17 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2019-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Ryan Bengtsson, LindaEdlom, JessicaFast, Karin
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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