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Dancing in The Stardom


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The evolution of the music industry with the spread of the Internet. The full paper is available here:

New media have changed the relationship between the recording industry and fans. TheInternet allows fans to share copyrighted music in p2p and Web 2.0 platforms. The
recording industry has reacted mainly with ‘prohibitionist’ strategies, while cultural scholarsargue that a ‘collaborationist’ approach is needed with the aim of creating an ‘affectiveeconomy’. In this paper, I describe the strategies of the major labels to create a fanbase of
grassroots promoters. During an ethnographic research project, I identified different forms
of grassroots marketing (‘street team’, ‘flash mob’, and ‘mission’). I argue that labels try toharness ‘participative stardom’: a ‘music star’ is created thanks to transmedia strategies
(online presence and TV appearances during media events and talent shows), then labelsoutsource promotional activities to fans, rewarding them with branded products and theopportunity to meet artists.

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Dancing in The Stardom

  1. 1. Dancing in the Stardom Recording Industry and Grassroots Marketing Agnese Vellar Department of Social Sciences - Università di Torino ESA - Sociology of Culture Conference Università Bocconi, 8 October 2010
  2. 2. new markets 2 Recording industry in the Web 2.0 Major labels Indie labels digital distribution e-commerce participatory cultures file sharing networked technologies
  3. 3. «Music How, When, Where You Want It. But Not Without Addressing Piracy» Diversify! Educate and Punish! New way to distribute music. 2009: 27% of the music industries revenues come from digital channels “Graduated response approach” (deals with ISP). Legal battle against file sharing services and p2p users. à-la-carte download model centralized platform for HQ music videos ad-supported services handset makers (IFPI Report, 2010)
  4. 4. 4 Affective economies Swedish indie music transnational audience (Baym & Burnett, 2009) grassroots marketing Jarvis Cocker indie rock (Beer, 2008) Li Yuchun pop national idol (Yang, 2009) Rate, tag, translate, MP3 Blog, distribute bootlegs Fans as promoters: social and cultural rewards Talent show promotional packages charity foundation anti-piracy campagin Live performances Networked collectivismMySpace profile Tori Amos songrwiter (Farrugia & Gobatto, 2010) Pop music Indie music (Jenkins, 2006)
  5. 5. Ethnographic research construct a celebrity persona! harness the free work of fans! Shakira (Colombian) Marco Mengoni (Italian) Lady Gaga (US) Italian fan base of grasroots promoters
  6. 6. 1. construct a celebrity persona! to create an affective relationship between musiciants and fans
  7. 7. Shakira: the philantropyst Mango and Unicef Branded products Barefoot foundation Online self Ethnic and bilingual
  8. 8. Mengoni: the reality-celebrity Talent show Backstage moments Videomessages and online diaries (Curnutt, 2009) Broadcast Tv Content sharing
  9. 9. @perezhilton i wish i had been there, you are a wonderful friend, only you would party all night/free cuba in the morning Lady Gaga: queen of social media My Daddy had open heart surgery today. And after long hours, and lots of tears, they healed his broken heart, and mine. Speechless. Performance of the intimate self to reduce social distance videomessages Happy 4th of July little monsters! I can smell you from backstage. Lipstick, whiskey, and the rat pack. F*ck I love AC. X Mother Monster fan video and pictures engage
  10. 10. 2. harness the free work of fans! to outsource the promotional activities
  11. 11. Street team portal Group leader coordinates the local team (composed by 2 to 10 streetteamer). Moderator moderate the public forum, coordinate the local teams and share the flyers. Professional Staff: «Our motto is “Fan just wanna have fun”. Our aim is to let fans participate in the carrier of their favourite artists to knock down the wall that in the past keep separate recording industry and fans.»
  12. 12. Mengoni: flashmob «In every city. In every villages. All over the world. You too. All Me too. Everyone together. Let’s dance together» online audience  online performances & offline performance  live audience
  13. 13. Shakira: Waka Waka dance «Every child in the world should have access to an education. This time dance with me for this one goal. […] 1 Song, 1 dance, 1 goal». online audience  online performances & offline performance  live audience
  14. 14. Lady Gaga: Flash mob contest costuming “Performative consumption” (Hills, 200) challange
  15. 15. Pop music cultures in the Web 2.0 new media company: harness “collective intelligence” collaborative construction of shared knowledge stardom recording industry transmedia music star: sport event talent show social media loyal consumers grasroots performance (online and offline) performative cunsumption harnessing “participative stardom”
  16. 16. Thank you!