Digital Marketing And The Music Industry: Death of The Fan Page
After the rise of HTML in ’94 came a resurgence of celebrity dedicated fan pages. Different forums that acted as communities in support, gave celebrities a power to communicate directly with their audience. It gave them power by owning publishing.
Fast forward to 2017, and this has changed. Consumers are spending more time on social media, and less on the individual website. This results in the death of the fan page, and a loss of ownership for the publishing companies. In 2017, artists communicate with their fans through social platforms, and, as a result, don’t own their audience. The platforms/companies do. If Instagram decides tomorrow to change their newsfeed algorithm and expose a smaller percentage of artist audiences see the content audience, there’s not much she can do about it.
The move toward social creates a certain degree of complexity for the celebrity. Taylor Swift’s Instagram account isn’t her fan page, but it’s more than just her personal page. Through this new medium of distribution, she upholds a social code of sharing a balance of personal experiences with news and fan related content. There’s a fine line between overselling an audience and musicians are in a constant battle not to cross.
Upholding the social code then restricts the amount of sales content that artists can communicate with fans. This is where fan websites were valuable. It was a medium to update fans without tarnishing the direct image of the artist. The current model to solve this problem is relying on publishers. When Drake drops a new merchandise line, he may post about it once but the power is in different media outlets to promote it.
How can this be solved?
Official artist fan pages on social.
All artists should have two Instagram accounts, a personal account, and an official fan page account. This fan page account, managed by an artists team would give the artist a socially appropriate medium to promote content without worry about his personal account social code. Drake doesn’t want to run an official merchandise contest on his personal page but doing it on his fan page would be realistic.
This @drake account with over 300,000 followers hasn’t been active since April.
The need for this is so apparent that fans all over the world create “unofficial” fan pages for an artist in attempts to feel more connected with the artist. With a lack of motivation to stay consistent in posting content, most of them die out. Even worse, these account creators are directly monetizing off of these accounts. I’d imagine that would be a different story if the artist worked directly with fans to do so.
If Drake wants to drop news, he now has a medium to do this because he owns his publishing.
For up and coming artists, an official fan page creates a consistent way to stay relevant in fans. For example, indie artist Topaz Jones only posted on Instagram four times between December 13th and December 31st.
Apparent that social media isn’t a priority for Topaz personally, he’d still be able to capture the value of maintaining a consistent relationship with fans by hiring an agency or having a digital stream team member maintain the account.
Finally, owning this medium and owning attention opens up the deals for a significant more amount of fan deals. Through social costs, an artist will promote a brand for X because it tarnishes his brand Y amount. If this promotion is on a fan page, it would be fair to assume that the artist would be willing to promote a brand for X-Y, thus opening up floodgates to way more deals.
It also could recreate that community that the fan websites had. The fan pages could be more generous with who they follow and repost fan content. In doing so, you’re keeping the artist name fresh in consumers head. Many artists will go days without weeks without communication on social. This would fix that.