Fandoms and the Rise of Social Media Marketing

Courtesy of Abaca
Courtesy of Abaca

Have you ever gotten to hang out with your favorite musical celebrity? Did Drake bake you cookies and let you have a peek around his apartment? Did you send Meghan Trainor an invitation to your bridal shower… and she actually showed up with gifts and hugs on-hand?

Most music stars don’t seem to be that accessible, but Taylor Swift has made an exception for her intensely dedicated fans. You have to hand it to the girl who’s been spinning her own fairytale since she was 14—she knows how to treat the people who’ve bought her records, time and time again.

With the boom of social media, it’s easier than ever for fans to feel like they should be connected to their favorite singers and songwriters on a more personal level. Let’s say Miley Cyrus tweets something about a new single coming out and includes a selfie with it. In 10 seconds flat, a swarm of her admirers are already retweeting, favoriting and calling up their local radio stations about the track, plus commenting all compliments on her picture. They’re just that passionate.

All of a sudden, there is free publicity. Word of mouth, catching like wildfire. Fandoms are funny things. The guys and girls that make up these groups are relentlessly loyal and will cut down any naysayers of their idolized celebrity at a moment’s notice. Of course, in the economy of the music business, traditional marketing still reigns. But social media is on the rise, and that is where connections are being made. That’s where records are being sold.

Courtesy of gurl.com
Courtesy of gurl.com

Focusing back on Taylor Swift, she’s grown up to be a very sharp marketer of her product, her image and her lifestyle. What she does better than any other celebrity out there, musical or otherwise, is that she gives her fans a return on their investment. It’s not enough for some anonymous, 18-year-old girl sitting in her bedroom to buy an album and have some connections to the songs. Now, it’s more important that she feels like she’s part of something bigger than herself.

She may get to hover within Taylor’s inner circle for an evening. She’ll get to exclusively listen to new songs before anyone else. All because she spends her days on social media, praising her favorite singer and planning to buy tickets to three stops on their world tour. These fandoms, these communities of people all gathered due to their love of one person or album or track, play a very important role in how the music business has been shaped. The way that the artist in question responds to these fans is definitely a telling sign for how successful they’ll remain within the music bubble.

Does a musical star have a direct responsibility to go above and beyond for their fans? Some may say yes, some may say no. But one thing is obvious in this moment in music history. With 1.287 million copies of her latest record sold within the first week of its release, Taylor Swift is definitely doing something right.

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