Dancing in the stardom: recording industry and grassroots marketing

Paper presented at the 3rd edition of the ESA Research Network Sociology of Culture mid-term Conference, Milan – Università Bocconi – 7th – 9th October 2010.

New media changed the relationship between the recording industry and fans. The Internet allow fans to share copyrighted music in p2p and Web 2.0 platforms. Recording industry reacted mainly with “prohibitionist” strategies, while cultural scholars argue that a “collaborationist” approach is needed with the aim to create an “affective economy”. In this paper, I describe the strategies of major labels to create a fanbase of grassroot promoters. During an ethnographic research, I’ve identified different forms of grassroots marketing (“street team”, “flash mob”, “mission”). I argue that labels try to harness “participative stardom”: a “music star” is created thanks to transmedia strategies (online presence and Tv appearances during media events and talent shows), then labels outsource promotional activities to fans rewarding them with branded products and the opportunity to meet artists.

Full Paper available in the SSRN eLibrary: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1693102.


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