Digital natives in the music industry? #iaspm2017

Koos Zwaan, Sabine de Lat and Mark van Everdinck: Inholland University of Applied Sciences (presenter: Koos Zwaan)

Digital natives in the music industry? How the Internet ecosystem is creating value for artists

DJ Angerfist
The Netherlands’ DJ Angerfist – he shares social media platforms with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

ABSTRACT: We will report findings from a large scale online research project looking at the value of online income streams for Dutch pop musicians. We have performed an analysis of the online activities of a diverse group of about 1100 Dutch artists, stretching the entire scope of popular music genres. By using cluster analysis we have identified a number of different archetypical artist strategies for using online possibilities for marketing, promotion and interaction with the audience. These quantitative findings have been enriched by doing interviews with a number of artist managers of artists who can be identified in one of these artist clusters. From our analysis we can conclude that different types of artists have strategic reasons for choosing a specific type of online strategy. Both theoretical and practical implications of this study will be discussed.

Koos opens with a quiz – who is back, and where? The answer, of course, is Taylor Swift is back on Spotify. Koos quotes from Swift’s 2014 Time interview:

“I’m always up for trying something. And I tried [Spotify] and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify.” Taylor Swift, 2014

We see some useful recent scholarship, including Lindsay 2016 and Hughes et al 2016. Koos reminds us that many current scholars and some media commentators assert that social media is the ‘new punk’ of the music industry. He intends to interrogate this assertion in his work.

Koos’s own work is monitoring the industry in The Netherlands, particularly the economics of artistic exports. He notes a sharp rise in live performances but not an equivalent in the recorded/online sector, and ascribes this to contemporary Dutch EDM artists who are touring (and presumably playing festivals) internationally. Koos briefly mentions the Open Music Initiative, which investigates multiple possible revenue streams for artists from a single work, and then shows us some ‘family tree’ diagrams of the current international digital music ecosystems. His methodology covers 1119 artists from a Dutch export value study, and big-data web scraping from all platforms except Spotify (which does not support scraping technically). He focuses only on Dutch artists who are economically active outside the Netherlands.

We now see a genre map of these artists, with EDM hugely dominant (e.g. ‘Rock’ is a single category; ‘EDM’ is subcategorized into electro, hardcore, hardstyle, techno and trance), but he also mentions acoustic genres such as ‘Popular classical’ and folk.

And here are some artists, with EDM artists including Martin Garrix (“he has more Facebook followers than there are Dutch people”), DJ Mad Dog, Angerfist, Noisecontrollers, Joris Voom, Dash Berlin, De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. In the classical side he includes only four artists (“but they make shitloads of money”) eg. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Andre Rieu. Jazz, rock, pop, Dutch pop, and singer-songwriter artists are mentioned [but the list goes by too fast for me to get the examples].

These artists are quantitatively tracked according to non-financial and financial/ROI impact using the aforementioned metrics. Artists with a social media account have substantially more impact in all categories. There follows an analysis by platoform; e.g. EDM tends to be busier on Twitter and Instagram; EDM generally eschews Deezer, but older musics (jazz-pop, classical, folk/schlager) to tend to be represented. EVERYONE is on Facebook. For Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter, EDM takes all the top 100 presences, and although it dominates YouTube less (54%). Singer-songwriters appear most on Soundcloud (although this is still dominated by EDM).

He concludes: each platform has its own logic, as does each genre. Specific genres are active on specific platforms. Social media ‘ecosystems’ echo offline subcultures. Koos ends by answering the questions posed in the titles of some of his citations; social media is not the new punk; the song does not remain the same; but there are new music industries.

1 comment

  1. Thanks Joe for this excellent summary! I will be working on both a report (in Dutch) as an international journal article (in English) to be published in the near future, stay in touch and keep an eye out, as I think you will like the final outcome there 😉

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