Social Media and Marketing of the "Popcorn" Music Wave: The Success of Romanian Commercial Musicians Analysed through Their Perceived Image on Facebook and Youtube

By Florina, Pînzaru; Andreea, Mitan | Economics & Sociology, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Social Media and Marketing of the "Popcorn" Music Wave: The Success of Romanian Commercial Musicians Analysed through Their Perceived Image on Facebook and Youtube


Florina, Pînzaru, Andreea, Mitan, Economics & Sociology


ABSTRACT. Internet changed dramatically the commercial music industry landscape: digitalization is the new standard, and the specific business models are in constant evolution. Thus, the industry has evolved from the traditional model of the big music labels to the much criticised peer-to-peer music file trading and, today, to the legitimate online downloading model (Vaccaro, Cohn, 2004). This last one is also changing, as there is a constant trend not to download music anymore, but to listen it directly through social media such as the older MySpace or the actual very popular YouTube, Facebook, and other similar national or regional networks (Mjos, 2011). With the social media opportunities, as never before, international success is possible for artists from small commercial music markets, such the ones of the emerging countries, who become rapidly well-known. The aim of this paper is to analyse the international success of Romanian "popcorn" wave musicians, a constant presence in the last years' international commercial music charts, through social media - Facebook and YouTube. Our research is developed on the social media perceived image of two representative artists of the "popcorn" wave, Inna and Alexandra Stan.

JEL Classification : Z1, Z11, M30

Keywords: cultural industries marketing, social media, Romanian music industry, cultural industries representations

Introduction

Critics of popular culture such as Adorno and Horkheimer (1998, p. 171) believe that the movies, books and music that have global audiences must portray reality using filters that help governments keep the people in a state of gaiety, unaware of the more unpleasant sociopolitical aspects of their lives. But popular culture does not manipulate anyone by itself, nor does it reflect reality, as we all live through and by it, says John Street (1997, p. 4). We are not compelled to imitate what we see, nor are cultural products compelled to imitate reality, although they do to some extent. Anyhow, popular culture products belong to the folklore of industrialized society, and some of the themes and characters they create and promote are sacred for the public... or at least for a part of it, as it is the case of movies and music stars (Grindstaff, 2008).

The culture industries approach the consumer in a behaviourist way (do-learn-like): the market is flooded with products that are - for the most part - standardized but seem to be ever changing; these products are heavily promoted using various media channels and promotions (free tickets, discounts, etc.), so that the consumer gets to buy them, hopefully in repeated turns (do). The selling gains an impetus from the promotions and the character of continuous novelty that the products seem to have. People get to know (learn) the products after buying them, but eventually they enjoy them (like) and return to buy again. The do-learn-like scheme (Iliescu & Petre, 2004, p. 119) works well for the culture industries because they address markets where consumer-brand relations rarely last a long time and new consumers have to be attracted continuously. This is the reason why promotional communication plays an important role for the culture industries, and the music industry offers a good place to start with when we try to understand the impact of mass promotion used in cultural contexts.

Let's begin by looking at the current state of matters in the global music industry. There are four big corporate players sharing the market: EMI, Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment1. All these popular music labels promote quite standardized formulas for the artists they represent, depending on the music genre they sing, but the audiences seem to find delight in identifying these formulas, as Adorno believed (2005, p. 56). There is still room for art for the sake of art, for non-commercial music, but the mainstream music labels that run the business have policies that mainly comprise recipes and heavy promotion use. …

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