• Viral marketing in the music industry: How independent musicians utilise online peer-to-peer communications

      Marmion, Maeve; George, Sam (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      The aim of this research was to critically examine the use of viral marketing within the music industry. Specifically, how peer to peer communications can be utilised to gain a higher following. This was achieved by researching the uses of peer-to-peer communications through social media, the role of branding in the music industry and how specific audiences can be targeted through online platforms. Although there has been substantial research into the use of online peer-to-peer communications throughout various industries, there has been limited academic insight into how viral marketing is utilised within the music industry. However, with the use of online peer-to-peer communications becoming increasingly prevalent, it is a critical area for academics to consider. Due to this gap in literature, this research may be regarded as innovative. To ensure that the full context surrounding the research question was considered, the study was approached from an interpretivist stance and qualitative methods were used. By conducting semi-structured interviews, the researcher was able to collect deep and insightful data based on the narrative of each participant. Although there were key differences throughout the data, there were several themes that were consistent throughout. As social networks are a lucrative platform from utilising a viral marketing strategy, several participants suggested that it is essential for musicians to use a variety of them. The results showed that throughout the music industry it is crucial to develop a strong brand image and remain consistent within this. The research also suggested that consumers who are engaged with a brand are more likely to engage in peer-to-peer communications. As the most likely demographic to engage in peer-to-peer communications, this research suggested that millennials would be the most beneficial group to target a viral marketing strategy towards. As the sample contained participants from various roles within the music industry, each of whom had different motivations, performed separate styles of music and were at various stages of their career, it could be argued that this research contained too many variables and therefore, lacked depth. However, the aim of this research was to analyse the similarities and differences between a variety of roles within the music industry, therefore, collecting a multitude of data was the intention of the researcher. During the time of conducting, this research could have been considered innovative, due to not only the gap in literature, but also because of the relevance of the current uses of technology. However, due to the constant evolutions in modern technology, what may have been considered current at the time of research, may not be as relevant in future years. Therefore, similar research may need to be considered in future years.