Opportunities for brands to connect with dance music fans
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone’s editors or publishers.
The growing popularity of dance music over the years has increasingly caught the attention of companies and advertisers looking to reach their fans. IMS Business reports that in 2019, dance music was the third most popular music genre with around 1.5 billion people listening globally.
My social media market research firm, Maven Road, was intrigued to find out how brand and business leaders can engage with fans in the dance music community. This interest has led to research that has identified fan consumption habits and how they have changed since the start of the pandemic. We’ve identified three relevant points that marketers looking to engage with this audience should consider.
Livestreams represent an opportunity for marketers.
Due to the pandemic, dance music culture has permeated online spaces, allowing fans to socialize, share new music and catch up on event information. Fans continue to seek out and build communities to stay connected to the “dance music family”, often relying on outlets such as YouTube chats, Reddit forums and Facebook groups. Therefore, live streams have become an integral part of the community culture of dance music fans.
We analyzed dance music fan activity between 2019 and 2020 on Twitter and found that the popularity of sharing links to live streams had increased significantly. This prompted fans to participate in paid live streams. Out of 2,018 fans, we found that 45% have paid for live streams and 52% would consider it in the future. Also, when asked if it was worth it, the majority said yes.
Increased fan interest and willingness to pay for live streams presents potential opportunities for marketers to engage with the dance music community, conduct digital brand activations and reach users who prefer and continue to consume music via live streams.
Reddit and YouTube Live Chats are spaces where fans can find acceptance and support and share how being part of the dance music community has benefited their lives. This gives brands a natural opportunity to connect with the community through these channels. Although many use Reddit for practical purposes, such as receiving answers to questions specific to dance music, many characteristics of the community’s culture, such as being guided by their aforementioned core values, have permeated sub-reddit communities, allowing people not only to have their questions answered. but to create meaningful connections with like-minded people.
Brands can leverage fan interest in online events and festivals.
The pandemic has caused a sharp drop in in-person events and festivals, which means online gatherings are becoming more relevant to the community. This was evident in the conversations we observed around the Tomorrowland virtual festival, one of the most popular events among the dance music community. Last year, while some attendees expressed a desire to return to the in-person event, we found that many fans preferred the virtual concert as they felt more comfortable.
Online events probably won’t replace in-person festivals and raves, but these events are great opportunities for brands. Plus, they can expose fans to brands they may not have necessarily paid attention to at in-person festivals, where they’re often overloaded with ads and other stimuli competing for their attention. By collaborating with online events, brands can increase their visibility and reach potential consumers.
On the other hand, industry professionals have adapted to generate revenue by leveraging live streaming platforms to promote events and selling merchandise and products rather than live event tickets. The virtual event as a concept has led to the opportunity for product placement, which has been beneficial in raising awareness for brands like Absolut, RedBull, Velo and others. With advertisements on the virtual event platform or through product placement, brands have the opportunity to leverage interest in festivals and build greater customer awareness.
There is a possible connection between vaping and community dance music culture.
According to our study, more than half of dance music fans surveyed vape. We found that vape consumers in the dance music community were more willing than fans in general to pay for a live DJ livestream.
Dance music industry experts acknowledge the possibility of a connection between vaping brands and dance music culture. However, for brands to benefit from a relationship with this community, they must first be aware of the culture and characteristics of the fans. Strategies can be effective if they are tailored to their specific interests, values and behaviors. It would then be possible to connect the two interests and approach the two audiences.
Brands can get involved in the dance music community, as long as they understand the culture first. Take the example of Red Bull, an energy drink brand that has become so involved in the music scene through festivals and its studios that the product itself has sometimes become an afterthought. On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning that some DJs are open to working with brands as it helps them sustain themselves when gigs are limited. Still, they might only accept brands that align with certain values or offer personalized ways to activate their products, such as a contest to win a private show.
Understanding the dance music community, including fan interests and behaviors, can open up many opportunities for marketers. The growing interest in live streams and virtual events offers brands the opportunity to connect with audiences and boost their exposure. The way these fans consume music has changed and opened up new ways to approach this audience.