Music is incredibly important in the lives of Millennials. According to the Vevo Music Fan Report, 58% of Millennials rank themselves an avid music fan, and a full quarter score themselves as a Superfan (a “10” on a scale of 1-10). Crimson Hexagon tells us that music is the single largest category of social activity, four times more active than TV chatter. And Nielsen says that the online music audience is three times the size of sports.

But music is a difficult category for brands. For one thing, it is “art” and plays an important emotional role in consumers’ lives, so inauthentic activations can backfire. It is also a rich, complex and multi-faceted field, so brands must be thoughtful about where they can effectively play. Surprisingly, many brands that have activated in music in the past have focused on the sizzle factor of celebrity endorsements and high profile sponsorships, rather than applying the same type of rigorous insight-driven planning they leverage in other media categories.

 

Vevo is working to help our brand partners activate more effectively by shedding light on the (very large, highly-engaged) audience who that loves music. Within the Vevo Music Fan Report, we executed a segmentation study through which we identified four distinct music fan types -- or “tribes,” as we like to call them.  

Have a look, and then take our Tribe quiz to find out what kind of music fan you are!

Talent Scouts

Motto: “Be The Voice, Not The Echo"
Who they are:  Skew male 25-34; affluent 
Role of music in their lives: Music is social currency. They’re all about the latest hot tracks, impressing friends with the newest music and setting the mood with perfectly curated playlists. 
How they listen: They want to spread the word about the newest talent and brands to know. They’re willing to pay more for quality tech and music experiences and seek out  new music content via radio apps, music sites and blogs. 
What they like: Whatever is trendy -- currently EDM, some pop and R&B, and some alternative. No favorite artist or genre. Always on the hunt for new music.
The feels:  Relaxed, optimistic, adventurous, materialistic, extravagant
How to connect with them: Talent Scouts are active in the music scene, online and offline.  They like to impress others, so inside info or other perks are their currency.  Engage them in influencer programs to spread the word. 

Front Row Fans

Motto: “You Are What You Listen To” 
Who they are:  Skew female 18-24; students; suburban
Role of music in their lives: Music is emotional connection.  It is the soundtrack of their lives, and they see it as a reflection of who they are. To them, music isn’t about impressing anyone, but instead is deeply personal -- used for expression, influencing their mood and connecting with others. 
How they listen:  Music lets them have fun and live in the moment. They are willing to view ads to view music videos for free and aren’t afraid to splurge for concerts. 
What they like:  Skew to rock, pop, alternative and especially country; but less focused on a specific genre and more on whatever music or artists they feel connected to. 
The feels: Romantics, enjoys life, plugged in, environmentally-friendly, thrifty
How to connect with them: Front Row Fans are cultural influencers. Win them with better ways to share experiences and connect, and their friends will follow. Meet & Greets are the ultimate for them!

Crowdsurfers

Motto: “Entertain Me” 
Who they are:  Skew ages 25-34; parents; urban
Role of music in their lives:  Music is entertainment.  It is part of their broader interest in pop culture and fuel for their water cooler conversations.  It is also a way to connect and celebrate with family and friends.
How they listen: They listen while cooking, eating, watching TV, online and out shopping. They subscribe to a full suite of music apps. 
What they like:  Whatever is popular -- currently indie pop, hip-hop/rap, EDM. 
The feels: Generous, very stressed, headstrong, cheerful, social 
How to connect with them: Crowdsurfers look for recommendations on what to listen to and watch next. They’re entertainment and pop culture lovers, so brands can appeal to them with tools and content that makes them feel “in the know.” Celebrity endorsements will also get their attention.

Soloists

Motto: “Tune In To Tune Out"
Who they are: Skew 18-24; single; independent 
Role of music in their lives:  Music is an intellectual experience. They use music to relax and escape the real world.
How they listen: Soloists like to understand artists as people, and they seek out non-mainstream channels for more access and behind-the scenes information. They dive into lyrics and analyze their meaning.
What they like:  Focused on individual genres and artists who they most care about. They go deep.
The feels: More introverted, are aspiring and always learning, more traditional. 
How to connect with them: Soloists are focused, passionate and confident fans. They crave behind-the-scenes footage and limited edition merchandise. Give them more access to the artists they’re invested in. They are tough to win over, but if you do, they are very loyal.

Music is an enormous category and too big for any one brand to “own.”  And because music means something different to different types of fans, it is crucial that brands activate in a manner which will resonate with their target audience.  Know your tribe!

Want to find out what music fan tribe you belong to? Take our What Kind of Music SuperFan Are You? Quiz here. And if you’re attending Advertising Week, learn about these tribes at our Ad Week panel Music Fandom: Why Fan Tribes are Vital to Your Music Marketing Strategy at the Hard Rock Café Thursday, October 1 at 2pm. (You must have an Ad Week badge to enter.)

Sources: U.S. Census Population Estimates; Nielsen’s Music 360 Report; Fortune, Berglass and Associates, Women’s Wear Daily; Vevo Research.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage/MyersBizNet management or associated bloggers.