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Super Fans May Not Be Super Enough Anymore

Super fans are often seen as the holy grail of the music industry, the loyal customers who spend more than average on music and related products. But are they really enough to sustain the industry in the long term? A new report by MIDiA Research suggests that super fans may not be as super as they seem.

- Based on an article by Mark Mulligan on his blog Music Industry Blog, August 4, 2023

The report, titled “Super Fans: The Future of Music Consumption?”, defines super fans as those who spend more than $10 per month on music, excluding live events. According to the report, super fans account for only 14% of all music consumers, but they contribute 41% of total recorded music revenue. They also spend more on other music-related products, such as merchandise, vinyl, and crowdfunding.

"In the golden era of albums, superfans were easy to spot – they bought multiple records or CDs every month, no questions asked. Their loyalty was quantifiable. But fast forward to today's streaming landscape, and things get murkier.

With platforms like Spotify democratizing access, the financial boundary that distinguished superfans has been blurred. (...) As a kid, I recall that thrill of owning a new record; it was an emblem of fandom. Now, for a flat fee, everyone's playlist is 'super'. " - Amy Lilley, on LinkedIn

However, the report also reveals some challenges and limitations of relying on super fans as the main source of revenue. For one thing, super fans are not a homogeneous group, but rather a diverse and fragmented one, with different preferences and behaviors. For another, super fans are not growing in number or spending, but rather declining or stagnating. This means that the music industry cannot expect to increase its revenue by simply catering to the existing super fans.

The report argues that the music industry needs to rethink its strategy and find ways to expand its customer base beyond the super fans. It suggests that the industry should focus on three key areas: casual fans, emerging markets, and live streaming.

  • Casual fans are those who spend less than $10 per month on music, but still have a strong interest in it. They represent a huge untapped potential for the industry, as they account for 67% of all music consumers, but only 34% of total recorded music revenue.

  • Emerging markets are those regions where music consumption is growing rapidly, such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They offer new opportunities for the industry to reach new audiences and diversify its revenue streams.

  • Live streaming is the new frontier of music consumption, where artists can interact with fans in real time and monetize their performances. Live streaming has exploded during the pandemic, and it is likely to remain a popular and profitable option for both artists and fans.

The report concludes that super fans are still important for the music industry, but they are not enough to ensure its future growth and sustainability. The industry needs to broaden its horizons and embrace new ways of engaging and monetizing music consumers. Super fans may not be super enough, but they are not the only ones who love music.

To read the full report, visit this link.


Summary by The New Bing AI

Follow Amy Lilley, Strategic Marketing, Artist Growth & Professional Development in the UK, on LinkedIn


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