Industry: Why 'super fans' are the key to long-term success

The necessary acknowledgements we need to make in order to keep music’s growth buoyant.

PwC’s 17th annual Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook predicted last week that Australians’ spend on music will grow to $1.7 billion in four years. It will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% a year. Digital music spend will leap from $589 million in 2017 to $959 million in 2022. The spend on live music, including concert tickets and merchandise, is estimated to expand from $677 million to $775 million. Yet music’s place is not that impressive. The $1.7 billion figure is only 6.4% of the total $28 billion combined spend on media and entertainment. Streaming videos on demand, in comparison, will jump 30% a year. By 2022, podcast listenership will go from 3.5 million to 8.9 million. Retailers and marketers warn that the Australian music industry needs to do more to strengthen itself.

It’s a simple solution: identify the SuperFans – the ones who spend a huge amount of money on CDs and vinyl, as well as in concerts and festivals – and treat them as special. While streaming represented 54% of the Australian music industry’s revenue to the tune of $213 million, there’s still a percentage who have rejected streaming, with CDs and vinyl still a healthy 25% of the business. Sales from vinyl albums increased for the seventh consecutive year, up by 19% in 2017 and worth $18 million. CD albums sold to the value of $74.6 million. The UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association defines the SuperFan as one who each spend $711 or more a year on either format. SuperFans make up 72% of vinyl buyers. CD SuperFans still buy a CD a week. In other words, retailers say, ignore the SuperFans at your peril. Look at your customers as a mixed digital/physical and provide them the right choices.

For festivals and venues, SuperFans travel long distance to attend regardless of who’s on the bill, and enthusiastically drag their friends and families along as well. Therefore, they should be reached out to with special and preferential treatment. Some festivals and venues already do this, of course, but marketers say more should be doing things like exclusive offers and allowing them to apply to sit together as a group, asking for their feedback on making patron experience better or providing extra parking and eating information in the area before the show. Other tactics could be to identify them through social media and arrange for personalised greeting by a staffer, provide VIP areas with their own service and DJs, retweet their messages, give them discount codes for future events, or post or email photos and videos from the show with them.

All this may seem like extra work, money and resources. But as social media marketers say, it’s about transforming SuperFans to True Believers. It’s also about preventing them from turning into SuperEnemies because of one bad experience. Let’s face it, after supporting your events passionately for years, they have every right to withdraw it.