The pace at which technology advances beats many marketers’ responses; in the music industry, technological advancements have driven the changes in music consumption and music marketing, which has created a need for a different marketing approach. Specifically, the digitalization of music has changed the way it is consumed—consumers now have access to digital music libraries with millions of songs directly on their phones, making streaming the driver of today’s music consumption—and social media has played an important role in the need for changes in music marketing. Additionally, the consumers behind this shift from buying physical albums to streaming music are millennials and Gen Z. For this reason, both groups were focused on in this research.
For decades, the music industry followed a structured business model that relied on the sale of albums in order for musicians and record labels to see revenues. Due to the rise of streaming services and changes in consumer behavior, this is no longer the case. Aldo Cundari argues that because of these changes, we are in the Customer Era of marketing, where marketers must use customer-centricity in order to drive consumers to want to engage with brands, as we now face informed and empowered consumers. Taking this theory and Vargo and Lusch’s argument that marketing is now service-centered—where consumers should be a part of the production process through co-creation of value, relationships, and customization of offerings—requires an analysis of the drivers of digital streaming and approaching them through a value-adding approach, finding the right channel of distribution, determining potential brand advocates, and assessing their preferences and behavior.
This paper first examines the history of music consumption, assesses today’s consumption, the shift from buying to streaming, and uncovers the indirect relationship between music and social media. I find that millennials and Generation Z are the drivers behind streaming, so primary research via a questionnaire is conducted to further evaluate their preferences and what they value in order to recommend customer-centric marketing strategies for music marketing. It was found that today’s consumer is a heavy social media user, integrates his/her social media and music consumption, and that the best channel of distribution is Instagram. To allow the consumer to co-create value, I found that the use of brand advocates and organic influencer marketing (through playlists and sponsored posts) is needed in the dynamic of today’s music industry.