Bands as brands and the glocalisation of music

Posted on by

Image by Spotify

The arrival of a new album by the Rolling Stones, and a new song by the Beatles, has generated huge media coverage.

These groups are more like brands than bands these days, the artistic merit or cultural importance of the output much less important that the commercial imperative of keeping new product available for their aging fanbase to purchase.

I initially grumbled about how the veneration of these legacy acts came at the expense of new artists.

But most people, especially young people, no longer discover music through television, radio or newspapers.

Music discovery now happens via TikTok, YouTube, video games and music streaming platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Deezer.

This is creating some interesting effects around the world.

British and American acts dominated the global music scene for decades, backed by big record labels who controlled the kinds of music people were exposed to.

If you switched on the radio in Mexico City, or wandered into a record shop in Copenhagen, you would find a very similar selection of artists as you might find at home.

In France there were such worries about cultural imperialism that laws were created to safeguard French arts, such as the “exception culturelle” quota policies.

But in recent years this trend has shifted.

After a run of hugely popular global acts year on year, the most recent UK artist to breakthrough internationally was Dua Lipa, back in 2017.

The most streamed music in Poland, Sweden, Germany and Italy is now by local acts, performing in their own language, though often in global genres like hip-hop.

This is an example of glocalisation, a term popularised by the sociologist Roland Robertson in 1995.

“On the supply side, borderless digital streaming has slashed the costs of production and distribution, making local music more profitable to invest in,” observes Will Page, author of ‘Pivot: Eight Principles for Transforming your Business in a Time of Disruption.’

“On the demand side, consumers have shunned linear, ‘one-to-many’ broadcast models like radio and television (in which you get what you’re given) in favour of interactive, on-demand streaming (where you choose what you want).”

This demonstrates that as the world becomes more global, through trade and the rise of mega brands, it is not necessarily becoming more homogeneous.

We might all be using the same platforms – from Spotify and Netflix to Instagram and YouTube – but what we choose to discover can be very different.

If you are interesting in music genres take a look at this brilliant interactive feature at The Pudding.

This entry was posted in Brand Strategy, Brand Trends, Digital and tagged on by .

We'd love to work with you

Get in touch & let’s chat through your project

    Awards & accreditations

    • The Drum Recommended
    • Pride Awards
    • The Bibas Winner
    • Prolific North Creative Awards
    • Boost Business Lancashire
    • Prolific North Marketing Awards
    • Awwwards Nominee 2016
    • Digital Lancashire Founding Member
    • Northern Digital Awards Winner 2023
    • Red Rose Winner