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The critical music fan: the role of criticality in collective constructions of brand loyalty

Chinedu James Obiegbu (Durham University, Durham, UK)
Gretchen Larsen (Business School, Durham University, Durham, UK)
Nick Ellis (Durham University, Durham, UK)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 4 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 June 2019

4437

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the act of expressing criticism against a music brand fits with the identity and practices associated with being a loyal fan of that brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on insights from theories of brand loyalty and fandom, this interpretive inquiry makes use of data from an online forum dedicated to the band, U2, and interviews with forum members. A combination of online ethnography and discourse analysis is employed.

Findings

The findings reveal how interpretations of the act of expressing criticism within a space that ostensibly functions as a place to celebrate all things U2 related, shape the construction of loyalty to the b(r)and in diverse ways. The apparent in-group tensions between being loyal and being critical pose a challenge to the taken for granted nature of brand loyalty and fandom, highlighting the nuanced ways with which they manifest.

Originality/value

By examining the role of criticality within otherwise loyal spaces, the authors contribute to brand loyalty theory by revealing the malleability of the concept, as meaning is constantly being reshaped depending on individual realities.

Keywords

Citation

Obiegbu, C.J., Larsen, G. and Ellis, N. (2019), "The critical music fan: the role of criticality in collective constructions of brand loyalty", Arts and the Market, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 65-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-01-2019-0006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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