Research has shown that both the response to music as well as the response to the artist are fundamental drivers of establishing artist-audience engagement (Stewart, S.M., 2013; 2018). Therefore, in our research we focus on both these aspects. We investigate the response of (potential) fans to the music of a particular artist and the response to the artist itself using both quantitative as well as qualitative research techniques. We do this for artists in each phase of the Artist Life Cycle. Specifically, our focus is on Laddering and Content Analysis.


Laddering is a research technique which makes it possible to unravel the deeper underlying motivations of a specific audience. Using an online questionnaire format, we ask questions like ‘Why do you like artist X?’ By continuously asking the why question after each answer is given, the answers become deeper and motivational structures are revealed. In this way laddering uncovers the underlying emotional needs, values and other types of deep-seated motivations (psychographic data) of a specific audience. We enrich each laddering study with:

· questions about demographic (e.g. life stage, gender, place of residence) and behavioural information (e.g.                 listening situations, listening frequencies, media behaviour);

· scientific knowledge regarding the relation between musical preferences and characteristics of consumers.

Content Analysis

In addition to a laddering study, we can provide more in-depth information from a specific fanbase using content analysis. When we perform a content analysis for a specific artist, we browse through discussion forums, social media, YouTube comments and other relevant sites to gain insight into fan base perceptions, opinions and behaviours. We then identify commonly talked about topics and order quotes systematically. Topic lists are then further specified. Please do not hesistate to contact us regarding the possibilities of content analysis.

By interpreting audience insights in the light of the challenges faced in each of the different lifecycle stages, we can provide goal-oriented insights for A&R and marketing/communication departments.


Stewart, S. M. (2013) Artist-fan engagement model: Implications for music consumption and the music industry. International Journal of Music Business Research.

Stewart, S. M. (2018) The Use of the Artist-Fan Engagement Model As a Strategy Tool. International Journal of Music Business Research.