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The Shuffle Age: Global Music Fans Unplugged

Havas Sports & Entertainment’s second edition of its FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS study reveals that:

·         56% of people listen to at least 10 musical genres.

·         The relationship between fans and their music passion can be categorized into eight Logics of Engagement.

·         The meaning and place of music for fans varies widely by country and age group.

·         Brands need to understand the motivations and behaviors of music fans in order to target them effectively.

Music is the most universal of passions and an effective channel for brands looking to connect with target audiences through what they love. FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS, Havas Sports & Entertainment’s research into sports and entertainment fanship, in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab and Havas Media’s “18” innovation hubs, takes an in-depth look at people’s passion for music: what they listen to, how, where, and why, as well as their relationship to brands in this space. Global in scope, the research surveyed 18,000 people across 17 countries.

The “Shuffle Age”

The results of FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS reveal a growing trend in music that owes its origins to the digital revolution. Due to the boom in the number of ways one can listen to music thanks to streaming and online downloading, and therefore expanded access to music overall, the variety of genres that people listen to has exploded. This has given birth to a new age of passionate listeners who consume many styles of music: The “Shuffle Age”.

These music fans represent a major part of the population: 56% of people listen to at least 10 music genres. These fans are eager to discover new music and new musical experiences, which brands can play a role in facilitating.

The why and how of music fanship

In order for brands to engage multi-genre listeners, they need to understand why people listen to music and what it brings them. FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS expands on Havas SE’s unique approach to fanship, as this research analyzes fans through their behaviors, attitudes and perceptions called the Logics of Engagement, as opposed to other fan studies that look at fans through levels or hierarchies (superfan, casual fan, etc).

The study applies eight Logics of Engagement to music fans:

1. The Logic of Entertainment – enjoyment of the overall experience & atmosphere

For example, fans who enjoy the spectacle of a concert as much as the music

2. The Logic of Immersion – will to lose oneself in the emotion of the music

For example, fans who think of nothing but the music they are listening to

3. The Logic of Social Connection – desire to create or enhance relationships with other fans

For example, fans who feel connected to a community through the music they love

4. The Logic of Identification – strongly associating music with one’s personal background

For example, fans who enjoys music that connects them to their cultural origins or a certain time and place in their lives.

5. The Logic of Advocacy – debating and promoting one’s opinions about musical taste and other music-related issues

For example, fans who defend their opinions about music

6. The Logic of Play – virtual or real life participation in activities related to music

For example, fans who grew up playing music or singing, and may still do so.

7. The Logic of Mastery – interest in learning and understanding the details behind music

For example, fans interested in the science/theory behind music (how vocal cords work…).

8. The Logic of Exploration – desire to discover new songs, artists, genres, venues etc

For example, fans who listen to new artists at a music festival.

Differences between countries and age groups

Music fans engage in their passion differently country by country. For example, the festive culture of Brazilians make them the fans that engage most strongly through the logic of Social Connection (62%), whereas 9 out of 10 Chinese fans engage through the logic of Play.

Furthermore, age matters. Young fans aged 13-17 engage the most strongly through Immersion when they listen to music (64%).  A majority of fans that are 35 and older engage through the Logic of Exploration (59%). This logic distinguishes the second edition of FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS from the first, as it is a logic that stands out in music.  The appetite for the new has been growing, as confirmed by the Shuffle Age and their multi-genre listening habits. 

Insights for brands

The most engaged music fans live out their passion through five main logics: Immersion, Mastery, Advocacy, Play, and Exploration. These active fans are aware of brand sponsorships and are more likely than the average person to buy the products and services of sponsors, and even to recommend brands that are involved in their passion. A majority (55%) agree with brand music partnerships, such as the sponsorship of festivals or artist endorsements.

Looking beyond the most avid music fans, each logic of engagement represents a way to connect, and an opportunity to reach music fans. Brands should look to become the catalysts of engagement for one or several logics at a time by nurturing the right conditions.

A brand could facilitate Social Connection and Exploration at the same time by developing an online music platform, or partnering with one, to deliver new music content. The possibilities are multiplied through this new approach that opens doors to sponsor brands, or those looking to communicate through music.

Lucien Boyer, President & Global CEO, Havas Sports & Entertainment, commented:

“Music is an extremely effective marketing tool for brands looking to connect with people, as long as you can understand this passion and what drives it.  Finding logic behind something that many feel cannot be explained is exactly what this research is about.  We call this the Logics of Engagement, breaking music fanship down into behaviors, attitudes and perceptions in a way that can be understood and leveraged by brands to connect with their target audiences through valuable content and experiences.

In order to capture the digitally native "Shuffle Age" fan that engages through the "Logic of Exploration", brands can help them discover new artists across music genres, thus creating unique meaningful moments they would like to share. “

Olivier Robert-Murphy, Global Head of New Business, Universal Music Group, added:

“We announced our global partnership with Havas in January, giving us access to new tools, data and insight into consumers and their passion for music and artists.  We are really excited to use the findings of this study to identify ways for brands to better connect with our artists and their fans.” 

Erin Reilly, Managing Director + Research Fellow, USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, said:

“Fans explore music for many reasons, whether it’s driven by friends, a personal connection to a certain place, or even a relationship to a song that sets your mood.  This research will help brands gain insight into what motivates fans in order to create a more meaningful relationship; one where fans are deeply invested.”

About the research

The FANS.PASSIONS.BRANDS global survey was conducted in May 2015 across 17 markets – France, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the USA (including a specific focus on the Hispanic community), Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China and Belgium. The research method involved online questionnaires given to a total of 18,000 people, aged 13+, carried out by YouGov.

This wave focusing on music is the second of a set of yearly deep dives into one specific passion, which follows the 2014 edition on international football.

Further findings will be released at the end of 2015.

Discover more findings in our music fans infographic:



Havas SE Global: Julia Feldman

Global Marcomms Manager


T: +33(0) 6 83 26 83 74

About Havas Sports & Entertainment

Havas Sports & Entertainment (Havas SE) is the global brand engagement network of HAVAS.

Part of HAVAS MEDIA GROUP, our 35 offices in 24 markets include Havas Sports & Entertainment, ignition and Cake agencies.

Our ambition is to be the best at creating meaningful connections between brands and people via their passions using creativity, media and innovation to deliver experiences, content and social engagement.

Together we are 500+ colleagues with a diverse set of skills and backgrounds, delivering the best in strategy, research, brand communication, activation and social and live experiences globally. This enables us to provide our clients with customized solutions based on a deep understanding of what binds people together into communities: shared passions.

Our deep knowledge of fans also derives from our global study, FANS.PASSION.BRANDS, the largest piece of research ever conducted that aims to understand fans’ engagement with their passions, based on what we term “the Logics of Engagement”.

Havas Sports & Entertainment agencies strategically assess how brands can create emotional relationships with fans and fan communities based around their passion for sport and entertainment through content, SoMe, PR, and social experiences.

ignition is the industry leader in experiential marketing, delivering fully integrated experiences that drive positive actions and attitudes between people and brands.

Cake is an ideas agency that helps brands become part of peoples' lives through content, creative campaigns, PR, social media and experiences.

Our network now benefits from the expertise of five strategic partners: Music Dealers, a global music licensing agency and Independent Artist Community; London-based Seven46, specializing in editorial communications and bid campaigns; Benza, our brand experience partner in Brazil; eventures, an integrated communications agency in Romania and Seaters, an online platform to fill empty seats at sports and music events.

International clients include: adidas, Atos, Barclays, BMW, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Delta Air Lines, EDF, ESPN, Heathrow Express, Hyundai, Kia, LVMH, Mars, Nike, Orange, Procter & Gamble, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Puig, Reebok, Reckitt Benckiser, Santander, the United Nations Foundation, Victoria’s Secret, QTA, and Yahoo! and sports organizations such as Roland Garros, the Argentinean Tennis Association, the English Premier League, FIFA, the French Golf Federation, the International Rugby Board, the International Cricket Council, the Italian Rugby Federation, MLB, the NBA and the NFL. 

Further information can be found at www.havas-se.com and www.ignition-inc.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @Havas_SE

About USC – Annenberg Innovation Lab


The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business, USC's diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.

The USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, located at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is a “Think & Do” tank that creates prototypes, publications and participatory learning experiences to explore emerging challenges and opportunities in media and culture. The Innovation Lab combines leading domain experts from across USC’s campus and thought leaders from our sponsors, some of the world’s most innovative global companies and public sector entities.

The Annenberg Innovation Lab current research strategy is The Edison Project, an ambitious research and education initiative that predicts the next wave of economic growth will come from imagination and creativity more than from technology itself.  The Edison Project will envision nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry within the context of Digital USC, a $1 billion, 10-year university-wide initiative for gathering interpreting and applying digital data on a massive scale.  Additionally, The Edison Project will include workshops and executive education programs stemming from the Lab’s Think & Do process. 

Through a mix of Edison Project research and prototypes, the Lab and its strategic partners are both crafting a new vision for the next 3-5 years of the Media and Entertainment ecosystem and working to accelerate its arrival. To date, this work has included multiple “new screen” prototypes including Oculus Rift, Google Glass, 3d printers and the Internet of Things; the Leveraging Engagement framework for understanding, measuring, and motivating fan engagement using a mix of big data and cognitive computing; assembling a new collection of tools and best practices for how new creators and makers will not only survive but flourish; and an ongoing engagement with the city of Los Angeles reimagining LA as both a smart city and the thriving heart of this new Imagination Economy. 

In its short history, the Lab has attracted corporate support from around the world, including BET Networks, Cisco Systems, DirecTV, Dreamworks Animation, EPB, Fox Broadcasting, Havas Media, IBM, Intel, The Los Angeles Times, Mattel, Orange, Paramount Pictures, Petrobras, Spark 44, Verizon, Viacom and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. We have also received funding from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Digital Media Learning Research Hub supported by the MacArthur Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work on projects at the intersection of social and technological spheres.

About 18

18 is a specialist network of collaborative institutions and research facilities, piloted by Havas. Connected to local ecosystems in Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and Seoul, it provides the Havas Group and its clients with an innovative approach and solutions that stem from the collision of media, content, technology and data sciences. It relies on the power of academic research partnerships, notably the three-year partnership with USC Annenberg Innovation Lab.