Vevo takes a deep dive into music fan behavior

The report separates the millennial music fan into four distinct "tribes" to give brands better insight into the diversity within the demographic.
September 29, 2015

It’s safe to say, Vevo doesn’t have a problem attracting a crowd. The music video and entertainment platform, which recently released its 2015 Music Fan Report based on a survey of its U.S. audience, regularly attracts a whopping 10 billion monthly views to its YouTube network (a number that doubles that of its nearest competitors, Fullscreen and BroadbandTV, according to the latest SocialBlade rankings).

Of those viewers, most are in that magical demographic of 18 to 34 years old — a generation of economic and taste influencers so powerful that few digital brands and media buyers the world over would ever dare ignore them. It’s a bond the company isn’t shy to acknowledge. As Andrea Zapata, Vevo’s VP of research and analytics, coolly noted in an interview with StreamDaily, “Millennials are our core audience.”

Zapata, in fact, had a lot more to share about the depth of that connection, and what it means to both the platform and its brand partners, after she and her team wrapped up a month-long deep dive into the consumer behavior of America’s young music fans. The resulting fan report — Vevo’s first-ever effort to understand its fans on this scale — paints a more complex picture of the millennial demographic and the diversity within that group.

“Different fans express their passion for music in vastly different ways. For this reason, we need to understand the unique personalities and behaviors that define the latest generation of music fans, both in the direct and indirect ways they interact, consume, love and share these experiences,” said Erik Huggers, Vevo CEO in the report’s forward.

Zapata promised more studies like it to come, including those examining audience behavior in markets outside the U.S. The resulting data is intended to provide a deeper understanding of this influential audience, including viewer preferences, as well as the intricacies and nuances of the type of content that is most relevant to them.

Key to the report is a breakdown of the millennial music  fan into four distinct “tribes”:

  •  Talent Scouts – A group of about 13 million fans that considers itself the tastemakers of modern music. This group skews towards males between 25 to 34 and sees music as social currency focusing on first-mover access and sharing of opinions.  They’re willing to pay more for premium experiences and want the latest technology to enjoy them. Their music interests are diverse spanning electronic, pop, R&B and alternative.
  • Front Row Fans – This describes an estimated 10 million fans who see music as a reflection of pop culture and a means to share and engage within these communities of influence, both directly and through social media channels.  They skew towards suburban female students between ages 18 to 24 and more heavily skew to rock, pop and country genres.
  • Crowdsurfers – A group of about 20 million fans who are experiencing music throughout the day across multiple platforms.  This audience skews towards young urban families between the ages of 25 to 34 that skew towards genres such as Latin, hip-hop, dance and indie pop.  Music is a constant presence in their life both through the work day and and when they come home and engage with family.  They stay up on entertainment news and look for recommendations to influence their discovery process.
  • Soloists – A group of 12 million fans that tend to be comprised of single, independent 18 to 24 year olds who make a deep and personal connection to the music they love.  Their experiences tend to be more solitary in nature where they invest all-in on an artist and look for the deeper meaning behind the music they create. They are less influenced by peer groups and pop culture and have a voracious appetite to go behind the music for custom content and unique experiences on the artists they love.

The report also found that over half (58%) of millennials consider themselves to be “avid” music fans and, unlike generations past, they are difficult to define by genre preference.

“No one had a favorite artist or a favorite brand so putting them in a box was really impossible,” said Zapata.

The findings will help drive Vevo’s internal audience-building efforts. But they are, undoubtedly, also a useful tool for the company to use in a highly competitive digital advertising space, where brands are eager for insight that will allow them to craft better ad-buy strategies and messages to maximum effect.

Vevo, said Zapata, “is already a compelling video environment” driven by the kind of evangelistic loyalty that typically marks sports fandom worldwide. Since launching in 2009, the platform has build a relationship with more than 900 global brands (according to its own data). It also has a library of 150,000 high-def music videos, original programming and live concert performances though its on-demand service,, desktop, apps for mobile/tablets, as well as connected TVs, and on Vevo TV, a broadcast-style linear music channel.

That advertising reach is anticipated to grow as Vevo learns more about its users and how brands can most effectively connect to them.

“We are learning so much from this research that allows our sales team to really package and engage brands in a way that is not just your typical way of approaching the video space,” said Zapata.

The survey was completed in Q1-Q3 2015 and included an online survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents, age 13 to 54 years, personal interviews and task-based activities.

Photo: Artists Taylor Swift (left), Ariana Grande (right), from




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