New research has revealed that consumers want brands to be actively involved in the development of new and emerging musicians.

More than a third (39%) of people expect brands and companies to use the music of emerging artists in their social media posts – and a similar number (34%) expect brands to use the music of emerging artists in their marketing and adverts.

In addition, 33% expect brands and companies to actively sponsor emerging music artists, while 28% would like brands to provide opportunities to meet and engage with artists and musicians.

The Plugged into Music study of 1,600 music fans across five European markets was commissioned by global Representation and Marketing agency Wasserman, which represents and develops partnership and commercial opportunities for a world-class roster of artists in pop, rock, electronic and hip hop.

The research also highlighted how social media has become inextricably intertwined with music, with 36% of people using social platforms to engage with artists and songs. In addition:

One in three use social media to share music they like with friends and family.

The most popular social media platforms for music discovery is TikTok (35%) followed by Instagram (27%). Meanwhile, 14% use Facebook, 7% Whatsapp, 6% Twitter and 4% use Snapchat.

TikTok is the most used social media platform for music discovery among Gen Z (45% of those aged 18-24).

Anna Afolabi Integrated Strategist at Wasserman comments: “People have shifted from accepting that brands and properties are involved with their passions, to expecting them to show active and meaningful support for the artists and creators drive them. They rightly see brands as power players when it comes to boosting new and emerging artists.

Between social media, streaming and the events of recent years, the ways fans discover and engage with music and artists has evolved. Social is now the channel of choice to engage, whether from new artists or the ones they know and love. Music, marketing and social media have become a vast, interconnected ecosystem.”

The research further revealed that live experiences are still at the heart of music fandom – even more so in the post-pandemic world. Almost all music fans (93%) want to see artists perform live, and 91% would pay to attend a live music event.

In addition, post-COVID behaviours show live experiences are an essential part of music fandom, but the way people engage with them has expanded: nearly half (43%) of people watch more pre-recorded visual live music content since the pandemic.

Music fans also want brands to provide music related experiences, or integrate artists and musicians into their marketing and comms, as a quarter (27%) expect brands and companies to support events and gigs.

Tim Pearson, VP of Brand Partnerships & Corporate Events in Wasserman’s Music department comments: “Live music was unreachable for two years, so it’s no surprise that people desperately wanted to get back to gigs and festivals featuring their favourite acts and getting the chance to see new artists play live for the very first time. This is yet another area where brands and artists can come together to create unparalleled experiences for fans.”

Wasserman’s Music division roster includes globally represented artists Billie Eilish, Cat Burns, Disclosure, Drake, FLO, Frank Ocean, Fred again.., Grace Jones, Imagine Dragons, Kaytranada, Kacey Musgraves, Kendrick Lamar, Kenny Chesney, Liam Gallagher, Louis Tomlinson, Normani, Pharrell, RAYE, Sia, Skrillex, SZA, The XX, Turnstile, Wet Leg, Charlie Puth, Childish Gambino, FERG, Joji, Melanie C, $UICIDEBOY$ and Zedd, among many others.

The agency also handles international representation outside North America for artists including Bon Iver, FKA twigs, Honey Dijon, Kelis, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Payne, Mika, Mark Ronson, My Chemical Romance, Nia Archives, PinkPantheress, Rag'n'Bone Man, Rita Ora, Robyn, Sean Paul, Shawn Mendes, Take That, Eliza Rose and X Ambassadors.

In April 2022, Wasserman’s Music division acquired Paradigm Music UK’s live music representation business, growing the agency's global reach as it continues to build and develop its roster of world-renowned artists. As part of the deal, U.K. partners Dave Hallybone, Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder and James Whitting have joined the Wasserman Music division’s Managing Executive team.

The “Plugged into Music Fandom” study, commissioned by Wasserman with support from Wasserman Music, was developed by Anna Afolabi (Strategist), Freddie Mastin (Associate Manager, Strategy & Insights), Jade Garrow Newport (Senior Director, Strategy) and Akshay Madhavan (Associate Director, Strategy & Insights).