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

Obiegbu, J. and Larsen, G. and Ellis, N. (2019) 'The critical music fan : the role of criticality in collective constructions of brand loyalty.', Arts and the market., 9 (1). pp. 65-80.


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.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Date accepted:05 March 2019
Date deposited:19 March 2019
Date of first online publication:07 May 2019
Date first made open access:07 May 2019

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