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The New Applause: The Transformation of Concerts, from the Hand of Gen Z

4 min read
Profile picture for user Sofía Gamiz

Written by
Sofía Gamiz
Brand Strategist

concierto still image

In 2023, the concert experience goes beyond its fleeting nature, because it has the potential to take on a second life as digital content. The growing FOMO of "sold-out" shows and the desire to "go viral" among new generations have redefined the role of the audience, which now co-creates an experience through documenting and sharing experiences to their peers in micro-moments.

Let's look at, for example, what happens both before and after the concert: memes flood the internet when line-ups are announced, when pre-sales sell out in seconds, or when inflated ticket prices are published. From that initial moment, which usually happens months before the show, the audience already begins to live the concert experience. In other words, these have gone from being ephemeral experiences to transcendental events with high cultural capital.

A phenomenon driven by Gen Z.

Gen Z was forced to curb key moments of socialization during the pandemic (graduations, 18th birthday parties, first concerts) and to experience them from home. When pandemic restrictions eased, they found creative ways avoid being left out of the action, transforming mass events into aspirational content for their social networks. In addition, innovation in cell phone cameras and increasingly high production standards of artists such as Rosalia, C.Tangana and Taylor Swift have also had a significant impact.

In this scenario, many specialists noticed that Gen Z is buying tickets for the first time or simply eager to participate in a community experience after experiencing prolonged confinement. Even months after the return of massive live events, this cultural phenomenon remains.

Behind it all, there is a quest on the part of the audience to preserve a special moment in time through the creation of content. A kind of digital "scrapbook" where fragments of an experience are collected, from the conquest of acquiring the ticket to the post-show. The best part? The compilation of micro-moments that can be complemented with those of others, resulting in a "multi-cam" show that includes the points of view of several people.

For brands, understanding these moments and translating them into strategic content can be a valuable opportunity to engage with audiences on a deeper, more authentic level. But what are these micro-moments, and how can we leverage them?

Collective anticipation: where it all begins.

For those who closely followed the announcement of Taylor Swift's four dates in Mexico, this point is easy to visualize. While the public won't be coming to the Foro Sol until late August of this year, the odyssey began in early June, when Ticketmaster implemented a verification system to distinguish "true fans" from scalpers and grant them a place in the pre-sale. On the day of the general sale, those who had already obtained tickets flooded social networks with tips and advice for others: how to enter the virtual line, which bank cards work best, what packages are available and much more. They also recorded their own reactions to getting privileged seats.

Expressive preparation: fans activate their creativity.

This is the time when fans draw on other passions to complement the concert-going experience, such as fashion and beauty, to create content around their outfits, makeup, hairstyles, clothing, DIY tutorials, and so on. Artists such as Harry Styles, Bad Bunny and Peso Pluma are characterized by differentiated visual languages that their fans seek to recreate through their style.

The chronicle of a thousand eyes: the day of the concert.

When it's time to enjoy the concert, one thing is certain: the same event will be experienced on social networks from different angles. It is enough to explore the Instagram feed or the For You Page of TikTok to find the experience of the person who got a place in the front row, the one who made a Dr. Simi doll for the artist and threw it to him, and even the one who went on stage to dance with Bad Bunny. As a result, each artist begins to understand the importance of creating unexpected and unrepeatable moments each performance, which are capitalized through digital content. Some examples of this include surprise guests, covers of local songs (Alicia Keys did a fusion between This Girl is on Fire and Ella Baila Sola by Peso Pluma), interactions with the audience and, of course, seeing the reactions of others.

Immediate recap: the highlights of the night.

After the event, millions of photos and videos are shared on social networks to tell part of a story that will be completed with the experience of the rest. In the case of tours, such as Rosalia's, fans put together all the outfits the singer wore during the concerts to create a music video. Some join the iconic Peso Pluma dance and K-pop fans edit the best fancams featuring their favorite members.

Art: María Lumbreras Animation: Karla Cortés

In short, today's audience is not only looking to experience the present moment at an event, but also wants to capture and share every moment through the creation of digital content. This practice has become a powerful form of promotion, and it's not just limited to concerts. For example, in collaboration with KFC, we created The Battle of the Chickens, encouraging the audience to create their own content during the launch of the new KFC Chicken Sandwich. The campaign, which won the Best in Show award from IAB Mixx Mexico, featured a culturally credible creator, rapper Aczino, who inspired his fans.

People shared their best rhymes on social media, and these contributions were widely viewed, recognized and rewarded with a significant discount. The content generated was instrumental in creating the campaign's 2.0 Kentucky Special Stage, opening up the possibility of hosting a live show by Aczino and Eden Muñoz at the KFC branch with the highest participation. It goes to show that just as an event can be the driver of new trends, a trend can lead to a massive event.

No matter what the source of inspiration, it is important for brands to incentivize content creation. In the case of concerts, they can consider ideas such as curating playlists with content creators, connecting with adjacent points of interest such as fashion and beauty, leveraging partnerships with music festivals and even amplifying the audience experience by sharing their point of view on brand channels. No matter which strategy they opt for, one thing is certain: the evolution of concert content has transformed the experience into something much more lasting and meaningful, and brands have a unique opportunity to take advantage of it.


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The website has been translated to English with the help of Humans and AI