Abstract: The Internet has changed how music fans come together and how the music industry connects to and communicates with fans. To understand the incentives for becoming a fan and why fans take part in an artist brand, this article considers the diversity in a particular fan community, including its hierarchy and roles. Fans have different levels of engagement, knowledge, and status, both inside and outside a fan community. To extend the existing research on fan hierarchies into the digital promotional culture, this study focuses on the case of the Swedish music artist Robyn and her Facebook fan community Konichiwa Bitches. To gain insights into a complex online research arena, we use a qualitative and digital ethnographic approach in both online and offline contexts. The article provides an understanding and conceptualization of fan hierarchies, focusing on the top of the hierarchy, superfans and executive fans, and on their incentives for engagement. These high-level fans function as a key connecting point between the brand management and the fans, thus taking fandom a step further and enhancing the brand.
Keywords: fandom; fan community; fan hierarchy; engagement; music industry; superfan; value co-creation