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The Rock Concert Experience: The Self-Authentication Process and Wellbeing

The purpose of this research was to understand consumers’ experiences at rock concerts. Growth in the live concert industry over the past 20 years suggests that these experiences provide value that consumers cannot attain through other means. Music fans can stream rock music or watch concerts without cost, while concert tickets are often over $100 each. Marketers need to understand more about the value derived from the live rock concert experience. The researcher gathered data over a period of six months in 2013, utilising three data collection methods: 1) in-depth interviews with eight participants; 2) observation of nine rock concerts; and 3) analysis of responses to concert reviews on news website Stuff.co.nz. Constructivist Grounded Theory guided the research process: theoretical sampling, grounded theory coding, constant comparison, and memo-ing. Findings indicate that consumers derive enhanced wellbeing from attending rock concerts. Consumers want to repeat concert experiences to maintain or further enhance their wellbeing. This could explain why the live music industry is growing rapidly. Findings also indicate authenticity is an important value-providing process to rock concert consumers. Value occurs through two main processes: the co-created experience and the self-authentication process. The band, fans, and the venue co-create the rock concert experience, enabling hedonia and short-term happiness. Fans experience a rock concert as something extraordinary. The extraordinary experience is composed of a utopian atmosphere and a state of transcendence. Fans live out their fantasies of seeing their favourite bands perform, escape from everyday life, and have cathartic experiences. Fans also experience the rock concert as community. Through playing (e.g., dancing, drinking, singing, being in the mosh pit) with like-minded others, fans feel like they belong to a community. Secondly, via the self-authentication process, eudaimonia contributes to wellbeing through lasting meaning. By authenticating the band through its performance and the audience’s communal participation, fans authenticate the concert experience. Through authenticating the experience, and through their own activities in it, fans are able to self-authenticate. Consequently, rock concert experiences are important for the long-term wellbeing of avid rock music fans because they can validate their own identities as rock music fans. In summary, by responding to calls for research into rock concert consumption, this thesis ties together previously fragmented knowledge. The findings and resultant framework explain how hedonic happiness, eudaimonic meaning, extraordinary experiences, and a self-authentication process work together to create short-term and long-term wellbeing for avid rock music consumers. Moreover, the findings and framework suggest how authenticity appears to be a process towards the goal of enhanced wellbeing, rather than being a goal in itself as treated by most marketing scholars.
Type of thesis
Hopper, D. J. (2014). The Rock Concert Experience: The Self-Authentication Process and Wellbeing (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8985
University of Waikato
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