Throughout the twentieth century, significant shifts have occurred in the ways in which fandom operates, partially as a result of the increasingly integral role digital technologies have come to have within our everyday practices. The phrase ‘digital technologies’ refers to the tools used to share, analyse, and create information, using binary code. This may comprise software, online systems, or the hardware used to access such facilities. In recent years, scholarly discussion has emerged concerning the sociological impact of digital technologies, notably in the work of Deborah Lupton.1 However, there is little academic writing that considers the effects such developments have had on music fans and fan groups in particular. Taking the
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In September 2011, One Direction announced that they would be commencing their first UK tour in December of the same year.3 This stimulated a vast number of discussions between both fans and non-fans, particularly through social networking site Twitter, with users across the globe 'retweeting' or sharing the announcement within their own networks (fig. A).4 When tickets were released in October, it became apparent from social networking sites that the tour sold out almost instantly, with many fans left unable to purchase tickets (fig. B).5 This considered, the assertion that such rapid ticket sales were, at least partially, a result of fans' engagement with new tools for communication does not appear to constitute a non sequitur.
Regarding social media, in her 2012 article, Lucy Bennett suggests that ‘in recent years, [its] expansion and use. . . [has] changed live music engagement and fandom quite considerably’.6 Specifically, she argues that websites such as Twitter and Facebook appear to have had an effect on the ‘ways in which some fans engage with the live music experience’,7 with fans increasingly changing their approach to live music by viewing concerts from within their own home. In this age of rapid communication, Bennett proposes the emergence of a ‘collective anticipation’8 amongst online fans prior to live events. Taking the fan groups of U2 and Tori Amos as an example, she notes how fans are