Introduction to Parasocial Relationships for artists, managers & music marketers

Have you ever felt like you cannot control the way your listeners react to your music or how they feel about you? If the answer is yes, you might want to ask yourself if your fans are not in a (parasocial) relationship… with you.

According to Collins English dictionary, a relationship between two people or groups is the way in which they feel and behave towards each other. It’s a situation where both sides are engaged, more or less, equally. In the end, being in a one-sided relationship is either sad or equals having a stalker, right? Well, not in the entertainment industry.

Relationships help us connect and bond with other people, produce emotions and reactions, make our lives worth living. But what if you could be involved in an equally valuable relationship with your favourite singer or musician? Even your fans, who you’ve never met and will never have a chance to do so can be involved in a relationship with you. The funny part? You don’t even have to know about it!

…that’s where PARASOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS come to life.

For you as an artist, there’s way more marketing value in them than there’s emotional. But before we go into discussing how you can use them to improve your communication and social media game, have a look at an actual definition of this concept from Oxford Reference:


A term (…) to refer to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by members of an audience in their mediated encounters with certain performers in the mass media. Regular viewers (here: listeners and fans) come to feel that they know familiar television personalities (singers, musicians, artists) almost as friends. Parasocial relationships psychologically resemble those of face-to-face interaction but they are of course mediated and one-sided.

As you may have already noticed, one-sided is the key term in understanding how parasocial relationships can impact an artist’s career. So how does that work in real life?

It’s all about giving a glimpse of one’s life to lots of people at the same time. Coming from the artist, there’s a message or stream of messages which the fans can then interpret and process in their own time. Even though it results in many different reactions, there’s one element that connects the dots: the artist creates an illusion that any follower can get to know them, without the artist knowing a single thing about any of their fans personally.

Creating an emotional bond with the artist can then influence the fans and, in many cases, overshadow financial and territorial circumstances, resulting in increased music, merch and tickets sales. On top of that, we want to give back to those whose music we love, and experience that ecstatic feeling of new and exciting again and again.

That’s why forming and fostering those relationships should be on top of your daily “to do” list. And what better way to build relationships these days than through social media? Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first ones to read our next blog entry on building and fostering parasocial relationships through your social media activity.

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