Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Marketing Communications


Management, Marketing and Business Administration


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


Radio airplay is still a popular direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel for music products. In this paper, we investigate the effect of radio airplay on album sales, mediated by consumer social media engagement with music artists. Grounded in the cultural production model, as well as the literature on customer engagement and satiation, we propose several hypotheses. We analyze our unique dataset by structural equation modeling (SEM). The results reveal that radio airtime has a bigger impact on album sales of lesser-known musicians than those of famous musicians. Social media engagement mediates the positive effect of radio airplay on album sales; this effect is moderated by the musician’s popularity such that famous musicians enjoy greater social media engagement compared to their lesser-known counterparts. These results have important managerial implications for positioning and channel strategies for lesser-known as well as for already famous musicians. Our findings contribute to the literature on music marketing, social media engagement, and satiation. Surprisingly, this research suggests that the role of radio is not as straightforward as has been described before and the implications for new and seasoned artists in the age of digital music consumption have the potential to change the views of this ‘outdated’ medium.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Marketing Communications on November 3, 2021, available online:

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