April 22, 2016 / by Camille Sheehan

When the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival started in 1999, it boasted music acts like Beck, Tool and Rage Against the Machine. They were $800,000 in red after that. Fast forward 14 years to last year’s Coachella event and it’s a different story: 190,000 tickets sold resulting in $84 million, making it the world’s “highest-grossing festival,” according to Billboard.

So what changed in the last decade and a half that turned Coachella into the highest-grossing festival today? Is the festival getting more popular music artists or more popular attendees to draw in such large crowds?

If we tune into the buzz surrounding Coachella today, much of the conversations revolve around the celebrities making appearances and their bohemian and desert chic fashion statements. At first glance, when looking at the top Twitter influencers for this weekend’s conversations surrounding Coachella, it would appear that the fashion and celebrity buzz is drowning out the actual focus of the festival: the music.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this trend of increased fashion and celebrity coverage in recent years may be due to the presence of “celebrity photographers,” noting:

But ever since celebrity photographers started popping up on the polo grounds of Coachella some five years ago, that laissez-faire attitude has gone out the window. Whether they’re onstage or simply lounging at a concert or one of the dozens of parties around the festival, stars know their outfits will likely pop up in an online fashion gallery within hours.

While outlets like The Wall Street Journal decided to opt out, other media, both traditional and digital flocked to share the most influential moments of the show.

We analyzed media conversations about the festival using Cision PR Edition and Visible Intelligence to see what piqued interest and what entertainment brands could learn from the coverage.

Here’s a look at what the Top 20 Twitter handles were in the #Coachella conversation:

Coachella twitter influencer mindshare - FINAL

Notice anything about those Twitter handles? Only about six of those 20 are related to music. The rest? Fashion and celebrity gossip.

Coachella’s peak period of social activity reached its height early in the afternoon on Saturday and began with celebrity sightings, Kendall Jenner in particular, at 2:00 p.m. EST. Later in the evening, at 10 p.m. EST, Bernie Sanders’ introduction of Run the Jewels, as well as a performance by Guns N’ Roses sparked another high point in the conversation.


While social media monitoring would lead you to believe that fashion and celebrity sightings have become the focal point of Coachella, when you rely on the social media conversation alone, you miss the whole picture of the festival.

Our Cision PR Edition software clears the air and provides a more complete snapshot of the festival and what matters to the concert goers: the music.

Here’s who really had the biggest share of voice during the music festival:


Coachella’s music artists had 45.6 percent of the total mindshare (share of voice), while celebrities in attendance at the festival only had 17.41 percent of the mindshare.

Zedd took the lead in mindshare surrounding the scheduled music artists to perform this past weekend, beating out the headliner and main attraction, Guns N’ Roses:


Zedd’s spike in news coverage is likely due to a surprise appearance by Kesha during the song “True Colors.”

If you’re relying solely on social conversation or only looking at traditional news coverage, then let this music festival serve as a great example of how you will inevitably miss out on all the pieces of the conversation surrounding your subject.

The introduction of one media platform (social media) does not necessarily mean the replacement of another (traditional news). You still need both to have the most accurate and complete understanding of a conversation today.

What piece of your brand’s conversation are you missing out on?

Remarketing_Monitoring__728x90Image via Pixabay: 1

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About Camille Sheehan

Camille Sheehan is a PR associate for Cision, where she has worked since 2014. While attending the University of Maryland, she worked as a public affairs intern at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. With a background in communication and public relations, she loves keeping up to date with the latest trends and breaking global news. In her free time, you can find Camille listening to country music, eating tacos, sampling Irish whiskeys or snapping photos outdoors on her DSLR. Find her on Twitter @CSheehanPR.