Week 8 – Blog 8: The Role of Capitalism Within a Creative Industry

As the music industry rapidly grows and develops, there seem to be very clear winners and losers as an outcome of the changes. The larger changes are based on the development of the internet and digital media platforms. The main issue being that anyone is capable of reproducing copyrighted material and distributing it effectively and cost-free. In that scenario, the losers are very clearly the musicians and corporations who have traditionally made their careers through selling various types of musical commodity. The winners are on the other side of the spectrum as consumers and large-scale distributors of media content such as Apple, Spotify and YouTube.

The common understanding of the term ‘capitalism’ is that it is a term which covers almost all forms of commercial activity. Some radical theorists of capitalism such as Manuel Delanda argue that capitalism always works at least partly through the creation of monopoly anti-markets; situations in which capitalist work to shut down the free circulation of commodities. (Landa, M.D. 199) All mass culture under monopoly is identical, and the contours of its skeleton, the conceptual armature fabricated by monopoly, are beginning to stand out. Films and radio no longer need to present themselves as art. The truth that they are nothing but business is used as an ideology to legitimise the trash they intentionally produce. (Durham, M.G & Kellner, D.M. 2006)

Historically speaking, the music industry has always been a great example of this, with ‘anti-market’ institutions such as major record labels and larger commercial broadcasters, working hard to homogenise the tastes of an irritatingly unpredictable public. Adorno (1991) seems to believe that under capitalism, all production is for the market; goods are produced not in order to meet human needs and desires, but for the sake of profit, for the sake of acquiring further capital. (Adorno, T.W. 1991)

However, in a creative world such as the music industry, I believe that even the larger companies will still have to bare the needs of the public in mind, as without that human touch in such an industry, then no capital will be made from the productions, and music would never be the same.

 

References

Adorno, T.W (1991). The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. 4th ed. London: Routledge. pp.5.

Durham, M.G & Kellner, D.M (2006). Media and Cultural Studies. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp.42.

Landa, M.D. (1998). MARKETS AND ANTIMARKETS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY. Available: http://www.alamut.com/subj/economics/de_landa/antiMarkets.html. Last accessed 31/03/17.

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One thought on “Week 8 – Blog 8: The Role of Capitalism Within a Creative Industry

  1. I think the point about monopolisation in the music industry is most interesting, as it is so apparent in several areas. The 3 major labels all also own many smaller labels, music publishers, studios – almost all the parts of the chain of production of recorded music. Live music is similar – Live Nation currently own Ticketmaster, Live Nation Media and Sponsorship, Artist Nation (record label), and several venue brands. It’s something that’s garnered a lot of industry backlash but this hasn’t phased these companies as it is simply the way they have always operated. Perhaps monopolisation is engrained in the top-end of the music industry?

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