Marketplace Drama Essay

12756 WordsJan 24, 201252 Pages
Conflict and Compromise: Drama in Marketplace Evolution MARKUS GIESLER* How do markets change? Findings from a 7-year longitudinal processual investigation of consumer performances in the war on music downloading suggest that markets in the cultural creative sphere (those organizing the exchange of intellectual goods such as music, movies, software, and the written word) evolve through stages of perpetual structural instability. Each stage addresses an enduring cultural tension between countervailing utilitarian and possessive ideals. Grounded in anthropology and consumer behavior, I illustrate this historical dynamic through the process of marketplace drama, a fourfold sequence of performed conflict among opposing groups of consumers and producers. Implications for theorizing on market system dynamics and the consumption of performance are offered. What record companies don’t really understand is that [music downloading] is just one illustration of the growing frustration over how much the record companies control what music people get to hear, over how the air waves, record labels and record stores, which are now all part of this “system” that recording companies have pretty much succeeded in establishing, are becoming increasingly dominated by musical “products” to the detriment of real music. Why should the record company have such control over how he, the music lover, wants to experience the music? From the point of view of the real music lover, what’s currently going on can only be viewed as an exciting new development in the history of music. And, fortunately for him, there does not seem to be anything the old record companies can do about preventing this evolution from happening. (Prince 2001; spelled-out version) *Markus Giesler is assistant professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, Canada

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