Music and Commercial Environment Aesthetics: Controlling the Uncontrollable

This first paper introduces the session theme by generating a critique of the ‘environmental aesthetics’ literature. Acknowledging Holbrook and Huber (1979), it shows how this literature generates formulaic claims about how the instrument ‘music’ can be used to manipulate consumer response in the constructed space of commercial environments. It critically evaluates those claims and outlines the contribution of interpretive research into the emotional character of the experience of music. It claims that the intrinsic subjectivity and autobiographical complexity of collective consumer experience undermines studies that regard music as an environmental stimulus, a functional servant capable of eliciting predictable responses in individual consumers. Through the inventive activity of performance, we illustrate those limitations and point to the work of musical aesthetics in constructing performance space.


Steve Oakes (2011) ,"Music and Commercial Environment Aesthetics: Controlling the Uncontrollable", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 82-83.


Steve Oakes, University of Liverpool Management School, UK


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

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