Theorising the Relationship Between Music and Marketing: the Musician’S Perspective

Studies of music’s role in society can attribute it with powerful effects in shaping our society and our consciousness of it (for example see Adorno and Horkheimer, 1998; Attali, 1985). As musicians are typically imbued with the spirit of bohemia with its inherent anti-materialism (Becker, 1991; Frith and Horne, 1987; Kubacki and Croft, 2004; Robinson et al., 1991), can we consider musicians to be hostile to marketing and if so does their music exist as an anti-marketing discourse within the consumer society? Or could it be that the culture industry has established itself as a monopoly whereby musicians no longer act antithetically? We explore the experiences of musicians in dealing with marketing and their beliefs of what music should be. Noting how musicians are typically engaged in negotiating between artistic intention and commercial pragmatics, we conclude that the musicians still intend for music to maintain an antithetical dimension. We theorise that such data does not suggest a study of co-optation but rather we explore Frith & Horn’s (1987) contention that the conflict lends itself towards one of how ‘truth’ and ‘subjectivity’ and ‘uniqueness’ are registered in normal market relationships. We conclude by suggesting that there is a far more complex relationship between music and marketing than was previously understood to be the case.


Alan Bradshaw, Pierre McDonagh, and David Marshall (2005) ,"Theorising the Relationship Between Music and Marketing: the Musician’S Perspective", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 498-501.


Alan Bradshaw, University of Exeter
Pierre McDonagh, Dublin Institute of Technology
David Marshall, University of Edinburgh


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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