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Questioning worth: selling out in the music industry

journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kerrie BridsonKerrie Bridson, J Evans, Rohit Varman, Michael Volkov, Sean McDonald
Purpose – This study aims to illuminate the way in which consumers question the authenticity and worth of musicians, leading to a classification of selling out. The authors contribute to the debate on authenticity by attending to the question of worth that is under-examined in existing literature, by drawing upon French pragmatic sociology with specific attention to convention theory to understand conflicting interpretations of worth.
Design/methodology/approach – The considerations music fans go through navigating whether artists are selling out and the loss of worth were explored through 22 semi-structured interviews, complemented by focus group discussions (20 participants) and analysis of an online video blog.
Findings – The study identified three key themes: “Authenticity and Worth in the Inspired World”, “Selling
Out as Loss of Worth” and “Signifiers of Selling Out”.
Practical implication – The emergent themes enable us to understand the worth that consumers place on musical artists, and the clash between the ideologies of the market world and the inspired world. The ideas regarding selling out and the signifiers may apply to other consumption experiences where the clash between the inspired and the market worlds exists and the conflicting ethos of each can lead to a loss of worth and selling out.
Originality/value – In this research, the authors examine situations in which consumers stigmatise as “sell outs”, artists who are marketised under the influence of capitalist social relations of production. As a result, these artists lose their authenticity and worth in the eyes of consumers. In doing so, this research contributes to the debate on authenticity by attending to the question of worth that is under-examined in existing literature.

History

Journal

European journal of marketing

Volume

51

Issue

9/10

Pagination

1650 - 1668

Publisher

Emerald Publishing Limited

Location

Bingley, Eng.

ISSN

0309-0566

eISSN

1758-7123

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Emerald Publishing Limited