Creation - La création : processus, acteurs, objets, contextes

Market for Art, Conformism, Creativity, and Adoption of Novelty – MACCAN

Submission summary

The problem that will be studied here is that of the acceptance and adoption of artistic novelty, of forces of conformism opposing it and forces of creativity accelerating it, of the price to be paid for a cultural innovation to get public recognition. These questions will be raised in a market setting because performances and artwork are increasingly being exchanged and reproduced on markets by means of prices.
Art and creative goods may be defined, for our purpose, as goods and services which are highly differentiated and derive a large part of their value from their non-functional (thus, subjective) dimension, thus giving rise to long learning processes. We focus on selected aspects of the market for music, considered as a model of markets for reproducible art or cultural goods. Two aspects of the market for music have been selected in view of their relevance for sustaining or developing creation. On the demand side, the demand for music is studied from the perspective of the adoption of novelty (within genres) and cultural change (across genres). On the supply side, the dual supply of music, due to the rise of Internet, is studied, with a black market where music is exchanged almost freely competing with the legal market where music is offered for sale.

As many determinants of the supply and demand for music are very difficult to observe and measure, we propose to examine the problem through an experimental representation of the music market. In our experiments, subjects not only listen to musical pieces imposed on them, but make real musical choices and interact on markets. In the lab, we can control for period incomes, prices that don’t depend on the objective quality of the performance and observe as many as 200 prices in some experiments, we can control for the substitute(s) of a musical genre, the time cost, the randomness of musical experiences, and all information flows, and the cultivation of taste hypothesis can easily be simulated by repeating choices and market exchanges many times. Therefore, it becomes possible to estimate the true own price and cross price elasticities of listening to music which has proved to be a challenging task in the real world.

A unique feature of our data is the use of original independent measures of the musical novelty of the heard pieces of music and of consumers’ (musical) creativity. Since creativity of our listeners will be measured, it becomes possible to compare satisfaction, choices, subjection to others’ opinion, and price elasticities among creative and conformist subjects.

The results derived from lab experiments will be complemented by similar results from the field and by a comparison of adult customers with adolescents who are known to be big consumers of music. Furthermore, our experiments allow us to estimate the speed of cultural change on samples of middle-school pupils and of ordinary subjects. More precisely, we can observe the impact of creativity and the role of price adjustments on demand for creation. Our field experiment in middle-schools should provide us with a unique opportunity to correlate several creativity measures including musical creativity, and to correlate creativity with the academic achievement of pupils. Insofar creativity facilitates the adoption of novelty, our results will shed light on the ability of (French) middle schools to prepare youths to fast cultural and economic changes.

Finally, public concern for the long run effects of Internet on artistic creation will lead us to examine the long run evolution of prices, demand, and artists’ revenues for a new genre (‘a creator’) struggling against an established genre (‘an idol’), whether illegal downloading of music is a possibility or not. Although an experimental market is certainly not a perfect descriptor of reality, it allows a simulation of a long run evolution of a recent phenomenon like the dual market for music which is obviously unobservable on real data.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 179,999 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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