Audiences Authoring Authors: Audience Production of Value, the Culture Industry, and Copyright

By Tim MacNeill.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Western enlightenment thinking regarding the authorship of symbolic texts posits a singular author as the sole producer of the cultural value attributed to these texts. Refuters of this claim have generally argued that cultural value is in fact created in a number of cites within a complex production process – not in a singular being. While sustaining a rejection the author myth, I show that there is in fact a singular (albeit amorphous and widely dispersed) site in which the production of cultural value occurs. All cultural value, I argue, is created by audiences – nebulous agglomerations of social actors who create meaning through interactive consumption. My argument is that the significance attached to any ‘cultural product’ is incidental. It is a byproduct of the consumption of the good that the audience is actually seeking to consume: itself. Toward making this point, I present a theoretical discussion of the way in which audiences produce cultural value. I then present supporting empirical evidence undertaken by myself and others. Finally I discuss the implications of an audience production thesis for the analysis of intellectual property institutions and the culture industry in general.

Keywords: Culture Industry, Audience Reception, Music Market, Political Economy, Cultural Studies

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.43-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 530.811KB).

Dr. Tim MacNeill

Doctoral Candidate, Communication and Cultural Studies Program, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tim has a six CD discography dating back to 1990. Music distinctions include "Alternative Artist of the Year" in East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) Canada (2001), Nominee "Rock/Pop Artist of the Year" Canadian National Independent Music Awards (2001), Nomination for ECMA "Alt. Artist of the Year" (1999), various national and regional showcases as well as national and regional appearences in media programs regarding cultural policy in music. Academically, he completed a Masters degree in Development Economics in 2003, where he studied the nature of cultural industries. Currently Tim is completing a Doctorate in Communication and Cultural Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada. Main study is in the culture of economy and the economics of culture.

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