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