Invited Lecture

Invited lecture at the School of Geography and Environment, University of Nottingham

Creating and Communicating Value in the Contemporary Marketplace for Cultural Products

Brian J. Hracs – University of Southampton

Although geographers have studied the complex relationships between cultural production, consumption, and space for some time, the marketplace for cultural products is being reconfigured by digital technologies and broader societal trends. For producers of fashion and music the contemporary marketplace is a double-edged sword featuring lower entry barriers and fierce competition from an unprecedented number of producers and ubiquitous substitutes. As a result, global firms and local entrepreneurs struggle to ‘stand out in the crowd’ and command monopoly rents for their unique goods and services. Drawing on research with independent musicians and fashion designers in Toronto, Stockholm, Berlin, and New York this presentation will examine the ways in which these producers use ‘exclusivity’ to generate distinction, value and loyalty. In particular, it will demonstrate how exclusivity can be created by tapping into the demand for uniqueness, enrolling consumers into the production and promotion process and manipulating physical and virtual space. The presentation will also consider the effectiveness and sustainability of these strategies and the important intermediary function of ‘curation.’