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The next wave of digital technological change and the cultural industries

Abstract

In this proposal of a research agenda for cultural economics, I discuss the supply-side economics of the next wave of digital technological change. I begin by arguing that digitization and internet-enabled platforms, together with automated licensing of user-generated content, have substantially lowered the costs of individual-level cultural participation. I discuss how the dependence on advertising revenues may affect this dynamic and highlight some implications for the economics of copyright. Next, I discuss circumstances under which market data, which have become much less expensive to collect at more fine-grained levels, can trigger differentiation of cultural products. Finally, I speculate about the economic implications of artificial intelligence that complements, or perhaps substitutes for human creativity with regard to cultural participation, copyright and the industrial organization of culture.

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Notes

  1. The standard assumption in the theoretical media advertising literature is that advertising is a nuisance to consumers. Settings in which this may not hold have a different structure and different advertiser characteristics. For example, in Becker and Murphy (1993)’s model advertising can be complementary to the product that is advertised. Evidence from the magazine market (where in some segments ads can be considered informative content) implies that readers get positive utility from advertising (Kaiser and Song 2009).

  2. See, for example, Cooper (2013).

  3. More details on these examples can be found in Bridle’s talk, entitled “The nightmare videos of childrens’ YouTube—and what’s wrong with the internet today”, accessible at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9EKV2nSU8w.

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Correspondence to Christian Peukert.

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This manuscript draws from a chapter I prepared for “Agenda for cultural economics” edited by Samuel Cameron and from some of my prior work (George and Peukert 2014; Aguiar et al. 2018; Kretschmer and Peukert 2018). I thank the editor, three anonymous reviewers, Lisa M. George and Samuel Cameron for valuable feedback and suggestions. I acknowledge support from FCT–Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology for the Project UID/GES/00407/2013 and FCT-PTDC/EGE-OGE/27968/2017.

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Peukert, C. The next wave of digital technological change and the cultural industries. J Cult Econ 43, 189–210 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-018-9336-2

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