Collaborating to Compete: The Role of Cultural Intermediaries in Hypercompetition

Musgrave, George. 2017. Collaborating to Compete: The Role of Cultural Intermediaries in Hypercompetition. International Journal of Music Business Research, 6(2), pp. 41-68. ISSN 2227-5789 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the role that cultural intermediaries, defined primarily as radio DJs and journalists, play in the lives of three unsigned UK urban music artists. Using semi-structured interviews, textual analysis of social media usage, and observation notes, as well as auto-ethnographic examination of the author's own career as a musician over a four-year period between 2010-13, it is suggested that intermediaries are of crucial importance in the lives of artists largely as distinguishers in an environment of ferocious competition, which anonymises via abundance. Their role is therefore deeply symbolic, providing credible eminence. By interpreting these findings through a Bourdieusian lens, it is suggested that these collaborative processes of intermediary engagement, which allow musicians to acquire large reserves of institutionalised cultural capital, problematise notions of success by masking the profound difficulties they have in converting this prestige into material rewards. There is therefore, for these musicians, a worrying ambiguity relating to how others understand and value what they do, and a tension between this perception and their material reality.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


3 October 2017Accepted
26 October 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2017 10:17

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2020 11:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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