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Economics and the ecology of creativity: evidence from the popular music industry


  • Patrick Cohendet
  • David Grandadam
  • Laurent Simon


Creativity does not result from the talents of a few individuals, but, on the contrary, nourishes itself from the repeated exchanges among a variety of heterogeneous entities that all contribute in their own way to foster the development of new ideas. As a result, the creative activity must be considered as embedded in creative territories. In other words, these creative milieus should be considered as specific innovative clusters that allow for the creative process to be fully expressed. Following this perspective, we argue that the dynamics of creativity lie in the interaction between three different layers of a territory: the underground, the middleground and the upperground. In order to illustrate this point of view, we propose to analyse the birth of two distinct musical styles that are both directly related to the places in which they emerged: soul music in Detroit and rap music in New York.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Cohendet & David Grandadam & Laurent Simon, 2009. "Economics and the ecology of creativity: evidence from the popular music industry," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 709-722.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:23:y:2009:i:6:p:709-722
    DOI: 10.1080/02692170903239879

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    Cited by:

    1. Teemu Makkonen, 2014. "Tales from the Thousand Lakes: Placing the Creative Network of Metal Music in Finland," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 46(7), pages 1586-1600, July.
    2. Markus Pasche, 2014. "Welfare Effects of Endogenous Copyright Enforcement - the Case of Digital Goods," Jena Economics Research Papers 2014-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Paul Muller & Bérangère L. Szostak & Thierry Burger-Helmchen, 2020. "The role of middleground's entrepreneurial activities for the circulation of creative ideas. The case of Krautrock Music [Le rôle d’intermédiation des activités entrepreneuriales du middleground da," Post-Print hal-03539612, HAL.


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