Projects per year
This article is about the value of music, measured not in aesthetic terms, but rather as a matter of practical politics. The question of cultural value is, of course, familiar to those who study cultural policy. Typically, the political debate divides between (1) those who argue that music must take its chance in the market, where its value will be revealed in the price consumers are willing to pay; (2) those who see music as having social value, beyond that realized in the market, but seek to measure that value in terms recognized by economists (e.g. Contingent Valuation); and finally (3), those who reject the economistic route, and argue that music’s value is of a different order and kind. What can get overlooked in this debate, and why it can be so frustrating, is the politics that underlies it – the politics of power and policy making, and the politics of principle. This article argues that we should focus more explicitly on the politics, seeing culture – in this case, music - as a political resource and the bearer of political values, and to see music policy as an articulation of political value as much as of cultural value.