Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences

Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences

The Advent of Pop Music

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Wilfred Dolfsma

The formation of preferences is an elusive subject that many social scientists, and especially economists, have tended to avoid. In this original new book, Wilfred Dolfsma combines institutional economics with insights from the other social sciences to analyse the way in which preferences are formed in a social context.

Chapter 1: The Amazing Advent of Pop Music

Wilfred Dolfsma

Subjects: economics and finance, evolutionary economics, institutional economics


Well, the Blues had a baby and they named that baby Rock ’n’ Roll Muddy Waters [R]ecorded music readily pervades virtually every culture and every level of society. As such, it may be considered as the most fundamental of the entertainment businesses. Harold Vogel, Entertainment Industry Economics (1998, p.132) Pop music now has an important place in societies across the world. Most of us, most of all in Western societies, cannot imagine a world without pop music. Within a short time, pop music gained the central place it now has in people’s experience; the process through which this happened must have been an exciting one. Pop music is, some would suggest for good reasons, the cement of society, a stimulant for work, and the grease of commerce. Social gatherings tend to be accompanied by pop music, be they in a private or a more public setting. Pop music can take away a solemn atmosphere and can create one of bonding and sharing. Pop music is often played where people work, shop, recreate. Bosses and supervisors often promote it, or at least do not forbid it, because jointly appreciating pop music increases people’s sense of belonging together, which is likely, in its turn, to increase productivity.1 Shops and the hotel and catering industry play pop music – in most cases the easy to digest Middle-of-the-Road (MOR) kind, Muzak – to induce people to feel at home and buy or consume more. Pop music supports all kinds of advertisements on the radio and...

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