Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences
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Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences

The Advent of Pop Music

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.
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Chapter 4: Radio and Magazines: Valuing Pop Music Through Institutional Changes

Wilfred Dolfsma


Radio One, you’re the only one . . . for me Just turn that dial, make your music worthwhile Radio One, you stole my gal, but I love you just the same Jimi Hendrix Pop music came to be the kind of music that people enjoyed listening to, that they enjoyed consuming, that they valued highly quite suddenly. The advent of pop music, superseding Big Band and ‘Crooner’ music, is a remarkable phenomenon. Pop music has come to be seen as the mark of important changes in Western societies (Righart 1995; Kennedy 1995; Sociologische Gids 1997). Some observers even argue that the advent of pop music was among the prime causes of those changes. When pop music arrived in the Netherlands and other countries in the developed world, it met with both enthusiasm and repulsion. How exactly pop music ‘conquered’ each country differs between countries. Resistance from players in the Dutch system of music provision was strong at first. Enthusiasts were mostly young people; older people were mostly repulsed. Tensions between people thrilled by developments in popular music and those aghast at it even showed within organizations. A number of people involved in making radio programmes and music magazines wanted to jump on the bandwagon of pop music – although, as I will show, they did want to influence somewhat the direction in which the bandwagon was heading. Others in these same organizations, in general those people who could make decisions, tried to resist paying attention to pop music. Managers and members of boards...

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