Handbook of Cultural Economics, Third Edition
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Handbook of Cultural Economics, Third Edition

Edited by Ruth Towse and Trilce Navarrete Hernández

Cultural economics has become well established as a subject of interest for students and teachers of courses ranging from economics to arts administration as well as for policy-makers and practitioners in the creative industries. Digitisation has had a tremendous impact on many areas of the creative economy and the third edition of this popular book fully reflects it.
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Chapter 26: Digitization in the cultural industries

Joel Waldfogel


Digitization facilitated piracy, which threatened revenue and continued production for some cultural products. Digitization has also brought offsetting cost reduction, which allows creators to reach audiences without the permissions and investments of traditional gatekeepers. Hence, digitization’s impacts on the creation of new cultural products is ambiguous, but even if production were to rise, it might be dominated by low-quality products brought to market without the nurture of traditional gatekeepers. I summarize research documenting what I term a ‘digital renaissance’: (1) substantial growth in the number of new music, movies, books and television programmes; (2) that the new products made possible by digitization make up a growing and substantial share of products that consumers find appealing; and (3) that new vintages of the products are appealing to consumers in comparison with older vintages.

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