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Why promote sold‐out concerts? A Durkheimian analysis

Mark Duffett (University of Chester, Chester, UK)

Arts Marketing: An International Journal

ISSN: 2044-2084

Article publication date: 18 May 2012




The aim of this research paper is to examine why concert promoters sometimes advertise sold‐out live music shows when nobody can buy tickets any longer.


Durkheim's theory of religion as a thrilling social activity is used to hypothesize that the advertising of sold‐out events reminds audiences that star performers are popular and therefore helps to generate the “buzz” around them. Interviews with a series of promoters from the USA, UK and Canada revealed, however, that they see more immediate and mundane reasons for advertising sold‐out shows, including building the artist's career profile and training consumers to buy next time round.


It was found that promoters could also organize the sales and advertising process to bring sold‐out events into being. While their explanations diverged from a Durkheimian schema, the results of their actions did not. In effect they serendipitously did cultural work to further the Durkheimian process without being consciously concerned by it as an explanation of motives.


This paper suggests that the Durkheimian model illuminates a point of connection between commerce and affect in the reception of star performances. Further research on live music using the model as a hypothesis may therefore be useful.



Duffett, M. (2012), "Why promote sold‐out concerts? A Durkheimian analysis", Arts Marketing: An International Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 21-34.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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