CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Arts Marketing: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2.
What good are the arts? This is a provocative question that continues to be debated by academics, practitioners, policy makers and audiences, amongst others. John Carey (2005) devoted a book to the question, which presents a number of debates, ranging from whether arts make us better people; to questioning what even constitutes a work of art; through to the science of the arts. Despite such widespread debate, it would appear that the question “what good are the arts” remains unanswered. Indeed, Carey (2005) even argues that agreement on a single answer to a seemingly very simple question that will suit everyone is impossible.
The point is, the arts permeate all aspects of everyday life and continue to make a valuable contribution to society in a myriad of ways. Indeed, the papers in this issue demonstrate the eclectic nature of the arts and some of the attendant issues that the arts marketing fraternity needs to consider.
Valentine, Fillis and Follett's paper is an exploratory investigation into the role of a research and development program on future craft practice. The research took place at a third-level art and design college within a Scottish university and involved mentoring by academic practitioners, studio space and advice on marketing techniques. The results were very positive, with participants reporting increased levels of confidence and a stronger ability to reflect on their skills and consider their approach and attitude to marketing. Whilst this paper is focused on one aspect of the arts, the approach could be applied to any art form and would most certainly make add to the armory of artists. This paper is another example that questions the art vs commerce debate and is aligned with Macaulay and Dennis’ (2007) work that argued that art and commerce co-exist and should be viewed from a parallax perspective.
Cluley's paper presents an interesting insight into how people involved with the making of music (including the promotion, sales, recording of music, etc.) classify their production activities through the lens of consumption. Cluley conducted 18 interviews with people from various parts of the alternative music industry, from performing musicians to music promoters. The overarching conclusion from the interviews highlighted that consumption was used to make sense of the activities undertaken in the production of music (and supporting activities). Perhaps this is because artists (cultural producers) are uncomfortable with the word production and its commercial connotations, or that in order to produce music an initial passion is ignited by a consumption experience. This paper is bound to create an interest amongst the readers and encourage reflection on artists’ relationships with their musical/artistic endeavors.
Ferguson and Tyrie's paper examines arts sponsorship, framing their argument using social exchange theory. The social exchange theory literature states that a relationship is dependent on the strength of social interactions as a means of value creation. The paper is qualitative in nature and examines arts sponsorship in New Zealand. The findings provide a rich understanding of the nature of experiences; expectations, motivations and perceptions that result in a model of iterative value derivation. The model focuses on the life cycle of arts sponsorship and is of both academic and practitioner value – particularly as businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their arts sponsorship practice.
Henderson's piece addresses the sustainability agenda – specifically in relation to the global touring of a live music event. The paper adopts a qualitative methodological approach, using Jack Johnson's “Sleep Through the Static” tour as its central focus. Jack Johnson's tours embrace sustainability and have set a precedent for other global touring stars. It is both fascinating and welcoming to see music and the arts in general playing a prominent role in bringing the sustainability agenda to the fore. Of course, this is not entirely new in the music industry. One only needs to reflect on the work of Bob Geldof and his esteemed entourage of musicians who inspired and educated the masses about poverty back in 1985 via the unforgettable Live Aid concert. Granted, the agenda was different, but the rationale was for the project was not broadly dissimilar. Music is a powerful force and has great power to influence our behavior. The work that of Jack Johnson – both musically and ethically – is very positive for all stakeholders.
As well as the papers, this issue introduces a book review. Alex Gillett reviews Gareth Dylan Smith's book – I Drum Therefore I Am: Being and Becoming a Drummer. Smith's book is essentially the findings of his PhD study, which offers a cultural psychology perspective on the kit drummer. What relevance does such a book have to readers of this journal? The answer is simple; the book provides an insight into the world of being a drummer and draws on the concepts of choice and self-identity and the blurring of the producer/consumer distinction. There is explicit reference made to consumption of music (both recorded and live) and music education. Both of these markets are large, with the latter having grown exponentially over the course of the last two decades. Gillett writes with aplomb and just provides the reader with enough detail about the book to whet one's appetite to purchase a copy of smith's work.
Finally, Chris Hodgkins – Director of Jazz Services Ltd – provides a stimulating account of the changing demographics of the jazz audience in the Creative Insights section. In his paper, he presents a set of statistics that shows a significant decline in the consumption of live jazz in the 18-24 age range. Largely UK centric, the piece provides some comparison to the birthplace of jazz – the USA, and shows that the situation is broadly very similar. The paper argues the need for audience development – particularly in the younger age ranges – to ensure a healthy future for jazz in the UK. How this is accomplished is open to debate, but there is a need to ensure that the jazz is “heard” and that means more opportunities to hear it a variety of ways, from exposure in the music curriculum, to live concerts in non-jazz venues.
Whilst the audience for jazz may appear to be shrinking, there are a number of proponents who are championing its cause – not least trumpeter, composer and educator Wynton Marsalis:
As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the demographic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them, even if you don’t agree with what they’re playing. It teaches you the very opposite of racism and anti-Semitism. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate us all.
This issue has provided a mix of papers that address various art forms and issues that impact upon them and the benefits that they can provide. If one revisits the question what good are the arts, it is clear to see they have a key role to play in our everyday lives. In fact, the power of art should not be underestimated, as epitomized by the final quote from Wynton Marsalis:
Art engages you in a world, not just the world around you but the big world, and not just the big world of Tokyo and Sydney and Johannesburg, but the bigger world of ideas and concepts and feelings of history and humanity (Marsalis and Ward, 2008, p. 10).
Noel Dennis and Gretchen Larsen
Carey, J. (2005), What Good Are the Arts? Faber and Faber, London
Macaulay, M. and Dennis, N. (2007), “The parallax of art and commerce: UK jazz musicians on marketing”, Jazz Research Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 225-238
Marsalis, W. and Ward, G. (2008), Moving to a Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life, Random House, New York, NY
Marsalis, W. (2013), available at: http://jazz-quotes.com/artist/wynton-marsalis/ (accessed 27 September 2013)