This paper examines the influence of several factors on a main source of uncertainty in the business of culture. In particular, it traces the needs people gratify by examining the uses of a specific type of content that is music. The factors studied in a representative sample of 400 students at the Democritus University of Thrace (Greece), include social values, individual differences, gender, the school or the department attended and the educational capital of their parents as an indicator for their social background.
Participants reported on why they use music in everyday life. They also indicated their values on an abbreviated version of the Schwartz Value Survey and their personality traits on the Big Five Inventory scale. A principal component analysis revealed five types of uses:
- self-awareness and escapism,
- mood regulation,
- background for other activities,
- cognitive and aesthetic gratification, and
- social interaction (including sociability and socialization).
Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the factors studied contribute differentially to predict the uses of music. Individual differences, values, gender, and the direction of studies influence the ways this particular symbolic good is consumed. In addition, the extent to which the different uses may be predicted is also an estimate for the uncertainty stemming from the volatility of consumption, where uncertainty means that there are still unidentified factors affecting the different uses of music.
Finally, the limitations of this study and some suggestions for future research are also discussed.
The article is a reviewed and enhanced version of the paper presented at the World Media Economics & Management Conference 2012 (Thessaloniki, Greece, May 23-27, 2012).