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Music Information and Society
International conference (invited speaker)

Institute for Research on Music & Acoustics
International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC)
Department of Communication, Media and Culture - Panteion University of Athens
Athens (Greece), June 22, 2012



The paper explores the complexities of collecting statistical data on the music industries. It is based on the generally accepted assumption about the contribution of culture to the development - the so-called "cultural turn" realized on a global level during the last decades of the twentieth century. This turn has been expressed both in theory and practice through - on the one hand - the shift from the notion about the cultural to the concept about the creative industries, and on the other, through decisions made, policies developed and institutions created about the creative economy and the creative industries. However, analysis shows that the Greek case seems to contradict and lag behind these developments due to several reasons. Hence, there is a rather problematic situation concerning the collecting, processing and distributing data on the complex set of music-related activities, goods and services.

Two main interrelated issues - a political and a methodological one - are discussed on this basis:

  • On the one hand, data is needed for developing appropriate policies to support the growth of a music sector able to contribute to the development of the country. On the other hand, investment in infrastructure, technical support, and expertise development in this field, are impossible under the dominant political mindset for horizontal cuts regardless of consequences and future costs. The paper discusses this paradox.
  • Secondly, it analyses – on this background – the complex methodological issues raised by the current nomenclatures and classifications of products, services and economic activities from the perspective of the data needed on the music industries for research and policy making.

If there is something positive in the Greek case concerning the lag behind the developments, this may be the opportunity to elaborate and improve the methodology for collecting, processing and distributing data on the music industries (and other sectors of the cultural production as well). The paper concludes with a suggestion to resolve both issues mentioned above.