[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2014.
This thesis investigates the production and consumption of the independent music sector
in South Korea in the digital age. It examines the value of music and how it is created
in the digital age. Thus, it suggests the impacts of the Internet for consumers and
producers. The investigation is based on the view that there has been a transition
to value co-creation by consumers and producers, away from the traditional view of
value being produced by firms alone, and that this value can be symbolic, emotional
and experiential. The thesis shows that this transition has indeed occurred in the
music industry. To investigate value and value creation in popular music in the digital
age, an in-depth single case study of the independent music industry in South Korea
is conducted. Qualitative data was collected, using semi-structured interviews, from
independent music consumers and independent record labels. This research reveals that
consumers’ music consumption is made up of both information-processing and experiential
behaviours. Their desire to minimize the inappropriateness and maximize the appropriateness
of independent music and its culture contributes to its sustainment and expansion.
This research also reveals the online practices of consumers, categorized into three
themes: acquisition, relationship and engagement. In addition, the examination of
music communities in South Korea shows that consumers are resource integrators. It
reveals that the consumption communities are organized and maintained through various
operant resources of the participants. The data from the independent record labels
reveals that they are trying hard to interact with consumers and benefit from the
new media. They are found to conduct four value (co)creation strategies: contacting,
bonding, spreading and managing. Finally, this research shows that difficulties in
utilizing social media can be categorized into the following: adaptability, uncontrollability,
representability and applicability. The key contributions of this research are as
follows: Firstly, it extends our understanding of the symbolic consumption of music.
Secondly, it identifies a form of consumption community, which can be termed a ‘co-creative
consumption community’. Lastly, it demonstrates the value (co)creation practices used
by consumers and the strategies used by producers. These findings extend the existing
knowledge and suggest new evidence that contributes to an increased understanding
of the concept of value co-creation, and to consumer research in general. In addition,
the findings will benefit marketers and producers, especially in cultural industries
such as the music industry.