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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Entertainment Science, Episode One: Music & Art & Trash

Published: May 28, 2019


Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, University of Münster; Mark Houston, Texas Christian University


This special session will contribute to a richer understanding of Entertainment Science by exploring the “rules” that affect the appeal of creative and cultural offerings for consumers and other stakeholders and decide whether an entertainment product becomes a huge hit or will be instantly forgotten. Together with Entertainment Science, Episode Two: The Movies!, this session is part of a two-episode scholarly mini series that extends and refines Hennig-Thurau and Houston’s “Entertainment Science” theory (Springer Nature, 2019).

This episode features four papers that investigate three different objects of Entertainment Science: music (two papers), art (one paper), and trash (one paper). The paper by Dominik Papies, Nils Wlömert, Michel Clement, and Martin Spann, titled “How Access-based Media Consumption Affects Marketing Elasticities”, makes use of a unique panel data set to show that traditional marketing instruments (e.g., advertising) for music loose relevance as consumers switch to music streaming services, and derives how artists and music companies can still generate revenue in this changing environment.

The session’s second paper “How streaming changes the competition between artists in the music business,” co-authored Christian Hotz-Behofsits, Nils Wlömert, and Eitan Muller, uses panel data to show that the competition and substitutability between music artists increases, as consumers switch to on-demand music streaming services, where consumption is increasingly context-dependent and focused on individual tracks, rather than on artists.

The third paper of the session is entitled “Third party signals and sales to expert-agent buyers: Quality indicators in the contemporary visual arts market”, by Monika Kackovic, Maurice Bun, Joris Ebbers, Charles Weinberg, and Nachoem Wijnberg. It focuses on the artistic element of Entertainment Science, investigating decision making processes. Their work shows that buyers of visual artworks are disproportionately influenced by simple indicators of quality, such as reviews, awards, and gallery affiliations.

The final paper of the session, “The cultural conflicts of German trash media consumption” by Björn Bohnenkamp, Caroline Wiertz, Marius Lüdicke, and Thorsten Hennig-Thurau draws on data from a multi-method investigation of trash media consumption among the educated German middle class to uncover how a conflicted product such as a ‘trash’ reality TV show can achieve mass-market success without being legitimised and how consumers manage the acutely felt contradiction between their trash media consumption practices and their own (national) ideals.