Music Mavens Revisited: Comparing the Impact of Connectivity and Dispositions in the Digital Age – Københavns Universitet

Music Mavens Revisited: Comparing the Impact of Connectivity and Dispositions in the Digital Age

Guest talk by Associate Professor Marc Verboord, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Abstract: The rise of the internet and digital media has generated new ways of finding and spreading information on culture, in which traditional media and institutionalized cultural mediators seem to have lost ground to bottom-up initiatives and social networking. Yet, there is not much empirical research on how new forms of mediation work: who are opinion leaders or mavens in contemporary cultural markets, and who listens to their advice? This paper aims to contribute to work on music mavenism (e.g. Tepper & Hargittai, 2009) with the explicit goals to analyze how important connectivity (social network characteristics) is in the way music spreads, compared to dispositions (schemes of perception and appreciation). Concretely, I study how individuals find new music, and who are involved in spreading information on music. I use data from a representative survey on the Dutch population to examine this. The results show that music discovery can be characterized by three types of practices: individualized networks, traditional expertise, and mass media. Furthermore, successful influencers – mavens – differ only slightly from listeners who are highly involved in exchanging music tips. Dispositions -- particularly in the form cultural capital -- remain highly influential in explaining not only how people find music, but also who recommends music, and still seem to be more important than connectivity.

Marc Verboord is a visiting scholar at AFMK in March 2018, affiliated with Nete’s DFF-funded research project "From Ivory Tower to Twitter: Rethinking the Cultural Critic in Contemporary Media Culture".