Value Creation in Scene-based Music Production: The Case of Electronic Club Music in Germany



The focus of this article is on the variability of value creation in the popular music industry. Recent trends in electronic music have been based on both the valorization of global tastes and of local specialities in performance and production. Depending on musical styles and market niches, local scenes have become important forces behind heterogeneous “globalocal” markets. At the same time, technological change and the virtualization of music production and distribution contribute to increasingly differentiated configurations of value creation. It is therefore necessary to reconstruct theoretically and empirically the new interplay among the local music production, digital media markets, and virtual communities that are involved. On the basis of empirical explorations in a German hot spot of electronic club-music production (the city of Berlin), the article indentifies local interaction practice and constellations of stakeholders. The findings show that value creation in these rapidly changing production scenes has moved away from the large-scale distribution of producer-induced media to audience-induced live performance and interactive soundtrack production. This change involves the rising importance of cultural embeddings such as taste building, reputation building among artists and producers, and local community building. Starting from an open theoretical problematization of value creation with regard to fluid scenes and shifting modes of production, the results of first empirical reconstructions are taken as inputs to an evolving discussion on the configurations of value creation in consumer-based strands of music production.