How Do Mainstream Cultural Market Categories Emerge: A Multi-Level Analysis of the Creation of Electronic Dance Music
Dolbec, Pierre-Yann Dube
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In my research I explore how a new market category is created in an existing market. I contribute to existing research in marketing by developing a novel framework that conceptualizes markets as constituted of three levels, and by explaining the contribution of each level to the creation of a new market category. My findings emerge from a qualitative inquiry of the creation of the category of Electronic Dance Music (EDM). I find that each level contributes differently to the creation of a mainstream cultural category. Local innovation networks (or LINs) unite consumers and producers and provide unique elements that facilitate the creation of new cultural products by consumers. Niches serve as a bridge between these local networks and a mainstream market. Niche actors contribute to the creation of a boundary infrastructure that supports the transfer, translation, and transformation of the knowledge associated with an innovative cultural product. This, in turn, facilitates the movement of an innovative cultural product from a local network to a mainstream market. Mainstream actors diffuse elements of the innovative cultural product and open what Bourdieu calls a space of possibles. Niche entrepreneurs and peripheral mainstream actors seize the opportunity to engineer a new cultural category. I discuss the theoretical implications of this research in regard to the conceptualization of markets as uni-level vs. multi-level, and the conceptualization of market creation from a categorization perspective. I provide strategic recommendations to facilitate the movement of a product from a niche to a mainstream market (i.e., selling out). I also provide managerial recommendations based on the use of boundary objects as instruments of power.