The composer in the market place revisited: The economics of music composition today

David Throsby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The book The Composer in the Market Place by Alan Peacock and Ronald Weir was published in 1975. In the first chapter of the book the authors give an account of the ways in which composers work in a difficult economic environment. The present chapter considers whether the economic circumstances of composers have changed over the 40 years since the book’s publication. The chapter outlines changes in the music market on the demand side, the supply side, and in the operations of the market itself. Some hypotheses are put forward about the nature of composers’ economic behaviour which are tested empirically using data from a survey of professional composers in Australia undertaken in 2009. The chapter shows that, despite the radical disruptions brought about by the spectacular advances in technology that have affected the processes of music production, demand, supply and distribution, the resulting incentive structure facing professional composers has changed little, such that economic outcomes in terms of composers’ labour supply decisions and their relative levels of income remain much the same as they were in 1975.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Artful Economist: A New Look at Cultural Economics
EditorsIlde Rizzo, Ruth Towse
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319406374
ISBN (Print)9783319406350
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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