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Towards 'Embedded Non-creative Work'? Administration, digitisation and the recorded music industry

Bennett, T. ORCID: 0000-0003-0078-9315 (2018). Towards 'Embedded Non-creative Work'? Administration, digitisation and the recorded music industry. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 26(2), pp. 223-238. doi: 10.1080/10286632.2018.1479399


For contemporary cultural policy, ‘non-creative’ work continues to form a conceptual blindspot: a foil to define and value creativity against. This paper develops existing categories to augment the task-focused notion of ‘embedded creativity’ with a more situated view of work’s cultural and institutional embedding. It first interrogates this ‘embeddedness’, taking a ‘cultural economy’ approach to intermediation and administrative support. Drawing on observations from an in-depth qualitative study of employees in major record labels, the second part articulates the heightened importance of ‘admin’ to recorded music industries, after ‘digital disruption’. Routine bureaucratic labour presents an atypical example, revealing much about the hidden relational and identity work that goes into constructing ‘creative industries’ as such. The intention is not to show that ‘embedded non-creative workers’ are in fact ‘creative’ but, on the contrary, to articulate the distinct contributions and value of support work in this context, questioning a persistent reliance on creative/non-creative dualisms. Policy research would benefit from enriched understanding of culture's assembly in marketable objects, reorienting understandings of ‘cultural’ labour markets and careers, and reimagining the role of traditional cultural ‘administration’ in the contemporary ‘creative economy’.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Cultural Policy on 20 June 2018, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Administration, cultural intermediaries, Creative Trident, digitisation, embeddedness, music industries
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
M Music and Books on Music
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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