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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Gretchen Larsen

Larsen, G. (2019). Consumption of Music. In The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd edition. John Wiley.

Author(s) from Durham


The consumption of music has long been of interest to sociologists, not only as a universally significant human practice, but also as a context through which core questions in sociology have been explored. Canonical social thinkers, such as Adorno, Bourdieu and DeNora, have concerned themselves with how people engage with music, to examine such issues as power, social relations, identity, and well-being. Framing engagement with music as ‘consumption’ supposes an activity that is mediated by the market. Consumers access music through exchange, to take ownership of, or gain the right to access and experience music. In sociological research on music consumption, it is the experience of use, rather than the purchase itself, that has been of interest. Several areas of focus have emerged over time, such as taste, status, identity, subcultures, brand communities, sonic ecology, and the changing role of technology in consumption.