Value and Value Creation - Popular Music in the Digital Era: The Case of the Independent Music Industry in South Korea

  • Hwanho Choi

Student thesis: Unknown


This thesis investigates the production and consumption of the independent music sector in South Korea in the digital age. It examines the value of music and how it is created in the digital age. Thus, it suggests the impacts of the Internet for consumers and producers. The investigation is based on the view that there has been a transition to value co-creation by consumers and producers, away from the traditional view of value being produced by firms alone, and that this value can be symbolic, emotional and experiential. The thesis shows that this transition has indeed occurred in the music industry. To investigate value and value creation in popular music in the digital age, an in-depth single case study of the independent music industry in South Korea is conducted. Qualitative data was collected, using semi-structured interviews, from independent music consumers and independent record labels. This research reveals that consumers' music consumption is made up of both information-processing and experiential behaviours. Their desire to minimize the inappropriateness and maximize the appropriateness of independent music and its culture contributes to its sustainment and expansion. This research also reveals the online practices of consumers, categorized into three themes: acquisition, relationship and engagement. In addition, the examination of music communities in South Korea shows that consumers are resource integrators. It reveals that the consumption communities are organized and maintained through various operant resources of the participants. The data from the independent record labels reveals that they are trying hard to interact with consumers and benefit from the new media. They are found to conduct four value (co)creation strategies: contacting, bonding, spreading and managing. Finally, this research shows that difficulties in utilizing social media can be categorized into the following: adaptability, uncontrollability, representability and applicability. The key contributions of this research are as follows: Firstly, it extends our understanding of the symbolic consumption of music. Secondly, it identifies a form of consumption community, which can be termed a 'co-creative consumption community'. Lastly, it demonstrates the value (co)creation practices used by consumers and the strategies used by producers. These findings extend the existing knowledge and suggest new evidence that contributes to an increased understanding of the concept of value co-creation, and to consumer research in general. In addition, the findings will benefit marketers and producers, especially in cultural industries such as the music industry.
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBernard Burnes (Supervisor) & Stephen Eldridge (Supervisor)


  • south korea
  • digital culture
  • consumer culture
  • value co-creation
  • music industry

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