How Does Marketization Affect the Creative Industries?

15 Jan 2020

Culture and business have become increasingly intertwined, and cultural institutions need to be aware of their place in the market. Karin M. Ekström, editor of the just released volume Museum Marketization – Cultural Institutions in the Neoliberal Era, summarizes the work for STI.

STI Experts

The book aims to critically examine marketing activities within museums and cultural institutions. Just a few decades ago, commercial knowledge and marketing were not always seen with a keen eye in the cultural sphere, but is today considered necessary for reaching out. Museums compete not only with other museums and cultural institutions, but with leisure activities of various kinds. Museums and cultural institutions are expected to reach out to a broader group of visitors, including new visitors and visitors from different backgrounds. In order to attract visitors, museums and cultural institutions are expected to offer experiences of a different nature than before. In addition, some institutions are experiencing reduced governmental funding and expected to find revenue from an increased number of visitors, sponsorship and events.

The book aims to lead to a reflection and debate about the marketization of museums and cultural institutions and about marketing as a cultural phenomenon integrated in today’s society. Marketing of museums and cultural institutions offers many benefits, but it is relevant to ask critical questions such as whether the goal of reaching out to many in an easily accessible way may overshadow the importance of good quality? Also, is there a risk that entertainment is prioritized rather than art that challenges and requires more of visitors? Is a stronger focus on efficiency and measurability (eg. number of visitors) among museums and cultural institutions likely to result in outspoken or unspoken tensions between culture and economy?

The book consists of three parts with different focus: 1) Marketization of cultural institutions: tensions between arts and business, 2) Market orientation of museums: redefining the museum’s role, 3) Cultural institutions and marketing tools: branding and sponsorship. The book's 12 chapters are written by researchers in various scientific disciplines in Sweden and internationally.


Museum Marketization – Cultural Institutions in the Neoliberal Era (ed. Karin M. Ekström, Routledge 2020). Buy the book from Routledge.