Creative Industries: Art or Not

Creative industries, which are also known as cultural industries, relate to a variety of economic enterprises that involve the production, the creation, and the distribution of knowledge, information, services, and goods that are of some cultural value.

Advertising, design, film, publishing, fashion, and architecture are only some of the notable creative industries. All these include some form of artistic expression, that is, creativity. But are the creative industries concerned more with art or making money?

How Creative Industries Work?

The “industry” portion of creative industries suggests production. That production aims to reach target masses and generate income. Either large or small, all industries share the same objective – to invest, and hopefully, return the money by reaching a broad audience.

Creative industries should not be confused with nonprofit ventures created by cultural institutions without the intention of making a profit. The principal goal of nonprofits is to support and advance either cultural or other goals by relying on donations and foundations.

However, both nonprofit institutions and creative industries rely heavily on the talent of artists in devising their programs. Moreover, both hire specialists that don’t have a particular association with art, such as financial consultants, marketing experts, lawyers, etc.

Art as Industry

Theatre, for example, is a creative industry because a play is produced principally to devise profit for producers, actors, etc. Besides the artistic aspect of a theatre play, artists perform and offer their talents to sell tickets and create public interest.

The artistic aspect doesn’t exclude the financial one and vice versa. In Hollywood, which is one of the largest creative industries in the world, the artistry provided by famous actors, set and sound designers and other artists, is combined with the expertise of producers and directors to create a commodity and gain a profit.

Why is there confusion?

Such is the case with most creative industries as art and culture often overlap with industry. The reason behind this is that artworks such as films, novels, songs, or paintings often produce a lot of interest, and consequently, attain very high market prices.

This aspect of art has often been the target of criticism as many believe that industries turn art into a commodity, hence diminishing art and binding artists to laws of the market. However, everything that is produced, even products of art, automatically becomes a commodity on the market once it is up for sale.

Therefore, creative industries are equally inseparable from art and culture as they are from the mechanisms of the market economy. Just because the commodities, which are produced by creative industries, are sold for profit doesn’t lessen their artistic and cultural quality.

[1] “Art&Business: Creative Industries vs Culture and Arts.” Media Marketing [online] Available at: [Accessed on: 14 Mar. 2020]

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