The author lays out her journey to specialization in cultural economics from her school days to the present. Along the way, she was involved in setting up the Master’s degree in Cultural Economics and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), where she taught courses in cultural economics and economics creative industries for a number of years. Within cultural economics, she specializes in the economics of copyright and was involved in the development of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues (SERCI). The main focus of her work has been on artists’ labour markets and the role of copyright in paying creators and performers. In her long career, Ruth Towse has taught economics on a variety of courses, always in the belief that its application, both theoretical and empirical, illuminates policy issues even in the cultural arena, which is often regarded in some sense above economics. Her work and that of other cultural economists has repeatedly shown how it does so.
Contracts set out work conditions and payment terms between creators and performers of all kinds and intermediaries (publishers and other producers) in the creative industries. The chapter highlights Caves’ book Creative Industries: Contracts Between Art and Commerce, which explains both the underlying economics of contracting within an industry and the various deals that are made with creators and performers, providing a wealth of examples of contracts in the creative industries.
Copyright protects the work of creators and performers from being copied without their permission, enabling them to control its use and so to require payment for it. What that payment is – usually a royalty – depends upon conditions in the market in which it is used. The chapter discusses the outcome in terms of income from copyright, using evidence from one of the early surveys of copyright earnings, and shows how the results can be presented using the Lorenz curve to demonstrate both low and also how unequal earnings are.
BBC3 is a television channel in the UK that targets young people. In 2015 the BBC transferred it from over-the air broadcasting to a digital channel accessed by the BBC iPlayer catch-up service. The BBC is a public sector broadcaster (psb) and its digital policy has to comply with its psb mandate; this transfer was part of a cost-cutting policy. An article by Doyle (2016) reviewing the economics of psb and the transfer to digital provides the basis for the discussion in this chapter.