What If Hewlett and Packard Had Started a Band Instead?

An Examination of a Music Scene as an Economic Cluster

  • Michael Seman University of North Texas


A growing area of discourse in urban economics is the value of artistic production and its role in economic development theory. One arts subsector that has received little attention is popular music. Prior research tangentially acknowledges that music scenes function as economic clusters, but little detailing of their dynamics as such exists. The bulk of attention is paid to how these scenes operate in the framework of the broader music industry, not how they contribute to their surrounding urban economic landscapes. This paper uses Michael Porter's economic cluster theory to examine Denton, Texas' music scene. Findings point to the scene operating as an economic cluster as defined by Porter in addition to catalyzing economic and community development. Results address the existing gap in research leaving the economic value of music scenes underexplored and help detail the necessary conditions for a music scene to develop.

Author Biography

Michael Seman, University of North Texas

Michael Seman ('07 M.S.), Denton :: senior research associate at UNT’s Center for Economic Development and Research, co-edited The Production and Consumption of Music in the Digital Age (Routledge), which is an interdisciplinary look at how digital technologies have influenced music. He also gave a lecture and sat on a panel at the University of Colorado at Denver as part of its 2015 Annual Music and Entertainment Industry Studies Music Business Seminar. 

The City of Denton, Texas