Jazz in the UK – a philosophical dilemma for marketing?

Michael Macaulay, Noel Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marketing is commonly identified as a philosophy rather than a simple business practice and, as such, it sometimes encounters specifically philosophical problems. By looking at the difficulties surrounding the marketing of jazz music in the UK this paper sets out to investigate one of these problems - how can we market a product that we cannot define? By common consent there is no objective definition of jazz, which makes it almost impossible for a listener to identify or recognise what they are listening to and even whether or not they enjoy the music. Thus it is extremely difficult for marketers of jazz to identify, anticipate and satisfy the needs of the jazz consumer. This paper will begin by identifying some of the problems surrounding jazz and marketing in the UK, before analysing some of the inherent contradictions within definitions of jazz as a musical product. It will then discuss the philosophical implications of this for marketing by invoking the concept of the Socratic fallacy, which stipulates that it is wrong to suggest that we cannot understand what we cannot define. This paper will conclude by looking at developments in the philosophy of marketing, and will outline other philosophical paradigms that may be useful to the marketer. It suggests that these philosophical perspectives offer potentially useful insights into the nature of the philosophy of marketing, and for the marketing of jazz specifically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
JournalThe Marketing Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


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