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Location, location, location: how digital platforms reinforce the importance of spatial proximity

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Crowdfunding and other digital mechanisms have the potential to open up cultural production to a broader population. Adopting a spatial approach, we investigate the intermediating role platforms play as a means of considering the debate regarding the egalitarian potential of digital communication. We consider the extent to which platforms relax the tendencies towards the spatial clustering evident in the culture industries through an analysis of two practices: Kickstarter's ‘curated projects’ and ‘badged projects’, which provide some projects with additional promotion. We find that both types of recommended projects tend to cluster in cultural hubs and that they enjoy higher levels of funding than successful projects in general. Rather than relaxing physical constraints on cultural production, Internet platforms reinforce them. We suggest practical steps platforms can take to enhance the egalitarian potential of the markets they set up.
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Keywords: Crowdfunding; culture industries; geography; inequality; intermediaries; platforms

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel 2: Underwood Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA

Publication date: August 24, 2019

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