Publication Type

Working Paper



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Digital technologies are profoundly transforming the production and consumption of culture and entertainment products. The emerging digital re-mix culture is an open source approach where content products in the arts and entertainment industries are increasingly rearranged, manipulated, and extended in the process of creating new works. This article offers a unified description of the tools and techniques that led to the development of the open source culture and that enable the processes which promote re-use of previously recorded materials. It then lays out the incentives and forces that either promote or inhibit the development, distribution, and consumption of modified cultural content by individual consumers and by derivative artists. Using multiple perspectives from economics, design sciences, and arts and culture, new theory is built to suggest how "rip, mix and burn" strategies based on re-use and recombination of content components can create significant economic value, stimulate artistic innovation, and spur creativity and growth in the culture and entertainment industry. The potential for wealth transfer and who loses and who gains in the open source digital re-mix culture are explored. The creative and economic forces enabled by digital re-use technologies are shown to play a significant role in the observed move towards more open source and social production modes in the culture industries. Five-mini case studies provide supporting perspectives for the proposed interdisciplinary theory of open source digital re-mix culture.


digital culture, digital entertainment, digital music, information goods, innovation and creativity, theory development, interdisciplinary theory, open source culture, re-mix, social production


Computer Sciences | Management Information Systems

Research Areas

Information Systems and Management

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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