A contextual theory of accessing music: Consumer behaviour and ethical arguments

Ercilia García-Álvarez, Jordi López Sintas, Konstantina Zerva


Previous research into the ethics of accessing information goods using alternative means (the informal economy or social exchanges) has failed to study the moral arguments used by music consumers to justify their behaviour or explain actions they considered to be (un)ethical. To fill this gap, we conducted a study from the perspective of music consumers in which we grounded a theory that would explain and predict individual arguments and behaviour. Our findings suggest that the morality of accessing culture depends on the social, economic and cultural context in which an individual has been raised. Interestingly, this contextual aspect interacts with economic and cultural resources, affecting the moral arguments used to justify behaviour. Lastly, we describe a model that explains variations in the contextual theory in regard to accessing music and that predicts consumer behaviour in other countries that can be classified in either of the two contexts delineated in our research.

Palabras clave

ethical decision making, music consumption, peer-to-peer networks, consumer research, social exchanges, accessing music, grounded theory

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