What are Creative Industries?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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Creative industries are industries focusing on the production of creative work, ranging from film and television production to fine arts. This differs from cultural industries that preserve, protect, and promote national heritage in museums and tourism campaigns. Many nations promote both of these industries using a variety of programs, including tax incentives, grants, and government underwriting for major projects. In individual countries, the definitions and boundaries may blur.

Creative work includes visual art, music, writing, performing arts, design, production for the screen, and related activities. Members of creative industries are often innovative and artistic, and include artists, support personnel, technical experts, agents, and representatives. Rather than performing this kind of work with specific economic goals in mind, people do it for its intrinsic merits, whether conveying information to people through books or entertaining crowds at concerts.

Economic prospects for creative industries can vary. Supply and demand are not necessarily stable, and because this type of work is not a necessity for life, difficult economic times can lead to a decrease in interest from members of the public, or to a shift in public demands. People may be more interested in television and movies than expensive works of fine art, for example, because they appreciate what they can afford. Cultural tastes in creative work also shift over time, and artists must set trends as well as adapting to them.


People working in creative industries may be independent or freelancers, or could work for companies like publishers and production houses. Rates of pay vary and may include benefits for employees. Job security is dependent on the type of work a person does, and the level of skill. Someone like a talented sound editor with years of experience will be a valuable asset, while an administrative assistant may not be as integral to the successful production of creative work.

Countries track the health of their creative industries, looking for trends and areas of concern. Contributions to cultural heritage through art and other creative work are an important way for nations to build up economic and cultural capital over time; a nation with numerous famous creative works can attract tourists, as well as people interested in the art market. The lines between cultural and creative industries can be difficult to draw in some cases. For example, a city with a famous orchestra or opera house could consider it both creative and cultural, as it adds to the city's cultural history while contributing performing arts to the city's creative industries.


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