Conference Proceeding

From 'Spiral Scratch' to PledgeMusic: The Birth and Rebirth of Punk Culture's Entrepreneurial Spirit


Wohlfeil M (2017) From 'Spiral Scratch' to PledgeMusic: The Birth and Rebirth of Punk Culture's Entrepreneurial Spirit. In: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing 2017 Conference. Academy of Marketing (UK) Annual Conference 2017, Hull, 03.07.2017-06.07.2017. Helensburgh, Scotland: Academy of Marketing.

Punk has come a long way from its prematurely declared death in the early-1980s to being not-so-dead after all in the 1990s to still being ‘alive, loud and kicking’ today. This conceptual paper examines how punk culture’s inherent entrepreneurial DIY spirit has kept it alive after punk’s return to its underground origins. While much has been made in the recent literature of social media and the digital revolution’s supposed role in democratising consumers’ access to the marketplace, (self-)branding, entrepreneurship, crowdsourcing and co-creation of products and meaning have been at the heart of punk culture from its beginning – and long before people ever dreamed of digitalisation. Buzzcocks’ self-funded EP ‘Spiral Scratch’ is widely credited with being the first independent and crowdfunded record ever to hit the marketplace. Although most classic punk bands were actually signed by major record labels, numerous independent record labels have followed the ‘Spiral Scratch’ business model ever since. In recent years, after being dropped by their labels, many of those bands have moved to PledgeMusic; not only to crowdfund and sell their new albums, but also to revive the entrepreneurial spirit of the past that has truly ‘democratised’ the marketplace. Interestingly, PledgeMusic’s most popular music format is vinyl.

Punk music; punk culture; PledgeMusic; DIY entrepreneurship; co-creation; crowdfunding; co-production

Publication date31/07/2017
Publication date online31/07/2017
PublisherAcademy of Marketing
Publisher URL…conference-2017/
Place of publicationHelensburgh, Scotland
ConferenceAcademy of Marketing (UK) Annual Conference 2017
Conference locationHull