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Cultural ecosystem services: The inspirational value of ecosystems in popular music

Coscieme, Luca
Ecosystem services 2015 v.16 pp. 121-124
Internet, aesthetics, ecosystem services, ecosystems, industry, ingredients, lakes, markets, music, people, rivers, wetlands
Cultural ecosystem services are nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Due to their nonmaterial quality, cultural services are often much more challenging to evaluate than Supporting, Provisioning or Regulating services. However, some cultural services related with the inspirational and esthetic values of nature are the main ingredient of market goods produced and exchanged in marketplaces such as, for example, the music industry or the publishing industry. Starting from this consideration, a first estimation of the inspirational value of ecosystems in popular music is presented in this paper. A web-based search of popular songs inspired by different ecosystems is performed on a 30 million tracks repository. Lakes and rivers are the most represented, while wetlands and coastal systems the least. The total number of “ecosystem inspired” songs is multiplied by the average cost of one song on the iTunes Music Store (i.e. a largely used online music store). The cumulative cost is finally multiplied by the total number of downloads in order to estimate the contribution of cultural ecosystem services to the music industry from 2003 to 2014.