The creative industries are changing shape, driven by digital disruption. Digitization offers both opportunities and new challenges for the creative sector, but what role for them in the digital world?
As we unite to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development in 2021, the creative industries – which underpin and are the lifeblood of the creative economy – matter more than ever. Right now, the creative and cultural industries are completing a technology pivot that has been underway for two decades, which changed the way creativity is delivered: moving from goods to services, and increasingly online.
The rise of digital transformation has been both sped up and shaped by creatives, while at the same time impacting the very creatives that put the skin on the digital and virtual worlds. Digitization offers both opportunities and new challenges for the creative sector. On the one hand, the internet has made it possible to distribute creative work online. Think of streaming services, online publishing, software, digital art and photography, and completely new industries like augmented reality.
On the other hand, digital platforms rarely generate substantial remuneration for content creators and capture a significant share of revenue generated. A global digital divide furthermore persists with repercussions on the creative economy’s ability to be truly inclusive, especially for developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing states, that still need to benefit from the digital dimension of the creative economy.
The Creative Industries and Trade Digitization Forum looks at the major trends and impacts of this step-change on the creative economy and analyses how to harness the benefits for development and trade purposes while offsetting the challenges. The forum is delivered on the premise that the creative economy as an important tool for building a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable future. To do so, the creative industries need to address several factors including rebuilding the creative sector after COVID-19, the future of work, the role of e-commerce platforms as well as terms of trade, gaining access to global distribution networks, building digital skills and capacity, among others. The forum, organized by UNCTAD and Barbados, aims to do just that. It will take place from 29 September to 1 October 2021.