In the first decade of the 21st century, the term ‘the creative industries’ became ubiquitous and a fashionable notion. The term ‘creativity’ was seen to have value beyond its usage. Corporate businesses saw the economic potential of borrowing from the artistic avant-garde features of its way of working and living. For example the blurring of the ‘work/life’ division; acceptance of relative poverty and economic insecurity in return for job satisfaction; a way of working on short-term projects rather than staying in regular employment; and self-funding. Does this mark the ‘instrumentalization’ of the concept and the formation of the artistic avant-garde? The Conclusion argues that this judgement is too simplistic.