Ongoing History Daily: Music and economics

Those who study these things notice that there’s a correlation between music and the economy.  It basically boils down to this: tough times mean people gravitate towards tough songs and tough artists.  When times are good, the population as a whole move towards pop music.

There have been many academic studies into this sort of thing that have confirmed this. For example, the recession of the early 70s helped spawn punk. Hardcore came out of the recession of the early 80s. The recession of 1990-91 gave us grunge. Rock was reborn after the dot-com crash about in the early part of the 2000s.

But then this relationship started to break down with the rise of streaming in the latest 2010s, most likely because every person with a smartphone was put in charge of their own musical destiny. There wasn’t a big uptick in heavy music during the rough economic times of COVID, either.

With inflation and high interest rates, will we see more rock in 2023? We’ll see.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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