Researchers study worldwide power of music

Aelsa Butler, IV Leader Staff Writer

Finding interests that span all people groups across the world is not an easy task. Many nations have wildly divergent cultures, affecting everything from games to television programs. When a recreational activity sweeps across cultural lines, it has a great deal of power in the world arena, and a recent study has shown that consumers have found such an activity: listening to music.
Repucom, a market research company for sports and entertainment, reported that of their international sample, 86 percent of all people are “interested” in music, with over half of these professing to be “very interested.”

This number encompasses all demographics, according to the report, and surpasses interests such as film/cinema (83 percent), television (79 percent), and sports (59 percent).

Different genres do have varying levels of interest, with pop and rock being the most popular while classical, reggae, and folk music sit at the bottom of the list. Additionally, international millennials demonstrate a preference for artists like Taylor Swift over Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

These numbers tell us important things about music. For example, they indicate that in terms of consumption, not all music is created equal. Some music does better on the world stage than others.

Up and coming musicians who are looking for an international presence can study the work of performers like Taylor Swift to determine what about her is so appealing to young but diverse audiences.

Record companies can more strategically sign artists, and international businesses can more effectively advertise, choosing their sponsorships based on a target age demographic rather than trying to hit both age-based and cultural groupings.

More importantly, however, the study says something about music that musicians have felt for a long time: for whatever reason, music captivates the world audience in a way other leisure amusements do not. This reality not only validates the music industry but also is encouraging and beneficial for musicians in every sphere.

For music departments at educational institutions, the numbers could indicate that music programs, rather than being one of the first departments to suffer from budget cuts, should, in fact, be the last thing on the chopping block.

For performing musicians, it could mean businesses may be more willing to consider sponsoring concerts. Members of cross-cultural communities could have an increased awareness and support of arts organizations such as concert associations.

Even the world as a whole could benefit from a deeper understanding of the universal interest in music. If music truly bridges the culture gap, perhaps music is a key part of uniting the people of the world.

How this might be done obviously goes beyond the scope of this study, but it is something to think about. The world is trying to tell us that music is a valuable and transient resource. After all, what else does 86 percent of the world agree on?