Music, Business and Peace


(Casey) #203

I really like the parallels you mentioned here, Ashley! Slow relaxing tempo in a song puts us at ease.
So perhaps maintaining a smooth tempo in our busy lives and a level-head in business dealings can lead to better negotiations and foster peace.


(Andrew Breest) #204

Great discussion so far!

I am reminded of my recent trip to Cuba with the Kelley Direct program. 20 other MBA students and I visited the country to experience the culture and work with 4 different local businesses. One of the most impactful nights there was at a private art gallery with a live band and DJ. The event was sponsored to sale art, but it was so much more than that. It turned into a gathering of local entrepreneurs in an environment where privatization is relatively new. It also attracts foreign visitors who have money and may be willing to invest in the art and local businesses.

I am not fluent in Spanish, and while some on our team were, most of us were not. When I attended this event with the business I was working with we were able to build a stronger bond by enjoying the same music together. It brought us closer together and helped break down the language barrier.

A previous poster mentioned " ‘muscular bonding’ that refers to the sense of group solidarity listeners experience when they align with musical rhythms and melodies." Our enjoyment of the same music did bring us, and everyone in that room closer together.

Music has the ability to strengthen the peace building process when businesses come together. Especially in an environment where businesses from different cultures come together it can help ease cultural divides.


(Nancy Sue Love) #205

Thanks for this response. Yes, music is a powerful mnemonic device. Catchy tunes tend to “chunk” information in short phrases and/or simple refrains, so that the melody can carry people over any lapses in verbal memory. The alphabet song and counting songs are good examples. In addition to school teachers, political candidates and social movements use musical memory, the former to link name recognition with a popular song and the latter to situate current protests in a longer tradition of justice struggles.


(Russell Miller) #206

Hi Sierra. I agree music is a nudge or inspirational factor in behavior. If it weren’t, why would advertising use it so heavily in their expensive commercials to get us to buy things! As for specific examples, here’s a funny one, not peace or violence, but definitely an action of mine clearly caused by music…

As an elementary schooler I was particularly patriotic and moved by the National Anthem. I always felt something strong when I heard the song. One time I heard the song and I became so moved, I threw up. I vomited out of patriotism caused by the song. I wasn’t sick, I hadn’t eaten anything bad, nothing was wrong with me…an action, in this case vomiting, was directly caused by music!


(Russell Miller) #207

I think peace building as a term can come across as very pie in the sky and idealistic. I don’t think it’s an improvement. Despite the word building, it does not sound like a concrete, constructive term.


(Russell Miller) #208

I sometimes think about the diversification of culture in this country. Think tv for example. Today we have an amazing variety of channels and shows including some really innovative ones that would never air decades ago. Sounds great…but it also means we’ve lost the ability to have easy discussions on shows and share cultural items. When there were 3 channels everyone watched and a few shows on those channels that just about everyone watched, tv could powerfully build culture (pro or con) and people could peacefully share the shows as cultural experiences.

Similar idea I think with music. The variety of music is immense now. There’s something for everyone. That’s great…mostly. The downside is it’s harder for music to reach a truly mass audience and have an impact, including one for peace. I think in music, and generally, we share less culturally as a country today. Some of that is very good, we all get the cultural experiences we want and the variety and quality is great. There’s competition and that promotes improvement. However, something is lost too. Cultural homogeneity is boring and presents us from experiencing some really amazing things…but it also I think strengthens culture’s ability to move us…towards peace or violence.


(Michelle Niblock) #209

Cool find, Ashley! I must admit, I’m guilty of knowing this song and having it in my iTunes library. I’m not surprised it’s Trump’s favorite, as it’s so critical of life in general. Trump never seems to be satisfied (hence why he became a massive real estate tycoon and eventually our Pres), which is exactly what Peggy Lee tries to convey. Nothing can satisfy her as life progresses, it’s just a series of “is that all there is?”

I do have to wonder if there’s some level of PR involvement with the answers though - think someone has already analyzed the meanings of the Peggy Lee song before Trump was allowed to respond?


(Pak Wu) #210

Interesting indeed knowing all their favorite songs. I would think that the president’s aides and staff would review anything going to the public that could be twisted or misunderstood. In this case, I’m not sure if it has been filtered through or not given how unfiltered his twitter account is whether or not if he wrote it or not.

As an aside, here is a recent article trying to decipher if it really is him tweeting or not: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/05/21/trump-tweets-include-grammatical-errors-and-some-them-are-purpose/JeL7AtKLPevJDIIOMG7TrN/story.html


(Jermaine Ross) #211

There is one obstacle that prevents the industry from being as effective, and that’s money. Music is different than corporate America in this regard. I tend to think in the music world more controversial issues sell records, such as violence, or music that is used to motivate people in the sports world. Peace is definitely good for business in general when it comes to selling normal goods and services (tangible things).


(Jermaine Ross) #212

Common ground is the key ingredient to peace building. Find a common ground that will bring the warring parties together, and you can start a dialogue. And the topic of conversation can be anything. Music is a great universal starting point for a common ground, because everyone can usually relate to the message of music.


(Jermaine Ross) #213

When i see this question I think of the song “We Are The World”. That is a GREAT example of peace building thru music. It’s probably the most peace related song I have ever heard. This song could easily be tied to any corporate entity as a “battle” song to promote peace.


(Adam Hallman) #214

Many of the less peaceful, more violent movements and government seem to be fearful of music. For instance, North Korea bans most music, including foreign music, as a way to retain power. ISIL also banned music as it was overtaking a large swath of land in the Middle East and engaging in violent terrorism. These types of violent movements seem to be wary of music and its role in their power-grab.

I witnessed one example of leading to peacebuilding through music and business during a recent trip to Cuba. We met with two different musical groups (a female rap duo and a drum troupe) who were in the process of or recently returned from trips to the US to earn money to support themselves and promote their records and generate business. However, the trip had another purpose: to promote peaceful relations between the US and Cuba. The artists were able to gain a better understanding of the American culture on their trip and through witnessing their musician peers perform at the shows. Americans were able to see Cuban musical creativity and also hear the interpreter tell the stories of the lyrics, including some about the difficulties of life under the embargo.


(Ashley Ryan) #215

I think a couple of you guys have mentioned this - 90% of the time I’d agree but with Trumps tendency to control his narrative and reading why he likes Peggy Lee’s song for example, I almost wonder if that favorite came “from the heart”. Obama has released his Spotify playlists or favorites as well, at least in 2017 - interesting and I’m sure calculated. Would love to go back in time and see how their musical style has or has not influenced their presidential style, if at all.

Question - think if you were to poll the most influential CEO’s and leaders, you’d find any overlap in music tastes/favorite songs? Would be interesting to see if there are common themes and if that is noticeable in how their music preference translates to their leadership style - mellow, loud, in rhythm, eccentric, etc.


(Ashley Ryan) #216

Nancy so interesting - when I think of Hillary Clinton’s campaign I think of “this is my fight song”. I always think of her being on the defensive, esp. near the end so interesting the tone set now looking back on it. Female empowerment, playing that angle and fighting for change, fighting for her causes, etc.


(Ashley Ryan) #217

One other interesting thought after reading some of these political comments - I remember this coming out and it brings a new angle to the concept of music and peace - what happens when a song is used in a way to support a brand, company or in Trumps’ case, campaign and the band wants no affiliation. If the band wants no affiliation due to their belief, perhaps in a non peace focused narrative being shared and their song is used, it’s likely to impact their brand as well. Same for a business. Say I’m Coke for example and Trump drinks one and calls out his love for Coke. If you feel strongly that you don’t share the same morals/ethics with a candidate as a business, you may not want that endorsement. Interesting to think of how music can be unintentionally used to to drive something that may be opposite of what the band intended with the song. I’m sure there are a number of songs that are used in ads, etc. that was never meant to support whatever is being endorsed. Just food for thought!

Here’s a link (again) to the Rolling Stones response that made me think of this: https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/politics/rolling-stones-donald-trump/index.html


(Matthew Chiogioji) #218

Ashley your comment reminds me of the recent story where the owner of a restaurant refused to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders due to disagreements with what her and the Trump administration represent. Although it’s not about music per se, it’s a similar situation which further illustrates your point.

When people create something (whether it is music or a restaurant/business) it is an extension of themselves and they want it to represent their interests. By associating their creation with something unrepresentative of their beliefs, it can negatively impact the creator despite him/her not agreeing with the associated parties.

Here’s a link to the article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2018/06/23/why-a-small-town-restaurant-owner-asked-sarah-huckabee-sanders-to-leave-and-would-do-it-again/?noredirect=on


(Sierra Querns) #219

Russell that is hilarious!! I feel bad for the young version of you, but I just laughed out loud. Great example of music being especially moving. :slight_smile:


(Sierra Querns) #220

Olivier - good point about how old habits die hard. I feel like sometimes, especially in our political climate today, people expect that people will just start acting differently because X child was killed or Y politician was thrown in jail. In reality, no one changes that easily - whether it’s because of character or simple habits - so as a population, we have to educate each other.


(Sierra Querns) #221

Ashley, this is an interesting reference I’m glad you brought up!

This also recently happened with Ed Sheeran - some pro-life group that was advocating against abortion was using his song “Small Bump” as their campaign song. Ed ended up posting an Instagram story in reference to the situation to say that he did not give permission for them to use that song, and that he doesn’t believe in their mission.

In some previous posts, we talked about using music in advertising and marketing to trigger memories and emotions. There’s not often discontent around usage in marketing (often we’re singing along instead), but it’s interesting to see the flip side when there’s serious disagreement.

Actual article on it:


(Hunter Backenstose) #222

Russell - so true! Very powerful advertising vehicle. Three songs that will immediately provide recognition to a company/advertising campaign for me are:

Phillip Phillips - Home (2008 Olympics)
The Killers - All These Things That I’ve Done (Nike Ad) "I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier…"
Sarah McLachlan - In the Arms of an Angel - ASPCA

All of these songs happen to really bring about a sense of community and peace with me.