I would say a large challenge in the current times with utilizing music as a peace building instrument are the current methods of music distribution. With Spotify streaming and Apple Music quickly growing as the primary method of music consumption, people are more likely to stay within their current comfort zone with music. As these mediums allow music users to hand pick their music, rather than the former randomization of music as it was when listening to the radio or Pandora. This change in technology will make it more difficult for people to hear new music- music that may change their worldviews and enable peace building.
That’s a good point about the distribution of music changing its potential for peace building, Emily. Music has historically been used to transcend cultures (I think of musicians like the Beatles and the British Invasion or Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine) as bringing a cultural understanding along with good music. Experiencing new types of music is more difficult with online streaming since most new suggestions are similar to your picks that are inspired by past listening, even if you are open to new music. I will be interested to see long-term how the industry evolves and if community through music is enhanced or deteriorates because of new distribution channels.
I think this post, Olivier, is compelling. Unfortunately (and sadly) it can’t be assumed that those organizing event to drive peace building truly intended that and don’t have a different or more broad agenda. This leads to a lot of second guessing. I think motivating all to assume positive intent from the organizer is a great opportunity in communities today where doubt can exist.
Fanastic post, Anna! Really interesting thoughts on the power of music. I like how you reference the frequency of artists drawing on personal difficult times for inspiration for their lyrics, and how much music pulls them out of it.
Great question! Yes, absolutely, the best global brands take a very serious approach to international marketing. Music changes, of course, but usually it’s a much greater undertaking than that as the entire approach may be different. I had the opportunity to work with P&G, and think they’re an example of a brand that does it really well. Sometimes the simplest CPG products require the most thought. For example, how they advertise razors here in the US is drastically different to how they advertise them in India.
Great observation, Anna. I think music absolutely can build team and fan spirit and on a larger scale can build peace through huge sports conglomerates such as the NFL and FIFA. Funny to think that the connection of music and sports starts from the “Little League” days - “g-double-o-y-e-y-e good eye good eye good eye…” and continues on to the pros. As a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder (yes, really) I can personally attest to the astounding stadium participation when the Shout song comes on. But it would be interesting to study if these team songs and chants often have the alternative effect, causing strife between fans of opposing teams.
Hi Jermaine, although I have a limited understanding on the money-making part of the music business, I do agree that money is a main challenge that limits the further advancement of music-business-peace partnership. It seems that certain music tracks are only promoted due to their controversial lyrics or music videos.
Hi Linda, thank you! I have not written music myself but I have stumbled upon many artists who speak to their song-writing process and having to tap into those vulnerable moments that I believe further human connection.
Hi Michelle, it’s ok, I married a Vikings fan so I can relate to some level! I went back and forth about the fight songs because I agree that in a heated match many fans turn to violence, strife or over-competitiveness; all feelings that don’t resonate with the concept of peace.
I also find the ASPCA music and ad very powerful!
Speaking of the military, I wonder how much soldiers are inspired by music and music videos…in terms of whether they serve and what they do when they serve. Some music seems powerful, seems like it could be a nudge to military service, but do people here have real life experience in the military and care to comment on music’s role if any in service? I thought Citizen Soldier was powerful:
Anna, I couldn’t agree with you more. Peace doesn’t see as well as controversy. It’s like the news. No one is going to read the paper if everything is going great. There has to be some drama aspect to held people’s attention. The world needs more peace promoting, but there are some greedy people that will ensure that peace is challenged.
Along the same lines, fans also can get out of hand sometimes with the songs/chants they sing. Specifically there have been multiple instances of racist chants in soccer games across Europe; where fans cross the line and act inexcusably. For example in this clip (https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-united-racism-shinji-kagawa-video-pearl-harbour-racist-song-a8079601.html) where fans allege a Japanese player’s grandfather was involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
I do believe that most team songs and chants bring people together but it is also important to acknowledge that group think can come in to play and influence people to cross the line.
It is an interesting line to toe Matthew, I agree.
Songs, chants, university fight songs, etc can certainly unite a group. But it also makes us further differentiate and try to classify ourselves rather than trying to unite each other. It is the “Us. Vs. Them” mentality that @Timothy_L_Fort discusses in his “How God Made Notre Dame #1 and Other Spiritual Truths.”
This is an interesting question. Music seems to play a big role in many of the recruitment ads for the military. Music is of course often in the service of advertising but particularly when making an emotional appeal as in military ads.
The World Cup seems to have highlighted the more peaceful side of team chants—e.g., Iceland’s fans cheering their team on. While there have been some ugly moments of stars and former stars behaving badly, this seems for the most part a friendly international competition. It’s also interesting to me that many of the more popular soccer chants are not country or team specific.
It is funny that you mention this because when I was younger I just about had pen to paper to go into OCS (Officer Boot Camp essentially for people that did not do the Academy or ROTC) and I have one song that will ALWAYS remind me of that moment of my life (recruitment period). Hozier - From Eden. I did not end up following through with it, but it has been many years and every time I hear that song, it will bring me back to the emotions I was feeling during that period of my life.
First off, I like that Pandora is now the ancient form of music distribution LOL…You are not wrong.
Second, I think I could agree, but could also argue the other way. What about the mass exposure we get from social media, advertising, movies? I personally am always finding new songs/“genres” from these sources.
You would think the World Cup and soccer in general is an avenue to advocate peace.
After all it is referred to as “the world’s game” and “the beautiful game.”
Additionally, what do they call exhibitions or non-consequential games between two teams in soccer? They are referred to as a “friendly.”
The language inherent in soccer perhaps speaks of peace which is interesting considering you often hear of stories of fan violence, mistreatment, and even death surrounding competitive soccer matches. Not to mention the corruption from soccer organizations like FIFA.
Just googling “World Cup building peace”, I found an article that stated research that found a “connection between soccer and nation-building has found that between 2000 and 2015, countries that even just barely qualified for the African Cup of Nations experienced significantly less conflict in the following six months than countries that did not qualify.”
It is obviously the most watched sporting event, reaching almost half the world population every 4 years! Pretty wild. Very easy to say that it is advocating for peace.