There have been a number of responses regarding my research on the relationship Billboard Hot 100 charts and the state of the economy. It seems there are two conflicting schools of thoughts involved in the debate, the music-aficionados and the economists. The focus of my work was intended to based on neither of these two categories. It was an attempt to explore the question, “why do human beings listen to music?”
This is a recurring theme from this blog, and something I’m passionate about exploring. The fact that every single culture in the world has music, listens to it and enjoys it is extremely significant. All of our biological and psychological traits that exist today are there for a reason.
They provided a distinct survival advantage over our ancestors.
The people that liked music survived, and the ones that did not died.
The million dollar question is, “What survival advantage does music provide?”
My colleague, Philip Maymin wrote an excellent paper a few years ago analyzing the S&P 500 index and how it relates to beat variance. His conclusions were astounding, that there is a negative relation between music and market volatility. In rough economic times, we prefer steadier music and vice versa. His data is able to analyze a very subtle and implicit aspect of music that can often go underneath the radar.
When dealing with something more obvious such as key and tempo, it becomes a bit more broader of an argument as less variables are involved. Beat variance is something that exist cross-genre between different styles of popular music.
I think it’s an important read for people to understand that it’s very possible that something else is going on regarding how important music is to both culture and our survival, which may be a linked trait. If anything, read the introduction to see the studies he uses to back up his work.