The Nostalgia Popular Music Market: Why do we prefer live over recorded?


As we move toward the third decade since the millennium celebrations, the interrelationship of music and nostalgia continues to be profound. Perhaps the best example of this includes the clear visibility of ‘vintage’ artists in worldwide ticket sales, with Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones occupying first and fifth spot respectively in 2016. Analysis of pollstar statistics reveal the popularity of AC/DC, U2 and Fleetwood Mac in 2015, Paul McCartney, The Eagles and Billy Joel in 2014 and Bon Jovi in 2013, proving that, despite the emergence of younger artists such as One Direction and Adele, the nostalgia market makes a significant contribution toward the economic prosperity of live popular music industry worldwide. However, it appears that this is not the case when we consider record sales – in its broadest sense. Examining the official UK charts in 2016 reveal Coldplay to be the only artist who can remotely be considered ‘vintage’. Examining chart data in America reveals a similar trend, with David Bowie representing the only artist in the top ten album sales, although a considerable way behind the likes of Drake and Adele. Although there are no vintage artists in the top 10 album or single streams, vinyl sales are different, with Miles Davis, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Prince and David Bowie all occupying the top ten. This appears to  reveal a link between vintage music and the means of consumption. So my question is this, why is it that the nostalgia market is more related to live performance consumption as opposed to recording?

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
This entry was posted in Live Music, Musicology, Nostalgia, nostalgia industry, Popular Music, recording industry, vinyl sales. Bookmark the permalink.

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