- NZIER Insight 22 by: Dr Johannah Branson, John Ballingall, and Peter Nicholls with assistance from Jessica Matthewson, 24 December 2010.
The bands fighting it out for the coveted Christmas No.1 are in tune with the latest forecasts for the economy
When we have less money to spend, we not only buy less music, but it seems we also buy different types of music. A recent study of pop music preferences over the past 501 years found that during tough economic times we are more likely to listen to “tougher” artists and songs. Instead of escaping into bright and bubbly pop songs, we turn to more serious and meaningful songs from older and more established artists, for understanding and comfort. The rhythms of recession tend to be darker, longer and slower – like the economy. More cheerful, lighter and faster music booms when the economy does.
So what does New Zealand’s musical preferences suggest about the economic outlook for 2011? Using a highly scientific method, our in-depth analysis of the current New Zealand Top 10 songs (see hyperlink above) aligns well with our take on the economy. The outlook is mixed and messy, like the tunes played by a drunken DJ.
Music stores and other retailers are downbeat this holiday season. Consumer spending has been humming quietly for the past 12 months and, despite ringing tills in the November and December sales, hasn’t risen to its usual Christmas crescendo this year. As the echoes of recession fade, households are still cautious about their spending and focused on repaying debt whilst waiting for employment, wages and the housing market to pick up the beat.