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The Music Industry and Elections

Music has continuously been played to accompany a variety of moods. If you’re happy, listen to music! If you’re sad, listen to music! If it’s three in the morning, and you still do not understand that one stubborn homework problem… listen to music! Along with its connections to every state of mind, music adds to significant events and holidays. Even in elections, music has consistently played a role throughout time.

To give you a brief history lesson, the majority of popular musicians used to solely create music that was pro-war and pro-government in order to increase patriotism. However, this all changed when an incredible man by the name of Woody Guthrie came along and started to sing music that rallied his listeners. After him, other artists began to sneak their own opinions about civil rights and other less patriotic issues into their music. Over time, musicians have significantly increased the display of their beliefs in their songs. Now, especially during election season, the political and personal ideas of each artist is widely known by the public.

Not only is this exhibited in their music, but also throughout the media. In 2016, many popular artists such as Adele, Neil Young, and Aerosmith asked Donald Trump to stop using their music at his campaign rallies. Throughout the campaign process of the 2020 election, popular artists have voiced their opinions even more through magazine articles, talk shows, and social media. This involves many of them endorsing their preferred candidate and influencing listeners to vote. One example illustrating this are various Latin American singers have given their music to Joe Biden for ads to encourage the voting of Spanish speakers.

As interesting as the opinions of individual artists may be, the music industry’s techniques of increasing voter turnout and education are fascinating. Adding to your lovely history lesson, in 1990, Rock the Vote was founded as a non-partisan and non-profit organization to increase youth voter registration. The number of organizations similar to this has immensely increased, causing many events (primarily virtual of course) to occur over the past few months to educate new voters. In addition to this, entertainment and music groups such as Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Atlantis Records have organized and partnered with popular artists for the same cause. This even includes Spotify, our beloved streaming service, who has created a collection of news podcasts called “Play Your Part” to encourage first-time voters to get engaged. Further efforts have been made by Sony Music Entertainment, which has largely advertised that they will give their voters a paid day off on Election Day. So, I hope you listened to your music and voiced your opinions with your ballot.

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