Cassette; Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

From Tapes to Samples: How Music Uses Nostalgia

The sound of hundreds of people around the world kicking themselves can be heard with the news that tapes are actually making a comeback. 2019 is set to double the tape sales of 2018 and see many high-profile names releasing music on tapes. While Vinyl made its comeback to record collectors’ delight several years ago, many expected the outdated tape to be relegated to history. But, our love for nostalgia means that tapes are back and the way we listen to music could continue to change once again. But, why do we enjoy nostalgia so much, especially when it comes to music?

Songs take advantage of our love of nostalgia in order to connect with listeners. Kygo’s latest single with the vocals of Whitney Houston (who died in 2012) helped bring a nostalgic factor reminiscent of her music to us when we listen. While sampling songs from the past helps modern artists and songs connect with audiences who would appreciate the connections. 2019 has given us Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings which sampled My Favorite Things from 1959, while Lil Nas X’s Panini sampled Nirvana’s In Bloom. Sampling is often effective in music and helps artists call on the popularity of what they are sampling.

The reformation of bands also signals our love of nostalgia when it comes to music. 2019 alone has seen the reformation of The Pussycat Dolls, My Chemical Romance, Roxy Music (albeit for one show), the Jonas Brothers, and Heart. It’s always a heart-breaking time as a fan when a band breaks up. The reformation of bands gives us a healthy dose of nostalgia and bittersweet memories as we think back to what made us love them in the first place, and who we were as people back when we listened to them. While the bands are able to tap into a younger audience, they will also be supported by their loyal fans.

It’s not just music that brings trends back. Digital technology means that we can take past times that were popular back then and give them a makeover to make them suitable for a modern audience. Pokémon, for instance, continues to update its offering with new consoles and ways of connecting, while keeping its core gameplay the same and appealing to fans new and old. As the list of trusted bingo sites shows, the popular classic game has been repackaged for an online audience and retains the gameplay while introducing a modern way of playing it. Remakes of films – especially Disney films – connect with an audience who loved the originals and are increasing in their prevalence.

Nostalgia in music is part of the reason for its success. We listen to songs and they remind us of people, of events, of who we were. We re-listen to albums that bring us positive memories and help transform negative ones. So it makes sense that the business of music would surround itself in nostalgia. Whether this is the format of how we listen to music, the types of music we listen to, or the artists who produce the music for us.

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