Music and Globalization

I was surprised by the amount of American music we heard through out the places we visited. To be honest, I hadn’t really considered what music French, Dutch, or Germans might listen to, but I never would have guessed it would be mostly American. I remember two specific occasions in which I heard local music. One time was at the restaurant of a hotel and the other was at a party we passed by in the town square of Bremen, though they played American music mixed in).

I first noticed the prevalence of American music at the Sacre Coure overlooking Paris. There were a few people playing music and dancing. I didn’t catch the occasion, but the point is that they were playing American music in English while talking with each other in French. After this initial recognition, I realized this was happening all around me. I heard a variety of genres too. I was discussing this observation with Jesh Ramesh, another student on this trip, and he proposed that this is caused by the internet. He said that English is the language of the internet and several large American companies play a major role in its operation. Because of this, American music is spread and takes hold throughout the world.

As this trip wraps up, I am left with questions. This spread of American music potentially leaves less room for local cultures to express themselves through music. Could the globalization of music potentially develop a single culture worldwide? Is this good or bad? Similar considerations can be taken about food culture. We saw a lot of American food chains in basically every city we visited. In fact, there is a theory about McDonald’s existing in multiple countries minimizing the possibility they’ll go to war. Is it possible that a global music culture could produce similar results? On the other hand, this could lead to the extinction of music cultures in other languages. I’m curious what the music world will be like 20 years from now and how cultures will develop. in the meantime, I’ll continue to ponder these questions.

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