From ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ to ‘Ukonhauta’ in Nokialand: A Socionomic Perspective on the Mood Shift in Finland's Popular Music from 2006 to 2009
Popular Music, 2016
17 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2018
Date Written: December 31, 2016
Social mood in Finland shifted from generally positive in the spring of 2006 to generally negative by the spring of 2009. We identify this change in mood via eight indicators, including the onset of a financial and macroeconomic crisis, a decline in measures of sentiment, a rise in radical politics and the demise of an iconic business unit of one of the country’s most successful firms. From the point of view of Prechter’s socionomic theory we hypothesize that this change in social mood is also evident in a greater level of pessimism in the songs on the country’s pop chart in 2009 relative to 2006. To test this hypothesis, we introduce and validate a tool to measure optimism and pessimism in popular music. We apply this tool to a random sample of songs from the Finnish pop chart from 2006 and a comparable sample from 2009. Indeed, we find that the sample from 2009 in the aggregate is substantially and significantly more pessimistic than the sample from 2006. The study serves to enrich our understanding of what makes pop songs popular and how popular music is linked psychologically to broader popular culture and other domains of social expression through a shared social mood.
Keywords: socionomic theory, socionomics, financial markets, popular culture, popular music, Finland, stock market, behavioral finance, social mood
JEL Classification: E71, G15, N24
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