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Strange Sounds: Music, Technology and Culture

by Akash Maurya


The link of globalization with music can be as promising as the other social and cultural manifestations of its impact. In this paper we argue that globalization’s emergence facilitated the creation of a brand new music genre at the beginning of the development of events, and ultimately reshaped the pop genre’s broad spectrum of music, enhancing its consistency and variety.

Globalization and Cultural Uniformity

Before we get into the main argument in the paper, it is essential to focus on the primary quality of globalization which is the reason for the observed effects in promoting the uniformity of culture. While the main objectives of globalization are to bring to the economy through the facilitation of international commerce and collaboration, achievement of both depends on the effectiveness of communication, which is, in turn, dependent on the proficiency of the culture and communication.

Globalization has been widely credited with the development of a more homogeneous cultural space. Certain scholars have pointed to the dominance of American notions and values in this process and propose alternative names like Americanization or McDonaldization to highlight the effects (Pieterse 2015). This argument is not widely accepted because many pieces of evidence support the notion that cultural influence is multi-directional and, therefore, the resulting cultural space takes in elements from all different cultures to the extent the space is exposed (Pieterse 2015). So, it’s sensible to look at the shifts in music genres as a result of globalization-related cultural convergence.

Early Development

One of the main consequences of globalization is growing awareness of foreign cultures , and an equally expanding access to the manifestations of these cultural practices. The effect can be observed in the development of the development of music through time, with increasing introductions of diverse ethnic themes in popular genres as well as the development of new genres. It is nevertheless important to realize that even though it was true that the influence of songs from different cultures was evident throughout Western culture for lengthy period of time (e.g. the jazz genre, Hawaiian guitar and the rumba) but the phenomenon of globalization was accompanied by a distinct musical genre now referred to as global music.

It also had a number of characteristics that allowed it to be seen as an individual result of the phenomenon, instead of an extension of a prior trend. The first is that instead of becoming “pure” (i.e., closest to the original standards as is possible) the world music amalgamated certain key traits with a variety of brand different ones, and was tuned to the tastes of the Western crowd. The second reason was that it made use of the fusion of traditional themes and elements from the old style that was pop, making it more appealing to larger audiences, and proving the concept of originality.

Additionally, musicians who worked within the field, like Peter Gabriel and Brendan Perry utilized unusual musical instruments to play traditional music patterns, which allowed them to produce a distinct sound while still appealing to a wide public. Overall, even though it was original and clearly resembling ethnic musical and world music, the type was more diverse and displayed more diversity than most genres at the time that resulted in its increasing popularity and a smaller but ever-growing popularity.

Integration with Pop Music

The broadness of the global music industry matched well with the homogenizing qualities in pop, which is a prominent leader who established itself as a leading force in establishing both economic and cultural trends. The global music movement veered away from rigidly defined boundaries and focused on the expansion of traits instead of focusing on the roots of music was a factor that made it easy to adapt by pop artists who followed similar philosophies (Panteli, Bittner, Bello, & Dixon, 2017).

In the 1990s, many pop artists included elements initially considered to be only found in traditional music. One of the more well-known cases is Deep Forest, a project that began in 1992 mixing contemporary electronica with recordings of African traditional chants and tribal songs (Taylor 2014). The rhythm of the songs that result is in line with the fast tempo characteristics that is characteristic of both techno and EDM as well as the minimalist harmony structure is similar to the synthesized sound from the underground scene (Arnett 2015).).

However the songs’ samples throughout the songs are clearly referencing the cultures from West Africa and, due to their early dance-related nature they are in line with the overall pattern of modern-day genres. Although the project clearly focuses on dance music the project eventually gained notoriety for its exotic sound and was asked to contribute on a variety of film soundtracks.

Some artists chose a more subtle approach. Instead of focusing on boldly highlighting newly added elements, they decided to incorporate the elements as subtle as they could and compose music in which the elements of various cultures were identical to their Western base.

An excellent illustration of this style is Sting’s 1999 hit single “Desert Rose.” While the methods used in the song are in line with contemporary standards in pop music, the song also contains a segment from an Algerian Rai track performed by Cheb Mami along with several instances of traditional instruments featured in the track. Although some critics criticized the music video and described the track as having a world-music feel but the vast majority of people who heard it interpreted it as a standard pop tune (Hammond 2005).).

The track gained significant acclaim and reached the top 20 of billboards in a variety of countries and then being released in a variety of remix albums across Europe. In particular the Rai chant was incorporated into every version, even versions that had significant modifications to the song’s tempo and beat. This is a testament to the force of the connection that was formed between ethnic and popular elements of music at this period.

At exactly the same moment, similar changes could be seen on the European music scene. The genre that was popular at the time, reggae was introduced into the dance section of pop music during the 1990s in the beginning in the 1990s, with “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base probably the most well-known instance. The song was later being followed by other artists like Mr. President The resulting genre was eventually referred to as euro-reggae (in an allusion to the genre that was the basis of Eurodance). However most European performers quickly took on reggae elements, while maintaining an old-fashioned sound, making the distinction irrelevant.

Current State

The progression described isn’t over yet. The advanced countries have the most of the capacity to set trends as nearly all the big music companies operate inside their boundaries. But they aren’t free from the cultural impacts of globalization. In fact the effect of these influences is greater than it has ever been. The above mentioned cultural convergence is evident in many ways in our daily lives. as one would expect music quickly reflects the shifts.

Shakira’s hit song “Waka-Waka,” written as an official track for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 it features African patterns both in the lyrics and rhythms. Although the song was marred by controversy during the time of its release however, it’s hard to overlook the fact that it’s aimed to be in line with the values of inclusivity and diversity of sports across the globe. The controversy proves that in this kind of environment in 2010, these elements of the official FIFA World Cup song are nearly inevitable.

The power of the media also has an impact on the effects. The mix of local folklore and popular music, which is usually categorized in accordance to the country of the origin (e.g., Korean pop) can be seen as well as influential in the international scene. A study conducted by Bekhuis, Lubbers as well as Ultee (2014) revealed that these types of music are still well-known in their home locales, and that the effect of globalization can actually increase the effects. But, due to the increased the visibility provided through the Web and the exposure to different styles of fusion results in the an interpenetration of various elements and further homogenizes modern pop music from all over the world.


Globalization has created a more culturally open and inclusive environment, by exposing people and communities to the other’s influences, and triggering the adoption of new elements. The following information describes the musical process as described beginning with individual merging and a variety of subgenres, with the world music being one of the more popular. In time the distinctions between the genres began to blur, and they came together to form what we call pop music.

Although the process is definitely in its early stages, it has developed a product which differs substantially from the one that was created thirty years ago, and it is sensible to anticipate more changes to this regard in the near future.

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