Music: The Glue That Holds Society Together

Since the beginning of human civilization, music has played an integral role in culture. In our postmodern society, it has begun to take on new shapes. We consume and enjoy music differently, and with this change comes a new set of benefits and cautions. Music has a plethora of benefits, both for humans and for the wider world, and its dominance serves as proof. We appreciate it every day, and only time will tell how it evolves further.


Anna Koontz

Bronx Science students love music, incorporating it in their lives daily. This can be through the various music classes offered at the school, playing music in the hallways, or simply enjoying the beauty of it.

It has been a long day, and I almost fell asleep in more than one class. I plop down on a seat in the subway car, put in my earbuds, and put on one of my favorite playlists, hoping that it will take my mind off of the stress of daily life. My mind soars off into some futuristic midnight city with the sound of the rhythmic drums and arranged synthesizers of M83.

Humans have existed for thousands of years, and music has been one of our most loyal companions through victory and defeat. 

Music can be used for so much more than just providing ambiance at gatherings and parties, as it brings people together at a fundamental level. Since the dawn of time, music has been the magnet that brings people together around a campfire. It has always been used to tell stories, to teach lessons, and to express emotions. 

Music also evolves, as it is always growing to match our tastes. Therefore, it is no surprise that music continues to be an integral part of our society a millennia later, and one’s taste in music has since become a component of their character. When you run into a friend wearing headphones, a go-to question is, “Whatcha listening to?” The world is shifting toward music, and we focus less on other pastimes and spend more time as a society listening to music. For example, the average American listens to about 27 hours of music a week, or over 1,000 hours every year. We also love music at Bronx Science, and music is a big part of the lives of many students at the school. Dustin Nguyen ’25 said, “I usually listen to music for a couple of hours during the school day, and then I enjoy listening to it while I complete my homework.”

Music has become a staple of our society, and our spending habits have begun to reflect that. Spotify has about 500 million users monthly, with more than 200 million users paying for the service. Spotify offers multiple subscription plans, but the most popular is the $10 basic subscription for one user. Since the vast majority of paid users are on this plan, we can value Spotify’s revenue just from subscriptions to be over one billion dollars a month. After accounting for the money made from advertisements, Spotify pulls in an effortless twelve billion dollars annually. While Spotify is not profitable for other reasons, the fact remains that billions of dollars are spent on Spotify and similar streaming platforms every year in Europe and North America.

As our world becomes more modern, our traditions and interests change. In the last twenty years, we have dropped many other pastimes and hobbies and shifted our focus to social media. Despite this, the music world is thriving. This can be accredited to the integration of music into everyday life and how it has become almost unavoidable.

When we open up an app such as TikTok, the first thing we hear is a trendy song in the background of the clip on screen, whether it is a sports clip or an apple pie recipe. If it is a song that we particularly like, it may even make it onto our playlist. Every day, we discover new music that changes who we are as people and deepens our music taste. Thanks to social media, music-related topics can reach further than ever before. For example, #music on TikTok has over 450 billion views, and it is one of the most viewed hashtags on all of TikTok. 

Good music is contagious, and it brings people together in a way that other interests are not able to. Many people come to social media apps such as TikTok solely for the music content, and a select few become so invested in these online communities that they start producing content of their own. This creates a cycle where music fosters a strong community that constantly brings in new people. The content is not even just about creating music; it also has reviews, analyses, and discussions. 

While many people use TikTok to enjoy a broad selection of music-related content, hundreds of niche communities exist to focus on individual bands, artists, or even songs. These communities are very tight-knit and are made up of more diehard fans. While many people enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, not everyone may call themselves a member of the ‘Swiftie’ fandom. The same goes for certain underground rap artists and for just about any artist or band, no matter the popularity. 

While communities like this are, for the most part, positive, every one of these groups has its fair share of downsides and negative aspects. 

For starters, many of the fans present in these smaller groups are diehard fans and look down on anyone simply trying to enjoy the music. This phenomenon is called gatekeeping, and it has become a major problem in the past few years as music-related content started to see massive engagement on online platforms. The fans that have been active in the community for years dislike the new individuals who have gained an interest in the artist, calling themselves fans without being experts on the artist. New fans are often called ‘bandwagons,’ a term used to describe people who flock towards anything gaining popularity, similar to a moth drawn to a flame. This has become a major problem, and many music fan groups that were once focused on fostering a strong community have since experienced a schism of sorts.

Not only have these diehard fans caused drama with newer listeners but also with other regular listeners who are very familiar with artists. These fans are very knowledgeable about their favorite artists and know all of the trivia there is to know. 

When other diehard fans with varying opinions begin to interact with one another, disagreements can become heated quickly. They often devolve into all-out verbal wars in comment sections, with many using divisive threats during arguments. This issue is amplified by the fact that the vast majority of these fans are teenagers, and they have yet to learn the etiquette of social media, becoming more prone to resorting to arguments. 

However, this is only a small portion of the music community, and there are numerous supportive and welcoming music fans as well. Also, as these artists stay in the spotlight for longer, new fans make up more of the fanbase, and more toxic listeners are progressively phased out.

Music and the community surrounding it have also allowed for massive festivals and events to happen, such as Coachella, which rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Alongside this, huge festivals have major economic benefits and lead to developments in the infrastructure needed to host the concerts. 

When cities host music festivals, the city is forced to adapt to the massive influx of people. Miami hosted Rolling Loud 2019, a festival that saw 210,000 attendees. While 210,000 people crowded in one place is seemingly a logistical nightmare, it can come with benefits. More than 200,000 people have to spend money just to get to and stay in Miami, both of which prop up the economy greatly. The food expenditures, and vacation costs such as hotel rooms, throughout the surrounding region are also a part of the experience, creating more cash flow for local businesses in such areas. 

Music has become more than just a secondary art form; it’s become a unique form of expression that other conventional methods cannot match. Music has the ability to convey emotion much more directly than movies and television, which often only convey an undertone of a specific emotion or feeling, nothing more. Music is emotion in a much more visceral form while still being consumable in any place and on any smart device. 

Music can do so much more than bring people together. It also improves our health, both physically and mentally. This is where music shines, and it is one of the aforementioned reasons why music is so integrated into our modern society. 

A study done by the University of Alberta proved that listening to music helped to reduce pain felt during the administration of IV needles. In this case, music helped lower pain in prepubescent children, and more than two-thirds of the group given music were in less distress, as opposed to less than 40% reported in the control group.

Additionally, music has concrete physical benefits for our health. Research done by a hospital in Singapore found that some music actively works to relieve chronic pain. While there are obviously much better medications than a bit of music, it is nice that music can be so beneficial on so many levels. 

All in all, music has become a staple in the lives of many and has the potential to become even bigger than it already is. Spotify plans to have over 1 billion users worldwide by 2030, and more and more people are becoming involved in online music communities. Social media has definitely propagated music and the culture surrounding it, but credit also has to be given to all of the listeners worldwide. 

Without the listeners who actually enjoy the music and push the community forward, events like Coachella or Rolling Loud would not be possible, and thousands of invested creators would not have a platform to express themselves. In the end, music returns to the idea of community and the great people who make modern music what it is, from fans to artists and everyone in between.

Music has become more than just a secondary art form; it’s become a unique form of expression that other conventional methods cannot match.