A scientific study has confirmed a connection between the number of heavy metal bands in a nation and that nation’s wealth – concluding that more metal equates to more money.
Analyst Richard Florida has revisited previously-reported statistics and also researched social and financial information going back as much as 10 years. He says he’s proved that the richer a country is, the more heavy music will be found there.
Florida – who admits he’s not a fan of the genre, although he likes Black Sabbath – writes on Citylab: “What we found is that that the number of heavy metal bands in a given country is associated with its wealth and affluence.
“At the country level, the number of heavy metal bands per capita is positively associated with economic output per capita; with level of creativity and entrepreneurship; with share of adults that hold college degrees; as well as overall levels of human development, wellbeing, and satisfaction with life.
“The bottom line? Though metal may be the music of choice for some alienated working-class males, it enjoys its greatest popularity in the most advanced, most tolerant, and knowledge-based places in the world.
“Strange as it may seem, heavy metal springs not from the poisoned slag of alienation and despair – but the loamy soil of post-industrial prosperity.”
Florida emphasises that he’s only proved an association between statistics, and isn’t investigating why it exists. But he suggests a well-developed media environment might be involved, saying: “It is the most advanced and wealthy societies that have the media and entertainment companies, as well as the affluent young consumers with plenty of leisure time who can buy it.”
Other ideas as to why there’s a connection between heavy music and affluence include a theory that many people feel oppressed in well-off societies, and another that easily-accessible music lessons give people the skills to write and play technically demanding compositions.