How Kate Bush is a sign of the times in 2022

Her 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill” has re-entered the charts after 37 years. Writer Nate Rogers talks about what this means for new music.

One of the most popular songs in the world right now came out in 1985. “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush is heavily featured in the new season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which introduced the song to an entirely new audience and placed it higher on the charts than it ever reached during its initial release. The song’s newfound success contributes to a greater trend of nostalgia marketing, which raises the question: If older music becomes more popular than newer music, what happens to newer musicians?

Nate Rogers, a writer and editor based in Los Angeles, recently wrote a story for The Ringer called “Kate Bush, ‘Running Up That Hill,’ and the End of Music Charts as We Knew Them.” He says there’s a history of media falling in and out of popularity, but these peaks have become intensified in the age of streaming.

“The difference between what even was going on 10 years ago and what’s happening now is that [music] is capable of having this viral moment that sweeps everyone in. It was harder for something like that to happen with old music before social media.”

While legacy music gets streamed more, new music is getting streamed less year by year.

“I think there is a legitimate concern in the industry – and I think I share that concern – that new music needs a little bit more help to make sure that they’re not fighting against these massive estates with so much power and so much money and influence.”

He says that this doesn’t necessarily mean that a 37-year-old song going to the top of the charts is a bad thing.

“Maybe we need to all make a conscious effort to be paying attention to new music coming out and young artists, and also enjoying Kate Bush because there’s enough room out there for great old music as well.”

Photo credit: Héctor Achautla/Unsplash


Listen: Writer Nate Rogers talks about how the age of streaming has changed which music we listen to.

 

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Author

  • Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. As a longtime arts and culture reporter and photographer, Hooper has covered stories for NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.