Number of Metal Bands in a Country Is an Indicator of Its Wealth, Report Claims

"Metal enjoys its greatest popularity in most advanced, tolerant, knowledge-based places in the world," report reads.

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An interesting report has recently surfaced on City Lab, elaborating how the presence of heavy metal music is in fact an indicator of the given country's wealth.

Noting how metal "sprouted originally from working-class kids in economically ravaged, de-industrialized places like Birmingham, England," the article goes on to point at the world map presented two years ago, showing the density of metal bands per 100,000 residents.

As the image clearly shows, the highest metal density is scored in the Scandinavian region, a part of the world known for wealth and rather high life quality.

The report continues by quoting a decade-old Mark Ames article "Black Metal Nation: What Do Norwegian Dirtheads and Richard Perle Have in Common?"

"Norway is not only a completely humorless society ... but ... a deeply oppressive society, in a recognizably bland, caring, pious, Social Democratic way," the Ames piece reads.

Based on that, the author adds, "Metalheads experience their boredom, he speculated, as 'real suffering.' According to this logic, metal may instead be the product of affluent societies, a countercultural backlash for the privileged."

Digging a little deeper, the author found that "Scandinavia's proclivity for heavy metal bands" can be attributed "to its governments' efforts to put compulsory music training in schools, which created a generation with the musical chop to meet metal's technical demands."

Additionally, a surprising conclusion was reached - "the number of heavy metal bands in a given country is associated with its wealth and affluence."

Summing it all up, the author noted, "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. This makes sense after all: while new musical forms may spring from disadvantaged, disgruntled, or marginalized groups, it is the most advanced and wealthy societies that have the media and entertainment companies that can propagate new sounds and genres, as well as the affluent young consumers with plenty of leisure time who can buy it," the report concludes.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BlackLabel5150
    And in related news, more left handed people die each year using right handed scissors than total number of shark attacks...
    dentrix
    Hmm not sure about this, there could be a multitude of reasons for the smaller number of heavy metal bands in these countries that has nothing to do with the wealth of the country Correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, see this website, spurious correlations: http://www.tylervigen.com/ I particularly like the correlation between swimming pool drownings and films featuring Nicolas Cage
    VíctorG
    This. It doesn't mean there is a direct correlation between Metal bands and wealth as there are way more variables contaminating there. It's like saying intelligence correlates with weight in a school, obviosly age is the one that modifies the correlation. But the Nicolas Cage one is better.
    ufchillsborough
    Umm... I usually enjoy a good ole' socio-economic analysis but Greece puts a huge hole in this theory. Also Saudi Arabia and UAE are uber rich and don't have the same concentration of metalheads as scandinavia. Its probably more related to europeans exposed to hard rock and symphonic post-modern music. I don't have a study to back it up but the "wealth begets metal" theory seems very far fetched.
    USCENDONE BENE
    Greece has bangin' metal scene and a terrible economy. "Digging a little deeper, the author found that "Scandinavia's proclivity for heavy metal bands" can be attributed "to its governments' efforts to put compulsory music training in schools, which created a generation with the musical chop to meet metal's technical demands."" I'm pretty sure their 'proclivity' for heavy metal came from nihilistic and misanthropic views.
    N7Crazy
    Have you ever been to Scandinavia? Despite the stereotype, we aren't exactly nihilists nor misanthropists (we're discluding Finland here - The only rest Finland gets from its national melancholy is drinking Salmari and shooting bears, preferably both.) - What we do have however is a pretty open society where stepping outside the norm is not only accepted, it's recommended and pays off socially. This has resulted in a huge and thriving underground culture across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, which often is on the frontline with new sounds, be it original or from abroad.
    Kueller917
    Large numbers of metal bands I see tend to come from middle class so it's somewhat understandable to have a connection.
    Emol1996
    I think that what it all comes down to is education level and creativity of people that live in the region. But i also see religious tendencies behind it i mean you don't see a lot of metal bands in places like Saudi Arabia for a reason.
    Dude475
    This article = NO. Metal bands hardly make any money and are usually a side job for the band members main job
    purplexing
    Because their rich mommies and daddies allow them to be able to maintain their standard of living. Who the hell can earn a living from a part time entry level job?
    TheJoazzz
    finnish dude here. i don't know where you're getting your facts from, but let me inform you that the "rich mommies and daddies" thing is a myth and a big bunch of ignorant generalization bullsh*t. what Dude475 is saying is actually very close to the reality. sure we might be a wealthy country, but where's the wealth? i haven't seen any yet and they're constantly cutting education and social services too. it can be very hard to get by around here and "mommies and daddies" are surprisingly often very, very far from "rich".
    purplexing
    Again, tell me how someone can afford food, shelter, transportation, and gear with an entry level part-time job. The math doesn't add up.
    Second Rate
    They don't afford food, shelter, transportation, and gear with an entry level part time job because most of the have full time jobs you ignorant twat. Contrary to the old, worn out stereotype, not all metal guys are jockeying a cash register at the local McDonald's. A good portion of them have jobs that could be considered quite middle class, some of them even own their own businesses. That's how they put food on the table, roofs over their heads, etc. That's all the words I'm gonna waste on you, as I know you're just another one of those "derp... dem metal guyz am stupidz" twats.
    TreyR
    I am from Czech Republic, and if I look at that map, I can only say "bullshit". Because people from Canada and USA are definitely richer than Czech people (from economic point of view).
    Filipus
    Portugal is almost on top and the country is going down. I don't trust this graphics haha