How Music Culture Changed Over The Past Years And How Gen Z Played A Role.

Music culture has changed significantly over the years. The development of new musical instruments over the years has allowed the sound of music to become a lot more complex and experimental. Essentially, as culture changes, the style and sound of music also evolves.

Why is Music Important To a Culture?

Many young people all over the world find comfort in music as it unites people and allows us to connect with our communities. Music impacts different cultures in different ways, however, the common factor that music shares in all cultures is the link it has to one’s cultural identity.


How Do Music and Culture Influence One Another?

Music is used to celebrate cultural traditions and connect communities together through the visceral experience of sound. This differs with each cultural community however, many cultural traditions that are celebrated within different communities have music to allow people to feel more connected to their culture.

Kendrick Lamar’s 4th studio album ‘Mr Morale and the Big Steppers’ contrasts hip-hop’s exercising of braggadocio with the troubling socio-economically deprived neighbourhood he grew up in as a young kid in Compton. In ‘The Heart pt.5’ the lead-up single to Mr Morale, Lamar explores the seemingly inexplicable link between the two environments, dubbing it as the “culture”.


“Homies done fucked your baby mama once you hit the yard, that’s culture

Twenty-three hour lockdown, then somebody called

Said your lil’ nephew was shot down, the culture’s involved

I done seen niggas do seventeen, hit the halfway house

Get out and get his brains blown out, looking to buy some weed

Car wash is played out, new GoFundMe accounts’ll proceed

A brand-new victim’ll shatter those dreams, the culture.”


How Does Music Affect Culture?

Music has had significant cultural impact for decades and has shaped societies and cultures around the world. The power of music can sometimes go unrecognised. It has the ability to culturally influence society therefore, artists portray specific messages through their music, creating significant cultural impact. 

An example of this pertains to the influence black artists’ development had on white mainstream artists. “From Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music”. Phinney’s book ‘Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture’, focuses entirely on the major influence of black American culture on American culture. The most prominent examples of the black musical influence are the genres RnB, hip-hop, jazz and blues music.

When Does Gen Z Come Into This?

The way Gen Z has been consuming music varies and has changed over the years. In 2021 going into 2022, I would say that social media, in particular TikTok has been a major contributor in the way Gen Z have discovered and stream new music. In addition, movie soundtracks are another common way of discovering new music. 

As someone who is Gen Z, I have discovered Gen Z music artists via TikTok. Many young artists promote and push their music on platforms such as TikTok, as it is easy to gauge an audience there. Being a playlist curator, this has aided me to find upcoming and undiscovered artists and to also push their music on my playlists. 

On the flip-side, it is difficult to group Gen Z as listening to a specific genre of music as generationally, we gain musical influence from our families but also in rise of the music industry becoming more globalised online, it gives us the access to stream endless amounts of music, regardless of era and geography.

The type of music this generation listens to varies globally and given the borderless capabilities of online communities, Music, within Generation Z, is a major aspect that defines them and arguably. As a result, Gen Z is the most musically diverse generation of them all.

Words by Yohanna Delaportas.

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