A new study released this week on CityLab points out that heavy metal, for all its doom and gloom, might actually rise from the richest, and perhaps happiest nations on Earth. One might expect a genre so closely associated with nihilism and cult fan movements to be most strongly affiliated with the lower and middle classes; however, one of the study’s co-authors points out:
At the country-level, the number of heavy metal bands per capita is positively associated with economic output per capita (.71); level of creativity (.71) and entrepreneurship (.66); share of adults that hold college degrees (.68); as well as overall levels of human development (.79), well-being, and satisfaction with life (.60).
Nations where metal is most popular happen to include the nations of Scandinavia, places where the economy still runs strong and locals enjoy the benefits of strong social programs and advanced education systems. Maybe one could draw from this that rich countries like metal more because they actually have the money that it takes to set up and support a thriving local music scene (keep in mind that making music is usually expensive). Or maybe you could just be a cynical asshole and suggest that the wealthy simply have more time to worry about being bored and sad.
It’s not to say that you can’t enjoy metal if you work at McDonald’s or flunked out of the sixth grade, but the tendency of metal to be more popular in the wealthiest nations (the United States, Canada, and most of Europe are also popular metal destinations) is striking. Read the article yourself and draw your own conclusions. Whatever the root cause of these findings are, it’s undeniable at this point that metal is popular in the frigid North, something we all sort of already knew.