The Pixies and the Keynesian Multiplier

Be it Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney, 50 Cent or Bob Dylan, every musician has their own influences. Their own idols who first inspired them to start creating music. With most cases, people’s influences tend to be from the big shakers in their field. We’re talking the main men, If it’s rock music, Led Zep, if it’s Hip Hop Tupac, if it’s blues Muddy Waters, if it’s country Johnny Cash and so on. However, there are cases where artists garner far more success than that of their idols. A prime example of one of these idols is The Pixies. The Boston band are responsible for inspiring some of the biggest artists ever to make music in their genre, are considered one of the most innovative bands ever and the 2007 BBC documentary Seven Ages of Rock declared them the uncrowned kings of alternative rock. Yet they remain a fairly unknown band in the eyes of most people today and are probably only known by most for their song Where is my mind? which featured on the soundtrack of the film Fight Club. How is it so that they managed to inspire so much more commercially successful music? The Keynesian Multiplier Effect.

The Keynesian Multiplier Effect is a concept in economics which discusses how the spending of money in the economy leads to multiple spin off rounds of further spending. For example, let’s say I decide to spend €10 in a shop on food, €5 of this may be spent by the shopkeeper to buy more food from wholesalers, the wholesaler in turn spends €3 of this on buying from farmers who produce the food, the farmers then spend €1 of this on buying equipment for maintenance of their farm and so on. It basically just means that the value of money spent in a transaction goes beyond the value it had in that first initial transaction, it goes on and continues to multiply out through the economy because money doesn’t just disappear once it is spent, it keeps circulating the economy and continues to be used in further transactions. It’s why you still see Euro coins from 2008.

The effects of this can be seen in The Pixies influence on other bands. The bands, Nirvana, Radiohead, Bush, and The Strokes have all cited The Pixies as being a major influence on their own music. Which means that if it weren’t for The Pixies, these bands may not have produced the same music that they did. Which means that the value generated by The Pixies music goes beyond just that of the success The Pixies had but also to the success that bands who were influenced by them had. To measure this, I will use a number of monthly listeners each band generates as of 09:25 12/04/2017 on Spotify.

The Pixies and The Keynesian Multiplier

As can be seen in the example above, The Pixies have over two million monthly listeners on Spotify (The second lowest on the list). However, bands in this example (apart from Bush) that cite The Pixies as a major influence on their own work garner even more monthly listeners than that, with Nirvana alone nearly having four times as many listeners per month. What this example shows is that like the value of money, the value of music and its influence doesn’t just disappear after its initial first transaction, it circulates through time and is responsible for generating more and more value. So, while The Pixies music may now only generate over 2 million monthly listeners, it is also responsible for generating the value of music by other bands which in this example alone is over 21 million monthly listeners.

by Daragh O’Leary

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