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News July 8, 2022

What Kate Bush’s Revival Tells Us About Listening Habits

What Kate Bush’s Revival Tells Us About Listening Habits

Kate Bush makes it a policy never to let her music be used in movies or TV shows, but relented when the directors of “Stranger Things” asked to use her 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).”

The track, from her fifth studio album “Hounds of Love”, has not only become a huge hit again, but in places like Australia and the UK, where it’s gone No.1, has exceeded its original chart peak.

In Australia, it had reached No.6, and No.3 in the U.K., while it stalled at No.30 in the U.S. where it’s now a Top 5 hit.

So aside from the fact the song was placed in a particularly scintillating scene, what does its reboot tell us about our music listening habits?

Research company Luminate this week revealed that in the U.S. music from the ‘80s and ‘90s is equally as listened to as current releases. Older groups still listen to music released when they were teenagers and young adults.

Gen X also tends to tune into music released before they were teenagers.

The study said: “60% of U.S. music listeners born in the ‘90s listen to music from the decade they were born, compared to 52% of those born in the ‘80s, 41% of those born in the ‘70s, and 35% of those born in the ‘60s. 

“While a myriad of other factors could be driving this phenomenon, we also find 44% of listeners born in the ‘90s listen to music for nostalgic purposes – higher than any other decade.”

In Australia, it would be interesting to see how many discovered “Running Up That Hill” on Netflix and how many found it on radio.

The Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO)’s “Music Consumer Insights” in 2019 reported consumers are most likely to discover new music on radio (41%), followed by on YouTube (22%), TV or movie on air (14%) with 11% each on TV/movie on streaming service and on streaming services.

It’s relevant that Kate Bush is a pop artist. 

Pop is the most listened to genre on Australian radio (56%) across a wide range of age groups, according to VMDO, followed by Top40/current hits (42%), rock/ indie rock (38%), country (26%), urban and R&B (25%), hip hop rap (25%) and hard rock, metal and punk (23%).

The Netflix factor was also important for the revival of “Running Up That Hill”.

Millennials (30.8%) and Gen X (24.3%) make up over half of SVOD subscribers, with middle-aged adults at 18.2% and Gen Z at 17.1%.

Netflix is lead service in use (55%) in Australia with 22.4 million downloads of the app by 2021.

It is assumed that Australian Netflix subscribers are similar in their musical obsessions as their U.S. counterparts, as per Luminate.

They spend 20% more time listening to music,

spend 31% more dollars on music and are 28% more likely to use a music streaming service.

As a result, they pick up viral trends quicker.

Netflix subscribers are 30% more likely to use TikTok, Instagram and Twitter than the general population – and are 16% more likely to discover content from social media. 

Bush’s 2022 revival allows it to bring into prominence its original title “A Deal With God”.

The singer wrote it as making a deal with God so women and men could understand each other by exchanging places.

But Bush said that EMI in London that with that title, religious countries like Italy, France, Ireland – and even Australia, apparently! – would ban it.

It’s now generating 700,000 streams each day in the U.K., and dominating TikTok videos across the globe with over 1 million global creations.

In the UK, it’s her first No.1 since 1978’s “Wuthering Heights”. That is the longest gap (44 years) between No.1s, beating Tom Jones’ 42 years.

Now aged 63, Bush is also the oldest female to hit No.1, surpassing Cher who was 52 when “Believe” hit No.1 in 1998.

“Running Up That Hill” is now the song that has taken the longest to reach No.1, its 37 years surpassing the 36 years it took Wham!’s “Last Christmas”.


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