GENERATION NOSTALGIA: How capitalizing on this generation’s nostalgic spirit is essential in the music industry today.

 “The first generation to grow up online, millennials exist, Janus-like, on the Internet – simultaneously looking to the past for inspiration and representing the future.”

Vicky Spratt, Deputy Editor, The Debreif

Millennials are quickly gaining a reputation as the nostalgic generation. We are re-living the past through our clothing, re-watching old Friends episodes, and through our social media (#tbt, #fbf, On This Day…etc). In a world of impersonal digital media, we have found comfort in reliving our fond memories through whatever means possible.

Marketing companies have caught on quickly…there are so many companies releasing “throwback” editions of games, clothing, or product branding. Who remembers Pokémon Go? It’s amazing how quickly the app went viral…everyone reminiscing on their Pokémon card collection. While it was short lived, it was impossible to ignore that the creators were on to something huge: they cracked the code on how to market to millennials.

In the same sense, nostalgic sounds seem to have a command the charts today.

Maybe it’s because millennials got sick of hearing the same song formula over and over again…maybe it’s because the nostalgic pattern was beginning to reveal itself. Either way, it has begun to change the dynamics of artists everywhere. More and more artists are beginning to embrace their influences and revive the music that inspired them to become artists in the first place. Whether it’s through a cover of a classic or a subtle nod to 70’s rock, this nostalgia trend is magic to millennial ears.

Here are some artists that are dominating the nostalgic sound right now:

Chris Stapleton: Fresh from a new album release (From A Room: Volume 1), Chris Stapleton is proving that a classic country sound can find a place in the country charts today. The songwriting is understated and simple…matched with the undeniable raspy emotion of Stapleton’s voice, it evokes an intensity that pays tribute to the late great country artists.

Paramore: This one might come as a shock, but the new album, After Laughter, sounds like an 80’s synth playground. Even their album art screams 80’s Macintosh clip art. This has been a highly anticipated release for Paramore fans everywhere, and it completely taps in to that 80’s sound that has rose in popularity over the past year.

Bruno Mars: Bruno Mars is the Michael Jackson of this generation. He is a master at modernizing soul/R&B/funk music. The easy background harmonies matched with hypnotizing beats create an impossibly fresh sound. Every album has tipped a hat to generations past without taking away his unique sound.

There can be an element of negativity attached to nostalgia, but I believe this resurgence of nostalgia among millenials has created a feeling of unity and common ground.

“Our research indicates that nostalgia can have many positive effects: it increases a sense of social connectedness, it boosts self-esteem, it imbues life with meaning, it fosters a sense of continuity across time. These are all important psychological functions.” -Dr. Wildschut (Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Southampton)

Well, if the doctor said so…all hail the tattoo chokers and bulky sneakers! Let’s embrace generation nostalgia.


 Friedman, Lauren. “Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well With Millennials, And How Your Brand Can Benefit.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 03 Aug. 2016. Web. 01 May 2017.

Spratt, Vicky. “Why Are Millennials The Most Nostalgic Generation Ever?” The Debrief. The Debrief, 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 May 2017.