Cultural Cross-Pollination In The Entertainment Industry4 min read

Dec 11, 2018 | CULTURE, GENERAL

What Is Cultural Cross-Pollination?

Let’s begin with something that almost all of us deem to be true.

Fundamentally, art and culture are influenced by the exchange and sharing of ideas. And, as music can be seen as an expression of the culture present at the time, it’s no different.

Cultural cross-pollination, on the other hand, can be broken down to the process of one group of people having an influence on another group of people. This principle can also be extended to art, traditions or basically anything.

The Real-Life Result

We’ve always used the term ‘multi-culturalism’ when considering the coexistence of a diverse group of people. Yet, the real term for what we experience today can rather be referred to as a cross-pollination of cultures.

This is what really happens through the generations, as new cultural identities are created, with new approaches to life and their own unique set of values and beliefs.

The result?

The coming together of people from different cultural backgrounds allow the birth of brand new ideas that promote creativity within society.

How Does Cultural Cross-Pollination Influence Creativity?

The key to creativity, according to Steve Jobs, is to expose yourself ‘to the best things that humans have done and then to bring those things into what you are doing. Read that again if you have to.

Having the ability to combine certain ideas and genres out of different walks of life is essential for innovation and an integral part of the creative-thinking process.

What This Means For Music

Cross-Pollination and collaboration are extremely exciting in the world of music. This is especially true when done on a global scale.

Doing so brings completely different cultures together in order to make something brand new and original. The analogy “trade is to culture as sex is to biology,” from a Wall Street Journal article on the importance of trade in enhancing innovation, captures this concept.

Where Else This Can Be Found

This concept was explored in depth by Annalee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley. Her book Regional Advantage looks at the factors that contribute to the high levels of innovation and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

Essentially, Silicon Valley innovation is robust because of the extensive cross-pollination of ideas between individuals and companies.

Where Do We Draw The Line?

There is a big difference between stealing, sharing and doing something to the mutual benefit of all parties involved.

Reorganizing and rearranging different music in order to come up with something brand new can be a challenging task and therefore the possibilities need to be explored organically.

What’s Cultural Appropriation?

Naturally due to the sensitive nature of taking something from another culture and ‘making it your own’ as this can be described as cultural appropriation, which is a complete no go. Appropriation is when the new community is praised for the particular cultural act, but the old one condemned. That’s why it is appropriation/taking away.

To think that our favourite musicians or artists are geniuses working in their own respective vacuums, completely immune to the influences of the outside world is a very narrow way of thinking.

Music In Today’s Day And Age

Music produced today, or in any age of late, is part of a long storied dialogue, involving a considerable amount of influences from cultures from all across the world. These influences have inspired the transformation of music as we know it today.

Below you can see a picture of the non-Korean K-Pop group called EXP. They have faced criticism for appropriating Korean culture through their music. You can read more about it here in an article by the Odyssey.

Why Cultural Cross-Collaboration Is The Future

Different people have different interests and often these interests are related to one’s ethnic or cultural backgrounds. People today consume diverse music offered on a global scale partly due to the effects of globalization.

Globalization can be defined as the increase in relationships between culture, economy, and people. As the world is moving towards a ‘single’ global society the needs and wants of people start to change. They become influenced by their new environments and the new people and cultures they encounter.

Here is an example of a collaboration between SUPER JUNIOR (South Korea) and Reik (Mexico). These two different groups from different cultures combine to bring something brand new to the table.

Cross-Collaboration Between Artists

Moreover, the cross-pollination of artists is nothing new. Although these have little to do with different cultures, it can be seen how the collaboration between different concepts can be extremely enriching for both parties involved.

This can be especially powerful for newer artists as they attain access to new platforms and larger audiences. Some notable examples from the past include Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne (Rather Be), and Ed Sheeran and Rudimental (Bloodstream).

How South Korea Is Disrupting The Modern Music Industry

We see the success of K-Pop groups all around the world. These groups sometimes even release two versions of a song in order to reach a larger audience. People are interacting with different cultures more than what they have ever before and this is causing new interesting sounds to come out of the industry.

The world is moving faster and faster and therefore music as well. Isn’t it exciting to think of the possibilities and all the new ideas that are in store for us? You can read more about this topic here: How South Korea Is Disrupting The Modern Music Industry.

Empowering multicultural groups and giving them the platform and opportunity to have a voice in the world of music in the correct way is extremely important.

In a world filled with political turmoil as well as countries with extreme nationalist tendencies groups like these can bring a voice to a larger audience and unify the masses.

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