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Music: the art of connecting people

Sep 28, 2018

Wherever you are in the world, you’re likely to be surrounded by music – it plays an integral role in our everyday lives.  And as the BBC has shown us, this unique art form brings people together like nothing else.

Friday, September 28th was the fourth annual BBC Music Day – an occasion celebrated with live performances, special programs and activities across TV, radio and the web. Just like its predecessors, the event wasn’t short of magical moments, as some of the industry’s biggest stars performed from the stage to the streets. Blossoms kicked things off nice and early at Manchester Piccadilly Station – surprising commuters to a live performance alongside a local choir. And the train announcements were far from the usual; as Kyle Minogue recorded a series of messages to be played at major stations all across the UK – asking passengers to let people “sing and dance their way off the train first before trying to get on board”. Then there was the ADHD Foundation flashmob in Liverpool, where young sufferers were united under umbrellas, and each child was encouraged to share their special superpower with the world. And on Radio 4, Women’s Hour compiled a list of the industry’s most influential women – with Beyoncé named as a well-earned winner. These are just a selection of the day’s events, proving music’s power in uniting and empowering communities and audiences alike.

While audiences were entertained up and down the country, perhaps the most important thing to come out of the event was the launch of Music Memories – a new digital platform aimed at those living with dementia. Users can browse over 1,800 songs by genre and era, and create personal playlists to reconnect them with their most powerful memories. Studies show music can reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other art forms can’t; taking people back to a time in their life they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. As Snow Patrol member Gary Lightbody has commented, “it fires all sorts of things in the brain much more immediately than anything else can, whether it be pictures or home movies or conversations”. 

If there’s one powerful message BBC has reinforced, it’s the significant effect music has on us all. BBC Music Day Ambassador Dame Vera Lynn said “music is so powerful and has the unique ability to comfort and console us, raise our spirits, and unite people from all walks of life by transcending any boundaries of communication or differences of opinion”. And while BBC Music Day brings people together across the UK through a shared love of music, this connection shouldn’t be limited to just one day. Some of the world’s biggest brands use music to connect with their customers all year round. And when used consistently across a variety of consumer touchpoints, it builds identity and trust – ensuring they’re remembered for all the right reasons.