Comic books used to be for nerds. Now, they’re a license to print money. They went Comic Book Guy to Gordon Gecko real quick.
I feel you comic book guy pic.twitter.com/t0zquFk1I2
— Reece Percival (@ReecePercival98) October 31, 2017
— Michael H (@mphnyc) December 11, 2014
The cumulative box office haul from the Marvel Cinematic Universe eclipsed $16 billion this year but there are stranger things afoot. Spotify has seen streams of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” spike by 189% since Thor: Ragnarok came out.
Movies are a perfect way to expose a music to a new generation of listeners. “Immigrant Song” came out in 1970, almost 50 years ago. Today’s 18- to 34-year olds weren’t born for at least 10 years after “Immigrant Song” came out — it might as well have not even existed until the new Thor movie made it relevant again.
This isn’t the first time that the MCU has breathed new life into a classic tune. According to Inverse, Blue Suede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” saw a 499% increase in Spotify plays when the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in February of 2014 and a 500% increase when the movie actually came out in August.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a interesting case study. Its characters have been around for decades; Baby Boomers came up on comic books. There’s a nostalgia coefficient associated with characters inside the MCU that makes the movies appealing to otherwise uninterested adults, and the writers and producers make sure to sprinkle in enough memory-triggering elements in the films to satisfy all parties.
In a nutshell, the older viewers like the stuff that reminds them of when they were younger, and the younger viewers like explosions and CGI. The byproduct of Marvel’s plan to satisfy the different segments of their audience is a renaissance for songs like “immigrant Song” and “Hooked on a Feeling.”
Two things can be extrapolated from this phenomenon. First, maybe, just maybe, old people know what they’re talking about. A little Zeppelin or Blue Suede to temper that “devil worship” kids are listening to these days could be just what the doctor ordered.
Second, and more importantly, movies have a trickle down effect in pop culture. Neither “Immigrant Song” or “Hooked on a Feeling” were obscure tracks before being featured in a Marvel movie, but became songs du jour by virtue of being in a hit movie. An engaged audience is receptive to advertising, especially when they don’t know it’s an advertisement.