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How TikTok And Spotify Have Killed The "Song Of The Summer"

Consumer habits have changed, and with it the music industry – gone are the days when one hit song would define the sound of an entire summer. But why have we abandoned this iconic practice, and what has the race turned into in our modern day?

Photograph of a woman dancing the Macarena with a group of party-goers in Acapulco, Mexico.

March 9, 2003, Acapulco, Mexico; Party-goers dance the 'Macarena' in a group

Keith Dannemiller/ZUMA
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — More than 20 years have passed since Sonia and Selena released their hit song Yo Quiero Bailar, a tune that was destined to return in 2021 to top the Spanish charts once more. Despite its two decades of life, the hit came back to bars and clubs all over the country simply because the iconic "cuando llega el calor" (when the heat comes in) lyrics capture something in the season's spirit.

King África and "La Bomba" are also part of Spain's summery melodic history, just like other songs such as Las Ketchup's "Aserejé," Chayanne's "Torero," or Los del Río's "Macarena."

For decades, we have known exactly which song was the reigning chart-topper for the months of July and August, an unequivocal (and inescapable) cultural phenomenon. But this year, like the past couple of years, something has changed. Pedro del Corral, a music journalist, explains the phenomenon of the Song of the Summer, as we know it, is dead.

"It won't matter if it's the most popular singers contending," he said. "They still won't ever attain such a coveted title."

New sounds and moves

There are several reasons we can point to explain this decline. One of the main factors is that artists are seeking original-sounding production that allows them to stand out from the rest, distancing themselves from overly familiar formulas that often supply us with the big summer hit. "In other words, they no longer use catchy melodies and simplistic choruses."

Rather than being tailored for people to dance together, they're designed to go viral on TikTok.

Del Corral also explains that popular dances associated with songs have persisted, but evolved. Now, rather than being tailored for people to dance together, "they are designed to go viral on TikTok, instead of holding true to the charm they've been traditionally associated with."

The journalist emphasizes that it's also important to consider that the industry has changed, and until the emergence of Spotify, summer and Christmas were seen as big sales periods: "To boost the modest year-round sales, record labels would bet on a song to try and get a big hit that would get them featured in the Caribe Mix compilation and mentioned in Super Pop magazine.This was the quickest way to sell thousands of records and, of course, participate in events sponsored by local towns."

Photograph of \u200bAlan Duffy performing live as King Africa in Puerto del Rosario

Alan Duffy performing live as King Africa in Puerto del Rosario

Oscar Benito Fraile/Wikimedia

Spoiled for choice

The critic also points out that television played a significant role in the success of past hits: appearing on shows like "Noche de Fiesta" (Party Night) guaranteed you a massive audience that is nearly impossible to find nowadays.

"It guaranteed an intergenerational impact that the more individualistic and fragmented internet of today will hardly achieve," he explains. "The new technologies have not only changed the way music is consumed but also how it's presented to the world. That's why now, artists take great care in the material they release: it's their strongest card to reach the widest audience possible."

The Song of the Summer is a phenomenon we leave behind as a consequence of the evolving times. Del Corral concludes: "In the past, popular culture primarily consumed what appeared on radio and television, so choice was limited. Now we have access to the entire spectrum provided by streaming platforms. So when choice is infinite, we no longer act as a heterogeneous mass that can exclusively identify one song."

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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