Music and wellbeing in COVID times

Last night a livestream saved my life?

What role can music play in coping with feelings of isolation, depression or even existential questions, especially now during the current 'socially distanced' Corona Crisis?

Tower Records famously stated ‘no music = no life’, and we’ve all heard someone say ‘music saved me’. Despite these widely shared sentiments, we know relatively little about whether this is true. Music has been extensively researched either in terms of how it can be ‘bad’ for people (think of early heavy metal music, or drillrap more recently), or for its benefits in music therapy – and then primarily when making music. But to what extent does listening to music, or feeling part of a music scene, or sharing music with others over the internet, etc., aid people in terms of resilience and wellbeing? 

In other words, what role can music play in coping with feelings of isolation, depression or even existential questions? This has always been an important question but even more so in the current 'socially distanced' pandemic times. In this talk, Julian Schaap tentatively explores music's role in everyday wellbeing, particularly in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic where music livestreams have replaced most options to see and hear artists live, with others, physically.

Music & Wellbeing

Assistant professor

Julian Schaap MSc

More information

Julian Schaap is assistant professor sociology of music at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on social inequalities on the basis of class, gender and race-ethnicity in (cultural) consumption and production practices, with a focus on (popular) music. He has published extensively on these topics in academic journals and popular media, and together with Pauwke Berkers, he wrote a book about gender inequality in metal music production. Moreover, he is coordinator of the joint Codarts-EUR educational minor program ‘Mu$ic: The economy, sociology and practice of popular music’. For more information, please visit

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