How Stranger Things: Volume 4 has blown up Kate Bush's 80s hit single "Running Up that Hill."
Despite the show's many mysteries, it’s no surprise that when Stranger Things joined Netflix in 2016, it became an instant hit with people of all ages all over the world. In its opening season, Stranger Things followed an adult, a high-school, and a middle school plot, uniquely creating a show that captured the attention of parents and kids alike. Placed in the suburban US town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, Will Byers (played by Noah Schnapp) goes missing under suspicious circumstances, an event that coincides with the random appearance of a young girl, Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) who has escaped from a secret lab with powers. The sci-fi and fantastical plot is not only captivating, but believable and addictive.
As I, and so many watchers, have grown with the show, so has its cast and audience. Characters added to later seasons like Max (played by Sadie Sink) and Robin (played by Maya Hawke) launched even more names into fame and drew in more people to see just what all the buzz was about.
When the second half of Stranger Things: Volume 4 was released and binge-watched on July 1, everyone was already well attuned to the show's influence and likability, and therefore its ability to create and set trends, the most prominent impact being the comeback of 80s music, in particular, Kate Bush’s "Running up that Hill", from the album Hounds of Love.
The song was released in 1985, a whole 37 years ago, making it even more impressive that it currently sits at Spotify’s no. 3 position in global listens and no. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 List. Its original popularity comes from the iconic scene in Chapter 4: Dear Billy of Volume Four where Maxine is trapped, nearly dead in the "Upside Down." In order to help her escape, her gang of friends plays this song on repeat. The music draws her back to safety and after proving its power, Maxine keeps her headphones on or close by for the rest of the season, "Running Up that Hill," becoming the character's and then the whole team’s anthem for the rest of the season.
Now, it’s more than just Maxine loving this iconic song, as it has flooded TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, many other creative platforms, and even the radio! Creators place it as background music, craft special videos referencing Stranger Things, or have it front and center in playlists for the beach. Because of her own independent record label called Noble & Brite, Kate Bush owns the entire recording copyright, allowing her to bring in a startling 80% of her musical profits. Quartz quoted that the estimate for her revenue between the release of season four and June 23 is $2.3 million, making an artist known for music nearly 40 years ago an iconic example of business and strategy.
As Netflix and other streaming platforms release series and movies that are consumed largely and quickly, so too opens the opportunity to change what plays on the radio, what audios are used on Social Media, and what lands in our Spotify playlists. The more iconic the scenes and the actors in them, the more likely for trends to catch and carry. For "Running Up that Hill", it helps when actresses like Sadie Sink, who is Emmy-nominated and praised for the All Too Well (10-minute Version) short film, shines in the scene. The infectious power the character embodies through the song in the scene makes young creators want to be a part of that magic.
This resurgence just goes to show how impactful a series can be in the music industry, changing what decade, what genre, and what artist we incorporate or want to incorporate into our daily routines!
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