The streaming giant’s stock has plummeted by about 70% this year, investors are unsure about its business, and the entertainment industry’s one-time darling now appears to have a murky future. Yet Netflix is still a media company that – thanks to its 221.6 million worldwide subscribers – has the ability to capture the cultural zeitgeist.
All because the song is featured in the final season of “Stranger Things”, the streaming platform’s most popular franchise. Worldwide streams of the song increased by more than 8,700% Spotify †PLACE† after the season four premiere on May 27.
The fact that “Running Up That Hill” has become a sudden hit nearly four decades after its release represents more than just an old song that caught fire on the charts. It’s a powerful example of Netflix’s tremendous cultural power, even as the company tries to turn itself around.
Climbing the charts
Other songs have received a boost in sales and streams thanks to their presence in prominent movies and TV shows (it’s happened a few times for Queen). But few songs are part of any major plot pointing to the way “Running Up That Hill” is in “Stranger Things 4”.
The final season of the sci-fi horror series, which takes place in 1986, not only makes the song a favorite of the character Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink, the tune is played during a pivotal scene and helps save her from an evil multidimensional force. .
Such a moment is a music supervisor’s dream, as the scene becomes inseparable from the song, creating a connection between content and consumer that is “very rare,” said Serona Elton, director of the music industry program at the Frost School of Music. from the University of Miami. †
“Just playing music in the background doesn’t have the same impact compared to the music becoming a fundamental part of the scene,” Elton told CNN Business.
But none of this could have happened without Netflix’s ability to push the series to its millions of subscribers around the world. Other streaming platforms also have millions of users, but Netflix is still at the top. It also helps that “Strangers Things” is hugely popular.
“Stranger Things 4 – Volume 1” debuted in May and hit a record number, racking up a total of 883 million hours of views for the platform since then. That makes it Netflix’s most popular English-language TV show ever. It has been number 1 on Netflix’s UK top 10 for four weeks since its premiere.
The new season has also dominated social media since its debut, with more than 7.7 billion organic impressions across facebook †FB†instagram, youtube, Twitter †TWTR† and TikTok, according to the streamer. That helped make “Running Up That Hill” a viral meme.
Bush recently thanked the Duffer Brothers, the show’s creators, for the newfound popularity of “Running Up That Hill’s.”
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of affection and support the song is getting,” she wrote on her website. “It’s all moving very fast, as if propelled by some elemental force.”
Upside down, but not out
The Netflix world has been turned upside down this year after the company reported in April that it was losing subscribers for the first time in more than a decade, news that shocked Wall Street and wiped out billions in Netflix’s market cap. The company’s stock, which traded at $337 a share before that news, now stands at $178.
Industry experts have wondered what steps Netflix could take to recover, suggesting ideas such as showing ads, curbing password sharing, and being nice to movie theaters.
The widespread influence of “Stranger Things” shows that: Netflix †NFLX† may be down, but it’s not out.
Netflix distribution is still notable in the streaming world, even as rivals are catching up, giving the service pop culture with content such as “Bird Box”, “Squid Game” and “Stranger Things”. And as Netflix tries to bounce back after several disastrous quarters, it’s important to remember what it’s capable of.
Elton said this kind of exposure could help multiple constituencies.
Bush is likely to see “increased earnings and perhaps a new demographic of fans who might seek other music from her,” she said. As for Netflix, the song’s newfound popularity has made it “newsworthy” and “could potentially bring more people to the show itself.”
On Tuesday, the company released a new trailer for the last two episodes of this season, which will be released on July 1. The short teaser highlights the show’s signature monsters and nostalgic excitement, as well as the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, bruised and battered but ready to fight on — almost like Netflix itself right now.
The song the trailer was set to? “Run up that hill.”