The intersection of music and sports goes back perhaps as far as the sports themselves. In ancient Greece, for example, music was a feature of games like the Olympics, since “the festivals attracted large crowds of spectators and were, therefore, an ideal occasion for [artists] to present their talents” (KU Leuven). That trend continues today, and the latest example is FIFA’s recent release of its “soundtrack,” intended to pump up audiences and prepare them for the tournament. The playlist is diverse, with the likes of popular players such as Major Lazer, Anderson .Paak, Skepta, and Sofi Tukker, in addition to various more niche artists. What are the implications of this? Firstly, it’s great to see influential institutions sharing the work of small and up-and-coming artists. With the advent of social media, brands have carried more influence than before, and a sport as popular internationally as soccer definitely has the ability to spur a young artist’s career. Secondly, the intersection of various forms of entertainment - whether it be TV/film or, in this case, music/sports - helps to diversify and expand fan bases, seeing into previously untapped markets. And thirdly, this particular example pays testament to music’s propensity for emotional evocation: when FIFA wants fans to get excited, we are able to feel that exact intention via the “mood” curated by the playlist. Musical selection is thus highly effective in not only forming meaning, but also in encouraging action. A deep house mix might make you want to dance, a classical song might make you want to relax, and an eclectic mix of trap/indie/bass might make you want to come out to a soccer game - in which case, GOAL!

Listen to the full playlist here.