Music may convey protest themes or anti-establishment, as well as anti-war songs, however, pro-establishment ideas are as well represented, for instance, in political campaigns, patriotic songs, and national anthems. Numerous of these kinds of songs might be expressed as topical songs.
All through the early part of the 20th century, people struggle and poor working conditions lead to the birth of the labor movement and several songs promoting political and political reform. The most famous songwriter of the early 20th century "Wobblies" was Joe Hill. Subsequently, from the 1940s and the 1960s, groups such as the Weavers and the Almanac Singers were significant in bringing to life this kind of socio-political music.
Political songs of this moment gained popularity by utilizing old hymns and songs but adapting the lyrics to fit the current social and political conditions. This was an era of folk music in which some artists and their songs expressed clear political messages with the intention of swaying public opinion and recruiting support.
This music may be utilized to convey a precise political message. Nevertheless, there may be obstructions in communicating such messages; even overtly political songs are frequently reference and shaped by their contemporary political context, making an understanding of the event and history that motivated the music necessary in order to wholly understand the message. It can also be ambiguous to understand the nature of that message because the label "political music" can be related either to songs which offer a partisan opinion, songs that basically observe political subjects, or songs which go further and advocate for precise political action. Therefore, a difference has been made, for instance, between the use of music as a tool for advocacy or raising awareness.
However, several kinds of music may be considered political by cultural association, regardless of political content, as evidenced by the way Western pop/rock bands like The Beatles were censored by the nation in the Eastern Bloc in the 1960s and 1970s, while being accepted by younger people as symbolic of social change, this points to the possibilities for discrepancy between the political intentions of musicians (if any), and reception of their music by wider society.