Economic crisis and popular music have often been put in synergic relation to each other especially in the context of industrial cities. Disparate genres first conceived in industrial cities, ranging from hardcore punk to house, and from post-punk to heavy metal, seem to be the most fitting score for a grey, gloomy, decaying built environment or for its evocations, but is there an organic relation between de/industrialization and cultural production? This article addresses these issues, trying to unfold the relation between industrial soundscapes and landscapes, symbolic representations, material changes and attempts to make sense of the crisis by dramatizing it, in the context of 1980s European industrial cities. It also considers the ongoing ‘heritagization’ of popular music, taking place in contemporary (post?)industrial cities and the way this relates to tourism, local economies, place perception and branding.