The traditional songs and the song system, with corresponding social practices, are living most vigorously at the remote frontiers of the Nenets regions: in the North, in Kanin, Yamal, Gydan and Taimyr peninsulas; and in the pockets of the Forest Nenets territories along the river Pur. The traditional song system exists along with the social and economic practices of the reindeer pastoralists, hunters and fishermen.

Further South, the Nenets have had to adapt to stronger interethnic relations, when living in villages together with Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Khanty and Komi for example. Usually they all use the Russian language to facilitate communication. The ethnic traditions and the mother tongue withdraw from the polyethnic social life inside the family.

The change in the music culture is reflected in alienation of the younger Nenets generations and folklorization of the traditional Nenets way of life. First, the boarding-school system wipes effectively out the natural use of mother tongue. With poor command of mother tongue it is difficult and meaningless to compose and remember songs, which demand full competence of language and creative use of its subtle nuances. Second, the cultural policy of the Soviet time supported local folkloristic activities of presenting forms of folklore suitable for the Soviet (Russian) concept of, say, "folk music". This meant arranging Nenets songs for a multipart choir, accordion accompaniment and possibly invention of group dance choreographies to the music.

These tendencies were somewhat strengthened especially during the post-war Soviet era, in connection with the overall development of local communication infrastructures in Siberia. Thus, along with processes of modernization - roads, electricity, social security, medical care, education, mass media - the native songs become a ‘tradition’, ‘folk music’, an object of cherishing and studying. The concept of "genuineness" of the folklore becomes an issue. Nevertheless, as already implied before, the effects of these tendencies are quite different depending on the contacts of the various Nenets groups to the Russian society.