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The results are pretty obvious, especially when you consider how similar many 70s records sound and how genres both diversified and became far less eclectic throughout the 80s and 90s.

However I will note that the other day a radio station played electric love by borns (boring indie pop song) immediately after Changes by Bowie, the lack of musical product in the indie song was just laughable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The lack of response here is not at all shocking. :lol:

FWIW I tend to think the spike in the 90s has as much/more to do with grunge than it does rap/hip-hop, but it was a pretty seismic shift either way. And, we've pretty much been in neutral since, as far as "popular" music goes. Rock still sounds mostly like post-grunge, pop still sounds like Britney Spears.
 

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I love stats, but haven't found the time to dive into the article :lol:
 

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I mostly think this is horseshit, despite it arriving at some mostly believable conclusions. The first reason is because it's a classic case of a bunch of STEM folk deciding to help the poor music academics "scienctificize" their parlor games and then proceed to tell the music folk "facts" about their own field. Why were there no musicologists in this study? The second reason is that it used pop music charts and other popular consumption-based charts for their data pool, while ignoring the fact that these lists didn't just happen in a perfect system where people seek out music and just make it popular. These lists were carefully curated and implemented by big money like Clear Channel and record/media companies. Sure, popular tastes have some effect on what becomes popular and what trends, but for the past 15-ish years at least, what becomes popular has been mostly engineered, and you could even argue that this engineering creates popular tastes.
 
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^It's more of everything. Genres with the exception of a few got way more extreme, metal, electronic dance, grunge/alternative, jazz all had a lot of break through artists doing really original stuff in one genre. You had a lot of people who grew up listening to a certain genre and got extremely good at it, while in the 60s and 70s it was a lot more of a group innovative process as the guys really established the gap from traditionial folk, blues, and blues based jazz into the popular music of today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I mostly think this is horseshit, despite it arriving at some mostly believable conclusions. The first reason is because it's a classic case of a bunch of STEM folk deciding to help the poor music academics "scienctificize" their parlor games and then proceed to tell the music folk "facts" about their own field. Why were there no musicologists in this study? The second reason is that it used pop music charts and other popular consumption-based charts for their data pool, while ignoring the fact that these lists didn't just happen in a perfect system where people seek out music and just make it popular. These lists were carefully curated and implemented by big money like Clear Channel and record/media companies. Sure, popular tastes have some effect on what becomes popular and what trends, but for the past 15-ish years at least, what becomes popular has been mostly engineered, and you could even argue that this engineering creates popular tastes.
I think your first point is valid, though clearly numbers-crunching has been shown to have value in non-quantitative contexts. Look at baseball.

Your second... Ehh, I don't think that's a fair critique as long as you're open about what exactly you're measuring. This is a great look at how popular music has changed in the observation period, including the impact of the rise and the growing taste-making power of large conglomerates like Clear Channel and the major labels. Pointing out that these things have happened doesn't invalidate the analysis, it's just part of what drove the change IN the analysis.
 

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I know that quantitative analysis has value in many contexts. In fact, this is a pretty huge field of study in musicology and in cognitive neuroscience in music. That's why I think it's dumb their study makes no reference to the existing fields or to existing research.

I guess my point is that this study claims to chart popular tastes as a somewhat independent metric, without accounting for or acknowledging the massive confounding variable that is active manipulation of popular tastes for commercial reasons.
 

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63% of statistics are made up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess my point is that this study claims to chart popular tastes as a somewhat independent metric, without accounting for or acknowledging the massive confounding variable that is active manipulation of popular tastes for commercial reasons.
I don't think that matters so much, though - they're not trying to explain why patterns in changing tastes happen, so much as document periods in which they did change. I agree with you that the increasing concentration of the music distribution industry and the greater power a smaller number of individuals has to influence popular taste (or, maybe more precisely, more carefully deliver music which will appeal to the greatest percentage of current taste, which probably impacts the ability of music to evolve) has absolutely changed how music is consumed, no arguments.

But, you can very precisely measure the flight of a baseball, given really good tools, without making a single statement about the existence of gravity, or whether it was hit or thrown. Those are important things to know in understanding WHY it behaved in a certain way, but not WHETHER it behaved in a certain way, if that makes any sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
63% of statistics are made up.
"There are three types of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain, which isn't even a real name, so he knows a thing or two about lying.
 
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