Music Between the Numbers

Has Music Changed Over Time? The Numbers Say Yes

A while ago I decided to call my album New Music for Old Souls and even thought of it as a bit of a theme for what I do. I was watching a video by Rick Beato "Why BOOMERS Hate Pop Music" (watch the video and subscribe to his channel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDUSFpek0PM) and it dawned on me that some of the things he was talking about could be quantified. So, as a very first pass at Music Analytics, I went back and constructed a database of the Billboard Top 10 songs for each year since 1955. I populated it, for starters, with the number of chords in each song to see if there was a trend (I got this from either ultimateguitar.com or Chordify.com). There is a distinctive trend on this metric - Music has definitely changed since 2000!

Watch the videos - you can start with either Episode 1 (which is a little music tech talk heavy) or Episode 2, where I review the first week and look at Danceability and Energy - features that are measured on Spotify. We measure exactly how quantitative measures of music have changed over time! There are 5 episodes in the series as we go through a variety of the Spotify Audio Features as well as chord counts.

In a forthcoming 6th episode I will cover the score I developed - the Music Old School Score or MOSS (as in something a Rolling Stone doesn't gather). It calculates just how Old School or New School a song is. You can see in the graph below how it has changed for the Billboard Top 10 for each year over time.

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