Pop music has become louder, less original: study finds

July 26, 2012
Fans cheer during the EXIT festival in Novi Sad in 2011. Your mother was right: Pop music has become louder and less original over the years.

Your mother was right: Pop music has become louder and less original over the years.

At least, this is the conclusion of a of nearly half-a-million songs recorded between 1955 and 2010 and reported in Nature Scientific Reports Thursday.

"We have been able to show how the global loudness level of recordings has consistently increased over the years," study author Joan Serra of the Spanish National Research Council said in an email exchange.

Similarly, the team found the diversity of chords and melodies has "consistently diminished in the last 50 years".

"This yields a clear recipe for contemporising old songs: using more common chord changes, changing the song's instrumentation, and record it louder," said Serra.

The study spanned a variety of genres, including rock, pop, hip hop, metal and electronic.

It mentioned no songs by name, simply analysing the music in algorithms of numbers and symbols in search of patterns.

"Much of the gathered evidence points towards an important degree of conventionalism, in the sense of blockage or no-evolution, in the creation and production of contemporary Western ," said the study.

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not rated yet Jul 26, 2012
Where I live (AZ) music is about volume not melody. The louder the better. Same with Harley Davidson or any motorbikes. The louder the better. What can I say "REDNECK".
not rated yet Jul 26, 2012
It's notoriously known fact, which is discussed at Wikipedia in full depth... Apparently, it's not only the pop music, which has become less original in the postindustrial age.
not rated yet Jul 26, 2012
Very interesting indeed. I think part of the problem is a lot of recent pop songs are also now being designed by algorithms. Artists like Lady Gaga write their own music but with the aid of certain algorithms which have had success in creating popular music but this of course is going to lead to more repetitive music.

Is there a link to the original study anywhere or a reference. First of all I am just curious second of all I think it is honest to give some credit.
1 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2012
I don't listen to crap American pop music anymore.

EuroPop still has some good stuff.

Here is a fine example.

Jul 26, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2012
what did he say about my mother? better watch yo mouth, sukka!
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2012
What the study hasn't taken into account is the diversification of the 'pop' genre over recent decades to encompass all manner of new musics that simply fly under the radar of the 'commercial pop' banner - especially the various forms of dance music - a full list of which would be beyond the scope of a forum post, but which represents a much larger swathe of actually-popular music than the ever-declining commercial 'pop' of yore...

Moreover, modern technologies have engendered new and innovative sounds and chord sequences etc. that would only arise rarely if at all in more conventional pop - if anything we've got more creative, not less...

While there were obviously 'underground' scenes in times gone by, they represented a far smaller section of listeners than today, hence the study isn't a like-for-like comparison...
not rated yet Jul 27, 2012
Russian music industry is in a very undeveloped state. That boosts diversity. Music like science suffers under commoditization and mercantilism.
not rated yet Jul 27, 2012
This yields a clear recipe for contemporising old songs: using more common chord changes, changing the song's instrumentation, and record it louder

While results like this are interesting you can count the seconds until it will be snatched up by some music executive and put into practice. Music has (since the advent of the boy band knock-offs in the 1980's) been designed largely by committee for commercial success and not for the artistic value.

Heck, the long-time band of a friend of mine split up last year because the singer and lead guitarrist plainly stated that they wanted to make money and that there was none in the 'progressive rock' they were playing.
They now play "Volksmusik" (which is qualitatively the german equivalent to "country and western" in the US. Something you can clap along to.).

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