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JUL
26
2 YEARS

Study: Pop Music Has Gotten Louder and Less Interesting

Computers have analyzed more than 460,000 songs from 1955 to 2010 and found a trend of "growing loudness" and "conventionalism."

Lollapalooza Crowd 2010
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Think everything on the radio these days sounds the same? Science may back you on that one.

Researchers have analyzed five decades of pop recordings, feeding them into a computer program designed to analyze such facets as "pitch, timbre and loudness."

Their conclusions, published today on Nature.com: that the volume of songs has been steadily growing, while an "important degree of conventionalism" has crept into the songwriting and producing process.

In other words, pop music has become louder and less original.

"We find three important trends in the evolution of musical discourse," the study explains. "The restriction of pitch sequences (with metrics showing less variety in pitch progressions), the homogenization of the timbral palette (with frequent timbres becoming more frequent), and growing average loudness levels (threatening a dynamic richness that has been conserved until today)."

The study analyzed 464,411 different recordings from 1995 to 2010, spanning popular genres like rock, pop, hip-hop, metal and electronic music.