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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

(and Drake is taking over the world)

Like Rob Gordon, I think that if we can understand popular music, the soundtrack of our lives, then maybe we can understand ourselves a little better.

Attention Spans are Shortening

In the age of Instagram and instant gratification on the internet, it’s not surprising that we have less patience than we used to. What is surprising is that this trend has been going on for over 18 years.

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Hip Hop Isn’t Dead

Whatever Nas may say about the commercialization of hip hop, rap music is more popular than ever.

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Music is Getting Sadder

In addition to providing us with a song’s length, Spotify’s developer API provides data on some qualitative features of a song. More info on the definitions of these track features can be found here.

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Conclusions

As we can see, the last two decades of popular music have been dominated by a few observable trends. Songs are getting shorter and sadder. Hip hop and dance music have gotten more popular while older genres like rock and country have declined. Since 2011 especially, the average energy of a song has gone down while its danceabiliy has gone up.

Written by

Engineer in San Francisco. Interested in words, networks, and human abstractions. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

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