Data-driven studies of popular music are hot right now: yesterday, a study came out suggesting people stop listening to music after age 33, while other research has documented the breadth of rappers' vocabularies and the rise and fall of drug slang in hip-hop. But the latest research is sure to ruffle some feathers—according to The Guardian, a new academic study from the Queen Mary and Imperial College London found that only one thing has really changed the course of pop music: hip-hop.
"For the first time we can measure musical properties in recordings on a large scale," lead author Matthias Mauch told The Guardian. "We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their makeup, and understanding how they have changed." The study obtained their data from Last.FM. Beatles fans are already up in arms about the new research, which suggested that the Fab 4 improved upon already-existing musical formulas but did not create something entirely new.
Modern music listeners can take heart in another observation from the study: contrary to the belief of everyone above the age of 40, today's pop charts are just as diverse as the charts were in the '60s.
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