In a paper published in Scientific Reports, researchers from the Spanish National Research Council claim that pop music has become increasingly homogenized over the last 50 years, as well as “intrinsically louder.”
“We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” team leader Joan Serra, an artificial intelligence specialist, told Reuters. “In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.”
To study pop music’s development — or lack thereof — Serra and his crew turned to the Million Song Dataset — “a freely-available collection of audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks.”
They determined that not only do all modern pop songs sound the same, but they’ve also gotten much louder.
According to Reuters, Serra says his paper is the first to properly measure the so-called “Loudness War,” which Serra defines as “a terminology that is used to describe the apparent competition to release recordings with increasing loudness, perhaps with the aim of catching potential customers’ attention in a music broadcast.”