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Study Finds New Pop Music Does All Sound the Same

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the turn-it-down dept.

Music 576

whoever57 writes "A study of music from the '50 to the present using the Million Song Dataset has concluded that modern music has less variation than older music and songs today are, on average, 9dB louder than 50 years ago. Almost all music uses just 10 chords, but the way these are used together has changed, leading to fewer types of transitions being used. Variation in timbre has also reduced over the past decades."

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576 comments

Not just me (5, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813895)

So it isn't just me?

Re:Not just me (5, Funny)

Ouchie (1386333) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814151)

The study also found that the author is approximately 60 years older than he was in the 50's.

Re:Not just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814219)

Study also failed to tell that Shazam fails royally with the new pop music (since they all sound the same)

Wait till they factor in Autotune (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814407)

I bet it'll be even worse a decade from now.

Re:Wait till they factor in Autotune (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814587)

I bet it'll be even worse a decade from now.

 
Yes, and no thanks to MAFIAA
 

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40813909)

So are we forgetting all of the articles on The Loudness Wars and "hit song 'science?'"

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814029)

For example, here's some deep background [tikalon.com] from earlier this year.

I blame (5, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813917)

Glee!

That shit all sounds the same. Same Autotuned voices that are bland and boring.

Re:I blame (2)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813937)

It's not just voices. Many instruments are auto tuned or replaced with samples (SoundReplacer on drums is all too common). Massive compression/limiting across the stereo bus. Sigh, it's a mess. Interestingly, Muse's recordings actually sound pretty good.

Re:I blame (2)

smellotron (1039250) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814281)

Interestingly, Muse's recordings actually sound pretty good.

Map of the Problematique sounds awful, which sucks because the song is otherwise such a good high-energy vamp. Also, there is a Guitar Hero-based "remaster" of Knights of Cydonia floating around the tubes which is purported to sound better than the CD release.

Muse is a big step up from Glee, but then so is a white-noise generator. It's not a very useful bar to set.

Re:I blame (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814425)

One reason they do this is to make the songs sound good when they are compressed as MP3s. Ie - there's no point in microphonics, blending, and higher frequencies if it's all going to be stripped out as soon as it hits iTunes anyways.

Re:I blame (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814597)

Another element is that the original drummers varied the meter and tempo of the drums dynamically. I saw a really cool video analysis of Ringo and so other old school drummers and it was anything BUT an even perfect beat. And it was intentional the way they sped up or slowed down the beat in a very analog manner.

Currently, artificial drums have the same tempo.

Re:I blame (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814017)

Or spoken word over a beat track or small rip. Also called rap.

Re:I blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814171)

Rap is just a lyrical style, you find it in different genres.

As far as hiphop, if you get off the Top 10 there's a lot of variation. There's also a lot of talentless copycats, but I'm pretty sure you'll find them in any genre.

Re:I blame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814271)

That shit isn't music, it is noise made by genetically inferior waste
who love their welfare checks.

You know : NIGGERS.

Re:I blame (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814647)

I wonder.... does the sheer quantity of pop music compensate for the loss of quality.
Is is just that overal songs have gotten more similar or that more similar sounding songs are being released.
Is there still the same amount of non-similar songs?

I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop... (4, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813919)

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814005)

Eh.. Only four bases used in your DNA. What's your point?

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (1)

GrpA (691294) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814043)

No, that's meant to be just four chords are used in pop hits...

If it's not a hit, or doesn't need to be, then you're permitted to use the other six pop chords in composition.

GrpA

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (2)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814137)

Which of course is clearly inspired by this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM [youtube.com]

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (2)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814573)

I've got the wrong brain for music, but can someone tell me if this is also true for a song like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTklGbD19F4 [youtube.com] (VNV Nation - Space & Time.)

Or does it use different chords?

Is it also true for something like this or is that totally different (is it "chords" at all?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfuierUvx1A [youtube.com] (Conspiracy - Chaos theory 64k demo.) (Oh what the heck, Razor1911 - The scene is dead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFXIGHOElrE [youtube.com])

Things like these aren't accords either? The guitar is?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIL2ttBqTsM [youtube.com] (Infected mushroom - I wish (Skazi remix))

How does it work with "blip bloppy" electronic music in general? Is a hit on a single drum piece and accord or do you have to hit multiple at once?

Thanks to the people who know their stuff =P

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (0)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814611)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR4c0R10678 [youtube.com]
Insert no coins is pretty fabulous to (more blippetiblopp :D) but I was more wondering for the more regular music so to speak.

Also I enabled my karma bonus to get a higher score and get noticed more since I usually post with no karma bonus but people don't seem to notice me considering I don't get moderated up... ;D
But I ended up at a score of 1 anyway? Why is that? Have I lost my bonus due to lots of score 1 posts lately? Or just not hanging around enough on Slashdot the last years? I think my karma still is excellent. Guess I just don't know how that stuff work. Hope someone can help :)

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814237)

Didn't Flight of the Conchords do it earlier than Axis? I'm sure some /.er will correct me.

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814441)

Dude, thanks for this! It explains so much. It's amazing how so many terrible songs can be woven together to make something tolerable. But the best pop-reparations I've found so far, I must attribute to Richard Cheese. You might enjoy my personal favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwOE0aP-LAk [youtube.com]

Re:I thought there were only 4 chords used in pop. (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814491)

ooops! Sorry about the bad url; I intended to refer to this one for Richard Cheese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzFX44P7SO0 [youtube.com] -- I can't imagine anyone else ever repairing such a tremendous feat of auditory effluent into something so close to actual music. When that song (doncha) first came out, I lost some part of my respect for anything between two human ears, but Cheese has redeemed it. The Bjork part is brilliant!

Interesting (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813939)

Scientific approach aside, I think the more interested you are in something, not just a musical genre, the more you are inclined to notice the components which differentiate one from the other. If you aren’t interested in a specific genre of music, then yeah, it’s all going to sound the same because your brain goes into "ugh, techo" mode.

My music tastes tend to hover around the classic/progressive rock band. Most Techo/electric/dubstep/house/etc all sounds the same to me because my brain doesn’t even spend the effort to actually listen (where it would notice the differences) and just goes “ick”. Same with pop music, country, rap.. (especially rap!).

Re:Interesting (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813989)

So there's some possible causality for you - perhaps we can blame the internet, iTunes and the Genius, and genre-specific streams for suggesting "more of the same". Without a broader exposure to different inputs from diverse genres, musicians aren't breaking as far out of their own genres, contributing to the sameness.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814169)

This started before the internet was popular. It started when the big labels didn't want to take risks on anything non-mainstream any more.

Re:Interesting (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814161)

And some "music" is just objectively more bland, boring, and low quality. All the stuff you mentioned that sounds the same to you all sounds the same because it IS all the same. It's all cheap, low-quality pop junk that passes for pop music these days, the same way all junk food is more or less the same (sweet and/or salty, and a little bit of powder added for "flavor"). We haven't had musical delicacies on the pop scene for a long time now.

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814189)

I don't think it's merely perception in your case. Classical music reached considerable complexity, and the modern forms in some cases are even more complex, both in chords, changes and even in the scales used. Progressive rock in many cases has tried to replicate, though not often with as much success, the complexity and diversity of classical forms. You take a band like, say, King Crimson, where Fripp and his cowriters went out of their way to use bizarre tunings, strange chord sequences ripped from jazz, classical and even early and mid-20th century avante garde. The same goes for many 1970s prog rock acts like Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. Some of the progressive rock musicians, like Robert Fripp, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Neil Peart, Tony Banks, David Gilmour and Rick Wakeman are considered some of the most talented musicians to play "popular" music. There are still a few acts out there that follow in their steps, but by and large full blown prog rock pretty much died by the early 1980s, which is when I think you began to see the beginnings of a slide towards conformity.

But also keep in mind here that most popular musicians from the post-war period onward did not receive any kind of formal training. While that doesn't make becoming a good songwriter impossible, it makes it harder. What I will note from my knowledge of popular music over the last half century is that those songwriters who did excel were ones who often had a very wide familiarity with music. Take the Beatles. You listen to a lot of their early recordings, in particular the BBC Sessions from 1963 to 1965, you find that these guys had an enormous wealth of popular and obscure songs in many genres; rock, rockabilly, R&B, blues, jazz, show tunes, country and western, in fact they were walking encyclopedias of music from the pre-war and immediate post-war period, so when they went to pen their own songs, even the seeming trifles from early on, they could draw on that encyclopedia to come up with all sorts of odd changes and surprising chord progressions you wouldn't expect to find from four young men of seemingly limited experience.

Re:Interesting (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814429)

I don't think it's merely perception in your case. Classical music reached considerable complexity, and the modern forms in some cases are even more complex, both in chords, changes and even in the scales used.

Yet, in some cases, classical music is even more complex, not being shackled by equal temperament or autotuning. My favourite example is Lassus' Ave, Regina Coelorum [youtube.com] which finishes a quarter of a note lower than it starts when sung correctly in just intonation. Chord transitions like that just aren't possible anymore (in part, due to Bach).

Study finds my penis tastes like chocolate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40813941)

you're welcome to take a lick!

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40813943)

Axis of Awesome - Four Chord Song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I

Re:Obligatory (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814149)

Youngster. Most of Status Quo's repertoire was three or four chords, but they played them insanely well.

A good example of a popular song that uses just three chords and a single note for the main melody is "Ça Plane Pour Moi" (and it's variety "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" which uses an excess of two notes for the melody).
And minimalists like Kraftwerk, of course.

But then at the other end of the spectrum, you have music like Mike Oldfield or Vangelis that can use dozens of chords, counterpoints, and an enormous frequency range with both timpani and walking treble, yet sounds simplistic.

And then you have symphonic rock like Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis and King Crimson which sounds awfully complicated, but seldom is. Five chords is pretty standard, but shifts between major and minor, tempo shifts and synth embellishments makes it sound a lot more complex than it really is.

But yeah, music from the oughties tends to be on the simpler side no matter how you look at it. In-your-face with little or no dynamics, a substantial lack of treble, and the lyrics being more important than the melody. And that's just fine - people have different tastes, and the pendulum will sooner or later swing back again.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814243)

It's all in the fingers of the artists !!!
- play fast of slow, you just can't mimic the original...

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814319)

Ah yes... one chord wonders!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaDfy3Rc35E

9dB is ALOT (2, Informative)

morcego (260031) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813957)

9 might sound like a small number, but dB is a logarithmic measuring. 9dB louder (please correct me if I'm wrong) mean 8 TIMES louder.

Re:9dB is ALOT (2)

Anrego (830717) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813977)

To further complicate things however, it is not directly tied to perception either..

In other words, it doesn't actually sound 8 times louder...

Re:9dB is ALOT (4, Informative)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813995)

A 3dB increase represents twice as much "power", but the human ear does not perceive the increase in quite the same way. About 10 dB is perceived as "twice as loud."

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

morcego (260031) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814039)

Thank you for the clarification. Acoustics is not my field, so I can only speak for "power".

In any case, I stand by my "way too f'ing loud" statement.

Re:9dB is ALOT (2)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814071)

The loudness wars are obnoxious and they are achieved only by making the mix as completely uninteresting as possible and limited to the point of audible distortion.

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814181)

A 3dB increase represents twice as much "power", but the human ear does not perceive the increase in quite the same way. About 10 dB is perceived as "twice as loud."

Does this work backwards?

Does this mean that a 3db reduction in volume won't really be noticeably quieter, but would make the music about 8 times less damaging to my ears?

Re:9dB is ALOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814337)

3dB is the smallest level that most people are able to discriminate in double blind tests.

Re:9dB is ALOT (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814007)

9 might sound like a small number, but dB is a logarithmic measuring. 9dB louder (please correct me if I'm wrong) mean 8 TIMES louder.

That depends on what you mean by louder. If, as I think is reasonable, you see (hear) it from a listener perspective, then 9 dB is three small volume steps - the smallest step in volume that's apparent to most listeners is around 3 dB.

Also, as the total dB goes up, the difference becomes less important - a 110 dB fricking loud isn't that much different from a 118 dB fricking loud, despite the energy being much higher.

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814097)

If memory serves, 110 dB and 118 dB only appear to be relatively close in loudness because of the ear's built-in "turn it down" mechanism. I forget the details, but essentially there are muscles inside your ear that tighten up the tiny bones that detect the vibrations (I think, it's been a very long time since I've learned this stuff), effectively "turning the volume down". It is to protect ones' hearing; unfortunately, these muscles tire easily. So in other words, once you get to a certain volume, your ear makes an attempt to turn down the perceptible noise. Don't let that fool you, though, it really is very loud. There may also be a threshold that once hit, our ears cannot detect it being any "louder." Perhaps someone more intimately familiar with such things could pipe in.

I'd much rather be at a 110 dB concert than a 118 dB concert... especially if it's A weighted 110 vs. 118.

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

morcego (260031) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814129)

I'd much rather be at a 110 dB concert than a 118 dB concert... especially if it's A weighted 110 vs. 118.

I think I'm getting old. I much rather be at a 80dB concert (if that) ...

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814313)

I think I'm getting old. I much rather be at a 80dB concert (if that) ...

80dB average would be fine for a concert, but peaks at 80dB wouldn't be loud at all.

It's not unusual for a movie on a well-calibrated home theater to hit peaks over 90dB when normal speech is at "just right" volume.

Re:9dB is ALOT (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814633)

It's what you get used to.

A well calibrated home theater can be much quieter than that if you do not listen to louder music all the time.

As the blind person's other senses get more powerful the same thing will happen with your hearing.

If you cut back on your sugar intake by 80%, you will be amazed how overly sweet everything is. 85% dark chocolate starts to taste like milk chocolate after a while and milk chocolate tastes like a bar of pure sugar dusted with chocolate.

You do not need to have your shirt moved by the sound of explosions in an action movie.

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814247)

I'd much rather be at a 110 dB concert than a 118 dB concert... especially if it's A weighted 110 vs. 118.

Both are beneath the pain threshold of 120-130 dB, but sure, it can be uncomfortable.

Of course, that's whisper quiet compared to the 137 dB achieved in this concert [youtube.com].

Re:9dB is ALOT (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814447)

I think it's more that the ear perceives loudness on a logarithmic scale, so an additional 10dB is perceived as the same step regardless of where it occurs, despite the absolute difference in loudness varying by orders of magnitude. The ear does adjust (although I think it's more for perception than protection), but it can only adjust so much. Once it's outside of a certain range, the difference in volume is 'so loud I can't hear clearly' and 'even louder and I hear less clearly.' Such a difference might not be perceived all that strongly as the same dynamic range covering two loudness levels that the ear can clearly hear.

Evolution of Pop Music (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813969)

Wasn't this inevitable? It's way cheaper for "concept" artists to use tried and true melodies than really break the mold with something new. Who would want to invest in crap like that?

Risk of accidental copyright infringement (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813997)

It's way cheaper for "concept" artists to use tried and true melodies than really break the mold with something new. Who would want to invest in crap like that?

Anyone who doesn't want to get sued for accidental copyright infringement (e.g. Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music or Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton) would have to invest in something to create a novel melody.

Re:Evolution of Pop Music (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814049)

Wasn't this inevitable? It's way cheaper for "concept" artists to use tried and true melodies than really break the mold with something new. Who would want to invest in crap like that?

I think George Harrison did that one. Didn't work out too well for him, though. My sweet Lord!

Hollywood Movies Entropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814085)

The buddy movie formula.
The rom-com formula.
Science fiction seems to be narrowing into white spaceships shoot other white space shits with coloured lazers.
Disaster movies

All hollywood movies are narrowing to become a few basic formulas too. This is the way of the world, everything tends to blandness via entropy.,

Wrong Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40813979)

The title should read "Study Finds New Pop Music Does All Sound the Same, Terrible"

Re:Wrong Title (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814141)

Maybe I've gotten too far out of the mainstream when it comes to listening sources, but once it drops into rapping, it all becomes mostly monotone anyway. It's why I tend to choke on hearing the term rap "music".

Too much of the rap I hear is murky to the point of intelligibility, and what is intelligible is mere gratuitous nastiness. I have heard some good stuff, so I try to chalk the gunk that is more common these days up to Sturgeon's Law. But a melodic (i.e. non-rap) song with bad lyrics may still make it because it has a catchy melody or some memorable tonal color. When you don't have those to fall back on, you're screwed. About all that remains is rhythm.

Ah, it's no use. YOU YOUNG HOODLUMS! GET OFFA MY LAWN!

Re:Wrong Title (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814459)

Most music these days is intended to be "danced" to, even if it's just head-bobbing in your car. Because of this rhythm is all that's needed.

We once had a foreign exchange student living with my cousins nearby, I was an overt metalhead at the time and she asked me why I listened to it because "thhre's no rhythm", even though there is rhythm, and melody and harmony. All she wanted was rhythm to dance to, and when I watch most people listening to music it seems to be the same.

For myself my interest in music has waned considerably, just about the only new music I'm listening to is http://symphonyofscience.com/ [symphonyofscience.com]

4 Chords? (0)

Ambvai (1106941) | about a year and a half ago | (#40813985)

Try looking up 4 Chords, by The Axis of Awesome. They go through quite a few songs that all use Pachelbel's Canon. Would post a link, but my mobile sucks with that...

it seems to me rap music was the last "new sound" (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814011)

and rap (or hip hop, I guess there's a difference, all sounds the same to me) is more than 25 years old. There was a time when a new sound emerged i.e. jazz, rock-n-roll, acid rock, disco, .... but I wonder if The Business has priced itself out of the market and made huge barriers to new creative music. 30 years ago there was 30(?) major labels which have combined to just four (and they spend a lot of time going after pirates). So based on that, it doesn't surprise me someone publishes an article like this one. An not surprising we have posts such as, "Really?," "This is news?," and "Not just me."

Re:it seems to me rap music was the last "new soun (1)

morian97 (1325925) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814249)

i thought the grunge (Pixies/Nirvana/etc.) was the 'last one' as it was quite innovative (me thinks), but this was also some 20+ years back

Everytime... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814033)

Why is it everytime I read ./ all of these stories are just repots from the Reddit frontpage?

Re:Everytime... (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814239)

The study also found new tech-site posts do all look the same!

They paywalled that part though. :(

Blame COPYJAIL (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814055)

If you are going to go in jail for "inventing" something old, why care???

I doubt that (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814569)

If apple wrote a song, you'd be sued for using the same sequence of chords, or the same key. With pop music, if you don't do that, you don't get to be #1 on the billboards. It's a strange world we live in....

Thank you mister obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814065)

Manufactured people making manufactured music all sounds the same.

Who would have thought...

RIAA job well done (2)

hundredrabh (1531761) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814067)

>> "Million Song Dataset has concluded that modern music has less variation than older music"

You have successfully preserved the "IP".

Big surprise? (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814095)

Is it a big surprise that contemporary music sounds alike? They keep sampling each other's songs, with and without permission, and recycling the all sorts of song elements. That is before you consider different bands performing each other's music outright. The current custom seems to produce homogenized music.

Rick James - Super Freak [youtube.com]
MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This [youtube.com]
Jay - Z Kingdom Come. [youtube.com]
Gucci Mane - Freaky Gurl [youtube.com]

Wikipedia has a more complete list. [wikipedia.org]

The ghost of Phil (2)

dark grep (766587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814115)

No pun intended, but Phil Specter knew that 49 years ago. The son 'Da doo Ron Ron' was deliberately made to be the sum of all pop songs, which was the theory behind the Wall of Sound', and IMHO has artistic merit for that point alone.

Anthropogenic Global Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814131)

A clear and present danger rears its gnarled and ugly head, Anthropogenic Global Music (AGM).

Studies are showing that AGM is responsible for increases of Tornados, Extreme Storms, the North
Pacific Decadal Oscillation, HIV, Bank failures and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

The USA wants us to believe that the fall of Saddam Hussein was directly due to their killing and rampage of
the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, there is no evidence of this! The fall of the regime of Saddam
Hussein was due to AGM.

What will AGM do to Somalia, Syria, the Balkans, and the other client states of the CIA Rendition-Terror
Prisons (our tax dollars at work) sanctioned by non other than George Walker Bush and his son
Barak Hussein Obama II.

SoL

Newsflash (0)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814145)

This just in: All music from a particular genre sounds very similar. Story at 11.

Re:Newsflash (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814235)

If you play Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh, I think you would have a hard time making that claim. And that's not even comparing him to Mozart or Wagner.

All moden pop artists ... (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814163)

Could literally be replaced with a simple script that generates lyrics using a small keyword dictionary, another script that mashes several midis of other songs using some basic rules to create "original" music, then pipes the output into festival, then pipes that into autotune. We could even add another script that uploads the result to itunes.

Re:All moden pop artists ... (2)

pipatron (966506) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814261)

And a script that sends DMCA takedown notices to itself because the new song sounds similar to something old.

Re:All moden pop artists ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814439)

Seems as if that's already been done. Factory music. The record labels' wet dream.

YELLOW PRESS TITTLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814165)

The study is about perception of novelty in pop music, learn to read scientific reports before coming with sensationalist tittles that look down on a music genre that a lot of people love. "This brings us to conjecture that an old popular music piece would be perceived as novel by essentially following these guidelines."

Ten chords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814207)

That's three more than most slash dot discussions.

Happiness is a warm gun (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814267)

The wiki [wikipedia.org] article on that describes it from a music theory PoV. I guess they really don't write songs like that anymore.

off key (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814287)

The purpose of popular music was never to provide musical diversity and variety. At root, it's a folk art form and like all folk art forms, it's going to be stylistically similar.

If you look at the popular music of 16th century England or 19th century America (the two countries who have the biggest effect on worldwide pop music) you would probably find even less musical variety than the music of today.

Also, remember, that the 1950s, the era that this study compares to our current era, there was a confluence of some very different musical forms making up "pop music". There was big band music, with roots in Jazz and the American Songbook, there was country, blues, R&B all collapsing in on each other to form the popular music of the day. You might hear Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Lane, gospel, Louis Jordan, Hank Williams. Top 40 radio of even the 1960s would have the Beatles fighting it out for the top of the charts with Sergio Mendes, elements of deep country, Frank Sinatra singing "strangers in the night" and Sonny and Cher, folk music, etc.

But the biggest influence on the homogeneity of current popular music is the concentration of ownership of media outlets. You have a handful of companies owning 90% (or more) of the radio stations in the US, for example. You scan the dial in LA, Chicago, New York, Memphis or Rolla Missouri and you're going to hear the same top 20 songs, the same "classic oldies" stations, the same "urban contemporary" and they're all owned by the same companies, using their market position to put the same exact formats (and often the same exact program directors) on all of the stations in any given category.

The days of the independent radio stations is over. Satellite radio was supposed to offer variety, but now there's even a growing concentration of ownership in those stations. And who sells all the records? Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other chains, who really aren't going to give you much variety.

It's not the music that's lacking variety, it's the economy.

Re:off key (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814335)

The days of the independent radio stations is over. Satellite radio was supposed to offer variety, but now there's even a growing concentration of ownership in those stations. And who sells all the records? Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other chains, who really aren't going to give you much variety.

I left off iTunes, of course. Do you expect to see a lot of variety at the front of the iTunes store? In the days of independent record stores, you'd get idiosyncratic owners with all sorts of notions of what's hip. Even the big record store chains like Tower put a lot of influence in the hands of the hipsters that worked there, so you might get a big display in 50's Cuban doo-wop next to Arvo Part, King Sunny Ade, a John Coltrane boxed set and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and a Rhino release of the first Stooges album.

Wal-Mart's not going to give you that. iTunes has it but buries it.

Loudness Is Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814301)

The "Loudness" of the recording is irrelevant - the customer will just adjust his/her volume knob. All producers do when they supposedly increase the loudness of a track is *reduce the dynamic range* - THAT'S the real cause of the dynamic "sameness," not sheer loudness.

See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

Ironic - CAPTCHA: "noises"

Re:Loudness Is Silly (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814541)

I believe the loudness in this regard is the average of the entire song. Since there is a hard limit to how loud a song can be, the only way to increase the average is to make the quiet parts less quiet, which results in dynamics being lost. At least historically, this was in the pursuit of loudness. With AM radio, louder records could be broadcast further, so the louder a record was, the wider an audience it could reach. The exact details escape me, but basically, the way early records were made was that there was a guy sitting with his hand on a volume knob while it was being recorded to get it as loud as possible throughout without the record breaking. That practice established an idea of what a record was 'supposed' to sound like in the minds of the public, and even though the technological reason to do so was gone, producers felt pressured to feed this habit in the minds of the public.

Die Antwoord (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814339)

I have long equated most pop-music with baby music, or heavy nursery rhymes. But when I saw this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uee_mcxvrw
I began to consider that - albeit possibly pathological - something has infected pop.

Bah old people just don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814553)

as South Park so nicely explains http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/388728/it-sounds-like-poo

It's also the instruments (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814585)

There are a lot of songs you can recognize instantly from the 60's and 70's because they used unusual instruments like the sitar.

library theory (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814613)

Rather than the usual "society is going downhill" view, it may be that there is already so much existing pop music that people who want an "in style" sound go to the new stuff, while those wanting variety dig in the old stuff.

In the past there wasn't that choice such that variety in contemporary artists was more in demand. Even my teen daughter digs into The Beatles. However, she wouldn't play it around new friends.

In short, newer music has a smaller niche to fill than in the past: sounding fashionable only.

Kiss fm (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814617)

Songs on kiss fm can be typified by the following bass line:

Whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump, whump,...

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