Skip to comments.Your taste in music is shaped by the crowd
Posted on 02/09/2006 12:23:22 PM PST by laney
People like a song more when they think other people like it too, a new study suggests. But the interactions between individual and group opinions are so complex that it is impossible to predict whether a good song will be a hit or a flop, according to researchers who asked people to rate the quality of music by unknown bands.
Sociologists Matthew Salganik and colleagues at Columbia University in New York, US, recruited more than 14,000 people to visit a website with 48 songs by relatively unknown bands. People could listen to songs, rate them, and then decide whether to download them.
One group of participants saw only the names of songs and musical groups. Other participants also saw how many times a particular song had been downloaded by others. Both groups broadly agreed about which songs were good and which were bad.
But participants who could see how often a song had been downloaded tended to give higher ratings to songs that had been downloaded often, and were more likely to download those songs themselves. That created a snowball effect, catapulting a few songs to the top of the charts and leaving others languishing.
Different worlds But a track with hit potential does not always become a hit, it seems. The researchers divided the socially influenced group (which could see the download information) into eight different "worlds", so that only the downloading decisions within that world were visible.
They found that the same songs did not always make it to the top of the charts. For example in one world, a Milwaukee pop punk band called 52Metro were stars, reaching number 1 in the download charts. In another world they were losers, ranked 40 out of 48.
"From outside of the industry, it seems like music executives can create stars at will. But we only see the ones that become successful. We don't see all the failures," Salganik says.
Locked in Final chart positions were not entirely random though. For example, all of the songs that were hits in the socially influenced groups were also rated as good by the group with no access to the download information. And the results did not reflect a simple "lock in" effect i.e. a song that got an early lead did not necessarily maintain that lead. But beyond that, Salganik says, the dynamics are hard to understand.
"This is very exciting research, says Michael Macy, a sociologist at Cornell University, Ithaca, US. "What they're addressing is a puzzle why is it so difficult to predict what will be a hit movie or a hit song?"
For hopeful start-up bands, the results mean good news and bad news, Salganik says: "Even if you haven't made it yet, it doesn't necessarily mean it's low quality music you could just be unlucky. But it also suggests that even if it's high quality music, you might not become successful
Bunk..For the teeny bopper population...
Mine sure isn't.
Makes no sense, the bands from the 60's and 70's were hits because they made good music so all loved those tunes, as well as recording artists with a voice..
What they should be saying is not every novelty act like Brittney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Justine Timberlake will appeal to all 13 yr olds, some 13 yr olds will not like them.
This explains the phenomenum called the Grammies which are based on sales, not vocal quality.
I watched the grammy's but giving musical credit to Kayne West and Green Day is like giving an award to a deaf mute for hearing..
No offense to deaf mutes..:)
Then why do I hate nearly every song since 1978?
(Except for maybe Jimmy Buffett.)
I like songs because of how they sound, not because of who else likes them.
Today's music sucks!!! Artists of today all sound the same. And it's amazing to me that people like it and the "kids" of today think it's great. Ugh....
Is this how my parents felt?
hmmmm.... i dont like most of the music my almost 17 yr old
likes but his friends sure do. im sure its the opposite for
my tastes in music. so maybe age/generation has something
to do with peoples tastes in music too.
i like a song with a great melody and words i can belt out
in the car with the radio full blast. :)
Exactly! and many people feel the exact same way more than less that's for sure!
Mine isn't, either. In fact, if a song becomes too popular and overplayed, I am apt to dislike it more.
I hate today's Music I go from a musicals like West Side Story to Whole Lotta Love by Led Zepplin to Tiny Bubbles by Don Ho to The Dance by Garth Brooks all in one sitting! LOL...
My criteria for a good song is--
a. complex rhythm...if you can hop up and down during the entire song without any change, then what a bore!
b. if there isn't a good rhythm, then I'll forgive that for an excellent voice. But I mean EXCELLENT! Not the 'we all sound alike, and sing REAL loud!' group that is on the airwaves now.
c. lastly, if the rhythm is useless and the voice is crappy, I may be won over with exceptional lyrics. But again, really exceptional.
Otherwise, I don't waste my time.
I agree, unforunatley my hubby likes LUDACRIS! barf, this one song is called I got hoe's in different area codes it's a idiotic song...I hate Rap and I hate Punk and Metal all other music I can find something good about..
Would you please give 1 or 2 examples fitting your criteria? Thanks...appreciate it.
I generally like good music. Bad music pretty much sucks.
a. complex rhythm...
Anything by Alabina, Natasha Atlas, some of Shakira's stuff (when she stickks to her roots). Anything with Hossam Ramsey Drumming (like Peter Gabriels Passion CD or Lorenna McKinnet). Kodo drums of course. Most Greek, Turkish, true Flaminco, Egyptian, Arabic etc fall into that catogory.
They layer rhythms and drums like we do melodies and harmonies. I can't stand a flat drum line.
I don't care if I don't know what the words are, but if the rhythms are not only complex, but transitioning! I'm in heaven!
b. Ecellent voice-- Charlotte Church, Sarah Brightman, Michael Bouble' (sp), Roc Voisin (he or someone else that is Quebecer). Sometimes Alison Krauss. Ofra Haza when she was alive.
c. Exceptional lyrics: Lots of country music falls in that catagory. I listen to it driving a lot and tired of listening to my CDs....and I love story songs, etc....like Whiskey Lullaby, I Hope You Dance etc.
I hate Rap simply because it's a 1234 beat that any idiot can bump to.
Dedicated My Pr Page to my secret admirer on the dark side...:) I am trying DD to let them see the light but they are stuck in the duengons of darkness....
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