The Evolution of Music

If you're anything like me your taste in music has changed through the years. Your tastes change as your life does, and a song that used to bring you joy may just annoy you now. The musical tastes of the general population have changed drastically through the decades and I found a few interesting facts and graphs about it. Nothing like a good graph.

A few interesting observations from the site:

  • Pop standards seem to have been the standard in the late '50s. The genre provided the largest percentage of Hot 100 entries for the first three years of the chart's existence. Given that we only have data stretching back to 1958, we probably haven't even captured the genre's peak years. 

  • Rock and soul were the most popular music genres from the mid-60s to mid-70s. But as soul peaked in 1974 and slowly began to fade, rock continued to climb. Its run from 1982-86, when rock musicians occupied nearly 60% of available Hot 100 spots, is by far the most dominant stretch for any one genre.

  • Despite all the attention paid to boy bands in the late '90s, it seems like R&B had no problem flourishing. Acts like Boyz II Men and Janet Jackson propelled the genre's popularity and ingratiated it with the masses.

  • Country has had a tumultuous ride in the history of popular American music. It enjoyed middling popularity through the mid-'80s, when it all but dropped off the charts. Since 1999, however, it's seen a noticeable resurgence.

  • Music trends have swung in favor of pop and hip-hop in the 2010s. Pop has owned the largest share of Billboard spots dating back to 2006, but has seen its popularity decline slightly since 2011. Meanwhile, rap has come on strong in the last two years. In fact, rap is on pace to occupy more than 30% of Hot 100 spots this year, higher than its previous peak in 2004.

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