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Well Folks, Chop's Over, You May Get Up, Walk About the Cabin. Should Be Smooth the Rest of the Flight

The contrast between incredible turbulence of the 50s and 60s on the one hand, and everything since on the other, is stark in this Google Research visualization of music from 1950 to now. I would love to see what book genres and movie genres look like during the same time period.

There are probably many factors that are skewing this graph. How many people owned record players and radios in the 1950s versus the 60s? How much was television a factor in the late 1950s and through the 1960s in terms of popularizing non-jazz forms of music? How about population growth? And globalization effects? How does Google define "popularity"? Sales of records? Who knows. All sorts of questions, and no answers.

Besides the dramatic death of Jazz in the 60s, struck down by Pop and Rock, the other astonishing thing in this visualization is the simple predictability of the "channels" of genres ever since 1980. It's as if the genres went into a huge processing plant, which sorted them out and what flowed out were highly regulated, commercial products carefully placed into the market at controlled rates. It's as if music has morphed from being an art form, to being a product churned out by a smokestack industry.

Thinking of posting a comment to this blog entry? That's nice. But please note: As of January 19. 2014, I no longer review comments. So they will never appear. So don't bother. If you want to comment on something you read here, go to twitter and write your comment there and just include "@brianstorms" in the tweet. I am no longer moderating the comments here; I just assume everything is spam and Intense Debate seems to have abandoned support for its product.

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