The past decade has witnessed the most insane upheavals in music technology. Everything changed, but how much has musical taste itself changed during that period? According to data we’ve looked at, the answer is not that much, even though the ways we access, discover, and share our music have been completely revolutionized.
Of course, some things have changed taste-wise. Over the past few years, electronic music has found its way into the mainstream, being infused in pop music of all kinds. And the festival experience is changing the way fans interact with bands and live music. People have gained unprecedented access to tools of creation, yet research finds that pop music has become more uniform and formulaic.
But these are shifts here and there, not fundamental changes. And after breaking down the sales figures of various genres tracked by Nielsen Soundscan, the result seems to be that the types of music we love has been pretty steady.
Below is a graph of each genre’s share of the total album sales for that year. A few notes: oftentimes, an album gets categorized under multiple genres. Electronic was introduced as a genre in 2010, and has been growing steadily since. And for whatever reason, Nielsen suddenly reintroduced Rock as a category in 2006 (we’re hoping on a response for why).
There are a number of possible reasons for this consistency. This could indicate a widespread stagnation in musical taste, or it could simply mean that the same types of listeners are paying for music today as ten years ago, thus hiding trends that aren’t reflected in the data. Another takeaway is that technological and musical upheavals are largely separate animals. Things like rock n’ roll, Nirvana, and rap do happen, but on their own cultural clocks.
- Niko Malek.
Source: Digital Music News