thread of dunking on academic/laypeople's studies of pop music that set out to confirm one's beliefs about how music sucks these days, at the expense of facts or the scientific method

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(but will become conventional wisdom anyway)

there seems to be one of these every couple months but the thread here was prompted by this piece on the loudness war, which I actually thought was a decent bit of reporting, but quotes the following terrible premise for a study:

Several years ago, Chris Johnson, an audio software developer, tested a theory, espoused by some anti-loudness war activists, that the hyper-compression roiling the industry was partially to blame for shortened careers. Using a list of all-time best-selling recordings, he rearranged them by “commercial importance,” assigning each a score derived by multiplying an album’s number of platinum certifications (how many millions sold) by the number of years it had been on the market. These were records that were not merely popular — they also displayed longevity. He then used software to analyze the sound waves of each album. ... Topping Mr. Johnson’s commercially-important list, just ahead of Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album, was the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).” “It’s gratifying, but unsurprising,” Johnson wrote, “to discover that the single most commercially important album in R.I.A.A. history contains some of the most striking dynamic contrasts pop music’s ever seen.”


granted, I'm not without bias here (few moments in film have spoken to me more than that line from The Big Lebowski), but it's worth noting that this is the same study that the author of the piece mentions in his book Perfecting Sound Forever, much less credulously: "The problem with Johnson's theory is that albums like Californication haven't been out long enough to even approach the sales of an album like The Wall." in other words, not only do you have a major confounding variable here (in addition to the rat king of confounding variables that is the music industry or audiences or sales on this broad a scale), you... multiply by it

anyway I hate the fuckin' eagles, man

theorizing your yells (katherine), Thursday, 7 February 2019 17:48 (six months ago) link

Those graphs are neat tbh

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 7 February 2019 17:56 (six months ago) link

the graphs aren't part of this

theorizing your yells (katherine), Thursday, 7 February 2019 17:57 (six months ago) link

"A study has found that golden oldies stick in millennials’ minds far more than the relatively bland, homogenous pop of today."

Objective, balanced news.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 February 2019 01:53 (six months ago) link

these things come out too often! pseudoscientific analysis of cultural products was so much better in the old days

dyl, Friday, 8 February 2019 02:51 (six months ago) link


budo jeru, Friday, 8 February 2019 03:18 (six months ago) link

Scientists tested a group of millennials on their ability to recognise hit records from different decades. The 643 participants, typically aged 18 to 25

over half that age range = not millennials

theorizing your yells (katherine), Friday, 8 February 2019 03:23 (six months ago) link

that said, for what it's worth, the linked article is an oversimplification of the study, but the conclusions of the study are rather all over the place

(but 21-year-olds still aren't millennials)

theorizing your yells (katherine), Friday, 8 February 2019 03:32 (six months ago) link

yeah few things depress me more than seeing general purpose media attempting to report on scientific findings, because they always want to "sex it up", typically by grossly misrepresenting the actual findings

the scientology of mountains (rushomancy), Friday, 8 February 2019 03:54 (six months ago) link

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