Five decades of US, UK, German and Dutch music charts show that cultural processes are accelerating

  • Analysing the timeline of US, UK, German and Dutch music charts, we find that the evolution of album lifetimes and of the size of weekly rank changes provide evidence for an acceleration of cultural processes. For most of the past five decades, number one albums needed more than a month to climb to the top, nowadays an album is in contrast top ranked either from the start, or not at all. Over the last three decades, the number of top-listed albums increased as a consequence from roughly a dozen per year, to about 40. The distribution of album lifetimes evolved during the last decades from a log-normal distribution to a power law, a profound change. Presenting an information–theoretical approach to human activities, we suggest that the fading relevance of personal time horizons may be causing this phenomenon. Furthermore, we find that sales and airplay- based charts differ statistically and that the inclusion of streaming affects chart diversity adversely. We point out in addition that opinion dynamics may accelerate not only in cultural domains, as found here, but also in other settings, in particular in politics, where it could have far reaching consequences.

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Author:Lukas Schneider, Claudius GrosORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Royal Society Open Science
Publisher:Royal Soc. Publ.
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/08/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/10/07
Tag:music charts; self-organized criticalit; social acceleration; time scales
Issue:8, Art. 190944
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
© 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Physik / Physik
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 78 Musik / 780 Musik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0