Music Industry

It’s not your imagination: Hit songs are become less diverse

It happens suddenly. After a lifetime of being a massive music fan, everything starts to sound the same. “What’s wrong with kids these days?” you might wonder. “Music was so much better in my day.”

It’s age, right? It’s You’ve Become Your Parents Disease. You’re officially unhip. The cycle of life continues.

Hang on. Maybe not. Maybe today’s music doesn’t sound as interesting as it once did.

Let’s go to ThePudding:

In 2014, Snoop Dogg asked 50 Cent what he missed most about the past, when hip hop “was what it was.” 50 Cent replied “authenticity,” which led to Snoop’s infamous imitation of today’s rappers.

In short, originality has given way to homogeneity, with artists copying whatever’s in fashion (especially as rap music becomes today’s pop music).

Regardless of whether Snoop is right, the same could be said of 1990s hip hop. Or 1980s pop (with pervasive synths/808 beats). Or 1960s rock, when the Beatles (and their sound) permeated radio. The music industry will ride a trend (if it sells), and hit songs converge on a style.

Is there something unique about today’s hits—artists taking fewer risks and creating a narrower range of sounds?

Keep reading. There are some interesting charts that investigate this allegation. Fun fact: In 1984, every single #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 featured the prominent use of a synthesizer. I’m guessing that adults back then were thinking the same thing about their kids’ music…



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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