Music Industry

New AI analysis of charts suggests that we’re seeing a slow-moving renaissance in rock. Guitars are back, baby!

This study is facscinating. It also confirms something that I’ve been feeling for the last six months or so. Maybe it wasn’t just wishful thinking on my part.

Aritifical intelligence is turning out to be a very useful analytical tool. for people within the music industry. Can it be used to plot/graph trends in music? Yes. Yes, it can.

A company called ChartCypher has done some analysis of charts in 2022 and 2023 and it shows that the public’s sentiment toward hip-hop is on a bit of a downswing. Meanwhile, rock is on the rise, with its representation on the singles charts increasing 58% over the last year. Meanwhile, the number of hip-hop songs on those same charts has dropped dramatically (-37%).

Not only that, but the prevalence of guitars in charting songs is the highest it’s been in a decade, rising 56% from 2022 to 2023. The use of a piano in hit songs has been on the decline. And it’s also not your imagination: Charting songs have gotten slower. So many of them can be classified as mid-temp.

Another fun fact: Hit songs are getting shorter. So far in the 2020s, the average lenth of a hit is three minutes and 15 seconds. Hit songs haven’t been this short since the 1960s. Check the charts today and you’ll see a lot of songs–maybe even the majority of them–running between two and three minutes.

Is that the TikTok effect? Do we have shorter attention spans for songs? Or does this have something to do with artists and producers following up on music consumption habits that are being altered by streaming?

One last thing. Songs are becoming a lot less sweary when it comes to lyrics. That’s interesting. I have no explanation.

Rick Beato investigates. This is extremely interesting.

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 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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