Google releases graph charting our tastes in music

17 Jan 2014

Through its Google Play service on Android phones, Google has been able to compile a graph showing how music has developed and who we have listened to from the 20th century.

The detailed graph has been compiled using data showing how many Google Play Music users have an artist or album in their music library, and other data, such as album release dates. Each stripe on the graph represents a genre; the thickness of the stripe tells you roughly the popularity of music released in a given year in that genre. This is then broken down into the different sub-genres.

For example, the decades of the 1950s and early ’60s show a huge boom in jazz music, easy listening and country before the explosion of pop and rock music in the mid-’60s.

Music timeline

By clicking on each genre stripe, it will then break down, showing what exactly was the most listened to by each decade in terms of albums and artists.

Limitations of accuracy

The chart is not completely accurate, however, as Google admits. Dates prior to the 1950s was just too sparse to be accurate and even figures from the 1950s is based off the largest sellers of that time, hence Elvis Presley being the first entry in to the rock section.

Rap music timeline

Starting with music from the 1990s is the best way to get an accurate picture of the breakdown of not just the genres and sub-genres, but the progression and popularity of particular artists, like Eminem, in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Of course, with the information only being sourced from Google’s music player, it’s hardly what could be called scientific but can be considered an interesting graph to explore, nonetheless.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic