{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Google has launched a brand new feature called Music Timeline.

The timeline charts the rise of different music genres over time, highlighting specific album releases and key artists specific to that time and musical styling.

This visual representation of music history uses data from Google’s own music download service Google Play, delving into the many preferences and downloads of its users.

Click on the image below to be taken to the new toy.

As you can probably tell, the thicker the line, the more popular the music. Underneath these undulating forms are images of the key albums from the genre, which click-through to their respective Google Play download pages.

Clicking on the genres themselves reveal even deeper insight on that style’s sub-genres.

Here in metal you can trace the roots of hair metal, doom metal and death metal in as much detail as the data from Google Play allows. Which is where we realise the constraints of the timeline.

Limitations:

What we’re seeing isn’t necessarily representative of what was popular at the time. It’s what modern listeners are enjoying from that period now. Which may explain the inexplicable modern spike of Fleetwood Mac’s popularity. 

It’s only Google Play users who are providing this data. This is a history of popular music according to users of Google Play, the demographics of which have yet to be revealed. Adding iTunes users, Spotify subscribers or the Discogs community would likely warp and mutate these charts significantly.

This data comes from albums that are sat in Google Play user’s libraries. Not what they listen to via any other means on any other device. Personally speaking I have many albums sat in my iTunes folder that wouldn’t even remotely reflect what I play everyday on my record player. (Quickly swaps browser windows to delete Ke$ha back catalogue.) 

The timeline only starts in 1950.

There’s no classical music, even though Google Play offers downloads from a full range of classical composers.

So to conclude, this is a deeply anachronistic, slightly off centre tool that chooses to highlight music from its own narrow set of data, over curation and common sense. I take great umbrage with Police being given such weight over The Cure and Talking Heads in the New Wave/Post Punk timeline. But then who am I to argue with Google Play's own 'Big Data'?

For more on trends in digital music, read this piece on the launch of Beats Music and its possible effect on Spotify.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 20 January, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

Comments (14)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

angelina

wow..awesome..it would be great..!

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave Mustaine

Since when is Linken Park metal?

almost 3 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

Well if anybody had the right to define Metal, then it would be Dave Mustaine.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dimebag Darrell

Shut up Dave. You sold out.

almost 3 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

*Gets Lemmy on phone to sort this out*

almost 3 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

I might delete this post before Lars Ulrich wades in.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David Lee Roth

Notice that "Rock" plummeted when Sammy took over. Just sayin'. What a douche.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sammy Hagar

You're bald.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

GG Allin

Quit whining, little girls.

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Glen Danzig

Eat s**t GG (some more)

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jerry Only

Hey Glen I miss you bro. Wanna be BFFs?

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Win Butler

This blog post is either too ironic, or not ironic enough, to be cool. It's making me cry into my vintage cowboy shirt.

almost 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

Win, Glenn, Sammy, David, Dimebag and Dave, you all work at the same company according to your IP? Must be quite the staff room! ;-)

Thanks for commenting though!

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Chad Kroeger

@ben haters gonna hate!

almost 3 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.