All music sounds the same these days

A computer analysis of pop music throughout the ages shows that most music that the kids of today are listening to is identical.

This is confirmation that what your gran says, about those modern popular beat combo artists is true. They are getting worse.

According to Nature, a researcher at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute called Joan Serrà has found that music has become louder and more similar over the over the decades.

He was studying music using AI theory that music, like language, can evolve over time and is pulled in different directions by opposing forces.

Dr Serrà’s team sifted through the Million Song Dataset, run jointly by Columbia University, in New York, and the Echo Nest, an American company, which contains beat-by-beat data on a million Western songs from a variety of popular genres.

The team looked at pitch, timbre and loudness, which were available for nearly half a million songs released from 1955 to 2010.

Modern music uses the same chords as music from the 1950s and most melodies are composed of the ten most popular chords.

But they also follow Zipf’s law which is applied to written texts. This shows that the most common word occurs roughly twice as often as the second most common.

The only thing that has really changed is how the chords are spliced into the tune. In the 1950s many of the less common chords would be used close together. More recently, they have tended to be separated by more pedestrian chords.

Timbre, lent by instrument types and recording techniques, similarly shows signs of narrowing. This peaked in the 1960s thanks to more experimentation with electric guitar sounds.

But while the current music is all the same, at least it is louder. Songs today are on average nine decibels louder than half a century ago.

This is because record mixers use loudness to catch radio listeners’ attention.

What is scary is that as music becomes more similar it is getting harder for computers to tell them apart. Sorting them into genres using timbre measurements is not enough.