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Tendencies and Numbers: What is Behind the Music in Your Playlists



Ever since Seikilos epitaph, the oldest musical piece to be ever found, until tuning in our Daily Drive Spotify playlist when getting in the car, music has been known to be everywhere. In fact, its impacts in our brains and in our relationships go way further than just a 3-minute long song - it can be examined as a social and cultural phenomena. Moreover, the intensity through which musical information and content reaches us increases by the second as its usage gets an integral relationship with social media. The real question is: how does society’s way of music consumption shift in this current era? It turns out that making a hit is demanding much more than a pair of pure talent and a recorder.


Primarily, the progression of music in this exact moment is seen as something reliant on calibration. This means that by analyzing the most streamed songs in the present, the vast majority consists of hits seen in places like TikTok. This is what some people have been calling the Tik Tok Effect - when a song becomes popular after being good enough to be in video trends and after becoming memeable. There, videos can range from fifteen seconds to one minute, although the first type is often more popular. Then, this effect is spreading itself in the corners of the music industry, in which formulaic compositions make their way up the streams through their predictability and reliability.


An example of this is Olivia Rodrigo’s burst - the Disney popstar that literally rendered a huge success in a matter of days with hits like “driver’s licence” and “good 4 u”. These pop-rock ballads far from innovative have become commercially successful by the media thanks to having been born from the Effect. Algorithms and trends, in this sense, have been conditioning the pop consumer base to be fond of predictable and commercially viable rhythms. Conclusively, standardization is continually topping innovation and authenticity.


At the same time, music platforms are seeing authentic phenomenons such as Eurovision winner Måneskin rapidly speeding along the trends. Even though they do not bring the standards and forms that disco-pop internet hits carry, they are echoing the voice of uniqueness. The fact that they have songs in Italian in top-50 trends backed by rock rhythms - as well as conducting what some specialists are calling a possible ressurge of rock music - shows that the dictation of social media effects is not entirely a rule.


It is evident that technology is dictating many creative and artistic progressions. However, to what extent is the music industry leaving the contentment with the creative process in order to embrace commerciality?


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