Charting Music’s Big Revolutions
To learn how and when species evolved, evolutionary biologists turn to the fossil record. To learn how popular music evolved, evolutionary biologist Armand Leroi and his team peered into pop’s own “fossil record”: the last 50 years of Billboard Hot 100 charts. From a starting point of 50 years’ worth of audio data, the team crunched the numbers to yield some surprising insights. Among them: Hip-hop was by far the biggest musical revolution of the last half-century.
Armand Leroi is a professor of evolutionary biology at Imperial College London in London, England.