Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The weakest year in music?...

Having compiled a database of over 13,000 songs and ranking The Top 5000 Songs of the Rock Era (1955-2015)*, which will be available soon for purchase, Inside The Rock Era is probably in as good a position as anyone to answer this question.  We don't answer with our heart or with our head; rather, our answer is taken straight from the data ranking the songs.

As many of you know, one of the main criteria that we use in rankings is the competition--the strength of other songs out at the same time.  We strongly assert that it is the only way that songs can legitimately be compared across months, years and decades.

While finishing up our research on The Top 5000 Songs* to prepare it for publishing, we came across an interesting finding, albeit an embarrassing one to music of this century.  In the entire process of finding the Top 15 songs out at the same time as each of the 13,000+ songs under consideration, we easily found those 15 competing songs, because they each had a ranking of 5,000 or less (they were all ranked in The Top 5000*).  In many years, those 15 competing songs were all ranked in The Top 500*.

However, beginning in the summer of 2006 and extending all the way through 2007, this was not the case.  For each song released in that time, there were at best 9 other songs released at the same time that are in The Top 5000*.  For many songs, there were only four other Top 5000* songs out at the same time.  There had been a strong downward trend in the level of competition since about 1999, but the group of Top 15 songs for competition consisted entirely of songs within The Top 5000*.  This extreme lack of competition is the first time we have ever come across this phenomenon--it has heretofore been unheard of.  The weak period lasted from 2006 all the way to 2011 for all but the biggest hits.

From this data, a child of eight can easily determine that 2006-2011 was the weakest time for music in the last 50 years.  The four years since haven't been much better.  So when you hear that a song reached #1 in that period, take it with a considerable grain of salt.

*A footnote to the above--we looked for a sign or signal that may have triggered a jolt in the music business around the time of 2011.  In January of 2011, Adele came out with her album 21, which contained the smash hits "Rolling In The Deep", "Someone Like You" and "Fire In The Rain".  Coincidentally, or perhaps not, she seems to have given an uptick to the quality of music since then.  The first two of those songs mentioned above made The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, which by the way are the last two songs to achieve that feat.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.