New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune - CSH Vienna

New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune


Feb 6, 2019

[CSH Press Release]

 

What drives fashion changes?

 

A quantitative network analysis of almost eight million musical albums, released between 1956 and 2015, offers an answer to a century-old debate.

 

[Vienna, February 6, 2019] A research team led by scientists at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) found that fashion cycles in music are driven by outsider groups. These outsiders challenge the dominant music style by strongly contrasting the preferences of the current elite, for instance, by using different instrumentation or new rhythms. “They use counter-signaling,” explains Stefan Thurner, one of the authors of a new paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. “To put it very bluntly: With a new style, music producers try to slap the old one in the face,” says Thurner.

 

The social dynamics that lead to new fashions and trends have long been, and still are, subject to heated debate and contradictory theories in sociology. The “costly signaling theory,” for example, claims that elites try to establish distinctions by using styles that are too costly to be adopted by non-members of the group. In contrast to this top-down approach, random-pattern theories postulate that elites randomly pick features from non-elite groups and incorporate them to create a new style from the bottom-up.

 

Peter Klimek and Stefan Thurner, both CSH and Medical University of Vienna, and Robert Kreuzbauer, University of Surrey, propose an alternative explanation for the evolution of new styles: elite competition in the form of opposition—scientifically called counter-signaling. Elites are defined in this paper as social groups with disproportionate access to certain resources. In the context of music production, elites are those who dominate the most popular music style(s) at a given time.

 

The scientists tested the three approaches of costly signaling theory, random-pattern theories and counter-dominance signaling, with a large dataset containing almost eight million musical albums, released between 1956 and 2015. The data were derived from Discogs, a crowdsourced online music database. Discogs provides detailed user-generated information on millions of albums, such as artists or instrumentation, and the assignment of each record to one or several of 422 different musical styles.

 

“We first analyzed whether non-elites imitate elements like music arrangements, sounds or production techniques of current elites,” says Peter Klimek. “We found that this happens a lot. After the breakthrough of the American rock band Nirvana, for instance, a whole wave of alternative rock bands adopted elements of Nirvana’s grunge style in the 1990s.”

 

Next the researchers tested the costly-signaling theory: Would the most popular musicians abandon their style once newcomers started to copy them? “We found the contrary,” replies Klimek. “Elites rather like to see others adopt their symbols and styles. It might be a sign of their cultural influence.”

 

Finally, they examined whether new musical styles emerge at random, as random-pattern theories would suggest. They did not, Klimek states. “New styles clearly show counter-signals that provocatively challenge the currently popular styles.” The grungy rock of Nirvana thumbed its nose at highly polished stadium rock of the ’80s with bands like Queen or Guns N’ Roses; punk was a counter-signal to the hugely popular “soft rock” of the ’70s with musicians like Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel or Tina Turner leading the charts, says the complexity scientist. “Once the new style is adopted by a sufficiently large number of followers, its representatives become the new elite and the cycle starts from the beginning.”

 

“We demonstrate with a strictly data-driven, quantitative method that new fashions in music gain their impulse from a strong opposition to current trends,” Stefan Thurner points out. “This should also be tested for in other domains, be they architecture, art, fashion, or even politics and science. In the case of musical styles, the counter-signaling hypothesis best explains how novelty emerges.”

 

Beyond styles, the paper shows “how Big Data analytics can be used to come to a better understanding of the many layers of complex dynamics in human society—here, how elites come to power, persist for a while, and eventually get overthrown,” concludes Thurner.

 

Peter Klimek, Robert Kreuzbauer, Stefan Thurner, Fashion and art cycles are driven by counter-dominance signals of elite competition: Quantitative evidence from music styles, J. R. Soc. Interface 20180731. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2018.0731

 

 


Press

Trumps Stahl- und Aluzölle hatten weitreichende Folgen


Der Standard, Apr 18, 2019

Visitor

Carlos Pineda, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Visitor

Gerardo Iñiguez, DNDS, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Press

New theory derived from classical physics predicts how economies respond to major disturbances


Science Daily, Apr 15, 2019

Talk

Collective emotions and social resilience in the digital traces after a terrorist attack


David Garcia.

Apr 23, 2019 | 10:0012:00

Event

CSH Workshop: “Information-theoretic Methods for Complexity Science”


Apr 29, 2019May 01, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

News

Apr 11, 2019

Shocking Economics!

Press

Fühlen wie wir: Fortschritt Künstlicher Intelligenz


Radio NJoy, Apr 10, 2019

Press

Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender


The Economist, Apr 4, 2019

News

Apr 3, 2019

In need of ‘complexity economics’

News

Mar 20, 2019

Complex societies gave birth to big gods

News

Feb 6, 2019

New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune

Press

Trumps Stahl- und Aluzölle hatten weitreichende Folgen


Der Standard, Apr 18, 2019

Visitor

Carlos Pineda, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Visitor

Gerardo Iñiguez, DNDS, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Press

New theory derived from classical physics predicts how economies respond to major disturbances


Science Daily, Apr 15, 2019

Talk

Collective emotions and social resilience in the digital traces after a terrorist attack


David Garcia.

Apr 23, 2019 | 10:0012:00

Event

CSH Workshop: “Information-theoretic Methods for Complexity Science”


Apr 29, 2019May 01, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

News

Apr 11, 2019

Shocking Economics!

Press

Fühlen wie wir: Fortschritt Künstlicher Intelligenz


Radio NJoy, Apr 10, 2019

Press

Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender


The Economist, Apr 4, 2019

News

Apr 3, 2019

In need of ‘complexity economics’

News

Mar 20, 2019

Complex societies gave birth to big gods

News

Feb 6, 2019

New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune

News

Apr 11, 2019

Shocking Economics!

News

Apr 3, 2019

In need of ‘complexity economics’

News

Mar 20, 2019

Complex societies gave birth to big gods

News

Feb 6, 2019

New music styles: how the challenger calls the tune

News

Jan 30, 2019

Garcia, Bail, Rahwan, Couzin: Check out the videos!

News

Jan 1, 2019

Our new “Visions for Complexity”

News

Dec 4, 2018

A sad day for science: CEU forced out of Hungary

News

Nov 30, 2018

Democracies under threat

News

Oct 25, 2018

We have a new member!

News

Oct 22, 2018

The systemic risk of a single firm

News

Oct 10, 2018

THE BOOK IS OUT!!!

News

Oct 5, 2018

New statistical tool kit fingerprints electoral fraud (not only) in Turkey [CSH Press Release]

Visitor

Carlos Pineda, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Visitor

Gerardo Iñiguez, DNDS, Central European University


Apr 25, 2019Apr 26, 2019

Talk

Collective emotions and social resilience in the digital traces after a terrorist attack


David Garcia.

Apr 23, 2019 | 10:0012:00

Event

CSH Workshop: “Information-theoretic Methods for Complexity Science”


Apr 29, 2019May 01, 2019

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Event

CSH Talk by Sibel Eker: “Modelling human behavior behind global diet shifts”


May 09, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

Henrik Jensen, Imperial College London


Apr 28, 2019May 01, 2019

Talk

Reduction of Systemic Risk in Financial Markets


Stefan Thurner.

May 02, 2019 | 8:0017:00

Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften

Event

Guided tour through the “Wendelin Pressl” exhibition: “Angst? Math helps.” (in German)


Apr 28, 2019 | 16:0017:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Visitor

C. Michael Barton, Arizona State University


Apr 07, 2019Apr 13, 2019

Event

CSH Talk by Leonardo Zavojanni: “Prediction of human behaviour in the multiplayer online game Pardus”


Apr 12, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Talk

Collective emotions and social resilience in the digital traces after a terrorist attack


David Garcia.

Apr 12, 2019 | 15:0016:30

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Event

CSH Talk by Borut Trpin: “Belief updating in untrustworthy circumstances”


Apr 05, 2019 | 15:0016:00

Complexity Science Hub Vienna

Press

Trumps Stahl- und Aluzölle hatten weitreichende Folgen


Der Standard, Apr 18, 2019

Press

New theory derived from classical physics predicts how economies respond to major disturbances


Science Daily, Apr 15, 2019

Press

Fühlen wie wir: Fortschritt Künstlicher Intelligenz


Radio NJoy, Apr 10, 2019

Press

Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender


The Economist, Apr 4, 2019

Press

KI-Strategie: Österreich braucht Bildungsfokus, keine Skiroboter


Der Standard, Apr 3, 2019

Press

Uomini e religioni: le divinità e lo sviluppo di società complesse [Italian]


Focus (Italy), Mar 31, 2019

Press

Las sociedades complejas alumbraron a los dioses humanos


Tendencias21, Mar 26, 2019

Press

Divine punishment didn’t goad us into building civilization—it was the other way around


ZME Science, Mar 21, 2019

Press

Сложните общества раждат моралните богове, а не обратното [Bulgarian]


Nauka Off News, Mar 21, 2019

Press

Moralisierende Götter halten Staaten zusammen


Wiener Zeitung, Mar 20, 2019

Press

Rituale und moralisierende Götter halten Gesellschaften zusammen


APA Science, Mar 20, 2019

Press

‘Shared Distress’ of Terrorism Creates Compassionate Citizens


The Crime Report, Mar 19, 2019