Why the Most Popular Music Is Not Always the Best

Much to the chagrin of musicians and critics alike, the best music does not always make it to the top of the charts. The market, however, does have a tendency to create an equilibrium. 

What's the Latest Development?


When online music-selling platforms were first emerging, a team of researchers at Columbia University wanted to know how much influence social media would have on a song's popularity. By placing the same nine songs across different platforms, they found an unpredictable variability in which songs became popular. In other words, the best songs did not necessarily become the most popular ones. "Because what people like depends on what they think other people like, what the market 'wants' at any point in time can depend very sensitively on its own history," said the researchers at the time of the study. 

What's the Big Idea?

The notion that a song's quality does not determine its presence in the music market may offend musicians and critics alike but, thankfully, time helps the best music rise to the top. "Even on sites where the number of downloads determines song ordering, high-quality songs will gradually creep up the rankings, because, by definition, they net more downloads per sample than low-quality songs do." Coco Krumme, an author of a new paper on the subject, says that while quality ultimately matters, it takes a long time for the music market to reach a point of equilibrium. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less
Sponsored

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

content.jwplatform.com
Videos
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less