Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

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42low
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby 42low » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:09 am

Forgot to mention a point of attention why the conclusion in the article isn't valid.

The guy analyzed "songs that hit the top 10 from 1986 to 2015".

The article says ​the conlusiin is that "short attention spans inspire intros that are four times shorter, study finds".
That's overal.
But this can not be a valid conclusion if only a part of only top 10 songs are researched. To come to such an overall conclusion songs overall should have been researched. Not a restricted top 10 selection.

As we can't read the conclusion in the study we can't tell if the conclusion is wrong, or the articel uses it wrong. Although it seems that it's the study which concludes it. (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10 ... 4917698010)
But for sure this conclusion can't be valid, isn't right.

Another slight point of attention.
The study/artical suggests that the reason is to be found at the listeners, but we all know that hits mostly are hits through promotion instead of "peoples choice".

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby CrocoDuck » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:28 pm

42low wrote:Done these kind of tests at school in the early day's with dices. I guess that if you try the result will be nearer to 500. But again, i ain't gonna flip a coin 100 times. :mrgreen:


That's exactly the point. If you flip a coin 100 times and find 54 heads, can you say the coin is a regular, not weighted, coin? If you flip it 1000000 times and find 500001 heads? Do you have evidence to claim the coin is a regular coin?

The fact is that the number of times you repeat the experiment is for sure important, but the numerical analysis of the result is more important than that. Without numerical analysis, 1000000 trials are as good as 10.

As for the question in the example, we can work something out. Without entering too much into details (don't wanna make a long post about maths) we proceed as following:

  • A regular coin has a probability of 0.5 to fall on the head side when flipped.
  • Hence, the probability is constant, and different flips of a coin are Independent.
  • So, the flipping of a coin is described by the binomial distribution, which is our reference distribution. We use this distribution to model a regular coin flipping experiment.
  • Based on our reference distribution, we calculate the expected mean and standard deviation of the flipping of an ideal coin for 1000 trials. These are 500 and 15.8 respectively.
  • With this result, we can calculate the value of the standard variable t: (500 - 450) / 15.8 = 3.16. This means that the observed result, 450 heads, is 3.16 standard deviations away from the expected mean of the model for regular coins.
  • Now, the binomial distribution converges quite fast to the Gaussian distribution, so we can associate Gaussian levels to t. If we integrate the Gaussian from t to infinity we can calculate, according to the model of regular coins, the probability of the experiment giving less than (or up to) 450 heads. This probability is 0.0008 and, again, it is the probability a regular coin has, by chance, to fall on less than or equal to 450 heads when thrown 1000 times.
  • This means the following: if we state that the coin is not described by the binomial model, valid for regular coins, the probability we have to do a mistake is less than 0.0008.
  • We conclude than that, with a very small probability of being wrong, our coin is not in agreement with the binomial model, which assumes the coin is regular and not weighted for cheating.

Now, in all of this we used: squared roots, factorials, continuous and discrete functions, integrals, powers and a whole lot of arithmetic. Forgive me if I am wrong, but this does not count as easy in my book: there is a lot of mathematics involved into this. In fact, this is called hypothesis testing, and usually the topic can only be introduced after the first 100 pages of an undergraduate statistics book, each single one of the 100 pages before being needed to comprehend it. It might be straightforward once you understand it, but if it was easy we wouldn't need maths at all. And the example of the coin is very remarkable: it is the simplest experiment possible in statistics. Things can get only more complicated from there.

Note that at any point we concluded that the coin is weighted, but just that the evidence we have is not in good agreement with a model, the agreement being quantified as a probability (0.0008).

Back to the main topic, we have many doubts about how legit the conclusions of the author are, and those are good doubts. I am not trusting its result too much as well honestly, as you read above. However, refuting a thesis in rigorous ways passes through analysing the data (which are not readily accessible to us, unfortunately). In fact, if you repeated the experiment of the coin by yourself, flipping it 1000 times, you wouldn't still know how to answer the question without analysis. The same goes for analysing intro time for pop songs.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby 42low » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:38 am

CrocoDuck wrote:Back to the main topic, we have many doubts about how legit the conclusions of the author are, and those are good doubts. I am not trusting its result too much as well honestly, as you read above. However, refuting a thesis in rigorous ways passes through analysing the data (which are not readily accessible to us, unfortunately). In fact, if you repeated the experiment of the coin by yourself, flipping it 1000 times, you wouldn't still know how to answer the question without analysis. The same goes for analysing intro time for pop songs.

Instead of talking about coins we can also talk about fruit.

If one wants to research the possible change in color of fruit and he researches bananas, one can not conclude that all fruit is more yellow then it was yellow before, so fruit is yellow. Grapes (=fruit to) still are green and red, not more or less yellow. Tomato's still never ever were yellow.

Coins? Ok. If you flip a dollar X times to research which side it ends most, you can not conclude that all money (so including paper money) ends at that side.

That's what this guy concludes. He concludes all songs have shorter intro's because his researched (only) hitsongs did. He then can only conclude that for the hitsongs and not for all songs.
We can talk about coins or bananas for long but this guy's conclusion can impossible be read as significant/right as the research method isn't valid. That's an undoubted scientific fact. I guess that's clear.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby CrocoDuck » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:02 am

42low wrote:That's what this guy concludes. He concludes all songs have shorter intro's because his researched (only) hitsongs did. He then can only conclude that for the hitsongs and not for all songs.


He didn't actually researched only hit-songs. Also, I am not sure he is inferring the result for all songs. From the introduction:

In the second study, 60 popular songs from 2015 were paired with 60 less popular songs from the same artists. The same parameters were evaluated. The data were not consistent with any of the hypotheses regarding the relationship between attention economy principles within a comparison of popular and less popular music.


He did try to understand what happens with less popular music with that second study, by seeing if there is any difference between popular and less popular output of the same artist. I am having some difficulty in parsing what he means with the last sentence though.

But again, we should review the whole paper rather then just the introduction. It is very annoying for me when papers have a price... they should be public.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby 42low » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:00 am

Yes i've read that from the beginning. 60 non-hits next to 303 hitsongs is not significant at all to come to this this conclusion.
And his own conclusion was that "that data was not consistent with any of the hypotheses regarding the relationship between attention economy principles within a comparison of popular and less popular music". That means it didn't fit within the conclusion.

The article says the same in other words..
In a second study, Léveillé Gauvin evaluated data provided by Spotify to see if popular songs by a given artist were more likely to fit the attention-grabbing trend than less-popular songs released by the same artist. For the study, he looked at the most-streamed songs on Spotify and compared those to the least-streamed songs by the same artist.

He found no evidence of the “attention economy” hypothesis in that study.

This 'out of the box' part contradicts the conclusion immediately. Exactly as i said.
The used data is already known to us as given by two sources. The conclusion is known too. Non significant data for an at the end not valid conclusion.
He researched bananas to conclude all fruit (incl grapes and pears) is slightly more or less yellow nowadays then it was yellow before. :roll:
How difficult can that be? I don't understand that this clear fact is part of the discussion yet. Either one sees it or not. I'm not going to repeat or discuss this anymore.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby CrocoDuck » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:10 am

42low wrote:How difficult can that be? I don't understand that this clear fact is part of the discussion yet. Either one sees it or not. I'm not going to repeat or discuss this anymore


Sorry, 42low, I think I wasn't particularly clear on what my points are.

I am not trying to demonstrate that the author is right and you are wrong, because I don't think it. I think you raised pretty good points, in fact. Please, don't take any critical thinking as an attack on you: it is not the point. The point here is trying to understand things properly.

Imagine you have a guitar teacher. You compose a song as an assignment and then he is like "It's bad, do it over". Well, that would be a bad teacher. You need him to make you understand what you are doing wrong, and why, and what you are doing good, and why.

Now, all your points are legit about this study, but imagine to go back to the study author and say:

"It's wrong, your sample is too small and you cannot infer your results as you do. And my decision is based on the introduction only of your article and an interview published somewhere else."

You might be very well correct in saying that the study is not valid, but we might be more specific, hence more helpful and constructive. For example:

  • Your sample is overly biased over the US hit-songs, thus it cannot be used to infer more general results.
  • You investigated correlations between attention grabbing models and market trends, but that still does not inform us on any causality relationship.
  • The introduction of the article doesn't state clearly the overall conclusion: does the second study invalidate the first study? What is the overall conclusion we should draw? Not giving a clear overall conclusion in the introduction of a scientific paper is bad practice.

All of the above is actually constructive criticism, as it pinpoints reasons why the study might be not satisfactory. On top of that, we would need to go deeper, to pinpoint even more. Chances are that the conclusions of the author will become clearer by reading the whole paper, and with that it will become clearer how correct they are.

My point is not "I am right and you are wrong". If it came across in this way, sorry, it was misunderstanding. However, I think that just saying "it's wrong and it is easy to say otherwise" is not constructive, it is dismissive. And this is not by any mean an attack on you: it is just what I think in general terms. Critical thinking helps getting better understanding when one goes deep into trying to understand something, rather than dismissing it entirely.

Finally, by reading the whole paper one might indeed find many reason why the conclusion don't hold properly, but also find many points that actually show a legit phenomenon. Many scientific results were achieved by people thinking they discovered something being actually reviewed to find that... instead they discovered something else entirely. There still might be something salvageable from whatever this researcher did.

I hope this makes my point clearer, sorry. And please, don't take confrontation personally. It is just a chance to become smarter in the process, for all the interlocutors involved.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby 42low » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:30 pm

I didn't understand you at full indeed. My excuses for that.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby GraysonPeddie » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:46 am

I saw a mention of Zeitgeist in the first page of the thread and I thought I'd like to chime in.

For an alternative to Zeitgeist, have a look at some alternatives:

The Venus Project (Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadow co-founded the project): https://www.thevenusproject.com/
The Venus Project: Resource-Based Economy: https://www.thevenusproject.com/resource-based-economy/
The Free World Charter (Colin Turner): http://www.freeworldcharter.org/en

Anyway, I listened to lots of instrumental music that are new age in nature such as Yanni, David Arkenstone, 2002, Checkfield, and David Lanz, including Celtic music from the likes of Clannad, Enya, and Loreena McKennitt. I don't listen to mainstream music that much. One popular song I despise the most is "I Love You, I Hate You" but my favorite song is 24K Magic by Bruno Mars (I'm able to synthesize the bass patch using ZynAddSubFX).

As for music creation, my songs have been written tu support a cause -- to support The Venus Project and Free World Charter. I'm an advocate for both of them that strive for alternatives to money and the hopes for a better future for all of us, but then people from all over the world would downplay both The Venus Project and Free World Charter as being "utopian," but neither me, Jacque Fresco, Roxanne Meadow, and Colin Turner are considered "utopian." Even a city full of utopia has flaws.

If you listen to my songs, I hope you'll have a look at The Venus Project and The Free World Charter as that is what my music is for.
https://soundcloud.com/grayson-peddie

I hope I can contribute to the thread here, but I realize my post might be out of topic considering the mentioning of Zeitgeist earlier in the thread.

Update after a minute later: Strange... I get "a submitted form is invalid" message while submitting my post. At least my post got through a second try. Anyway, it's late. Good night.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby jonetsu » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:52 pm

Of interest can be the analysis of Taylor Swift pop songs by Friedmann Findeisen (Holistic Songwriting). I do not agree with everything, but he has a few good points on modern pop and how it is made in this and other analysis:

8 minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=damt9eQ_2Js
Last edited by jonetsu on Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby jonetsu » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:00 pm

And of course, a classic on how money works is the 30-minute cartoon 'The Collapse of The American Dream Explained in Animation'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII9NZ8MMVM

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:51 pm

Some interesting points in his analyses although I'm also not entirely on board with everything he mentions.

My opinion:

- TS songwriting is .... well... forgettable. She has no songwriting talent whatsoever.
- The arrangements are formulaic, tailored to current fads in which the average listener has been indoctrinated into.
- The music / product is sold on the visuals & imagery. The media machine makes it all come together as it blasts it out on industry channels for the tone deaf to lap up.
- Singing underwear sells.

That said, some of the major players in this business, one excellent example being Max Martin (mentioned early on in the video), are actually very talented songwriters & producers. (Look up some of his earlier work, it's well made pop.)

However, people like Martin simply choose to dumb their product down because it's easier, they can mass produce it, it sells, they've hit on winning formulas which sell, they have all kinds of collaborators across the industry - ranging from singing underwear "stars" to media conglomerates - who partner with them and who all line up for their cuts.

The pop music industry is a business, a business which exists to make profits. Nowadays the mass market don't listen to music for the sake of listening to music. The mass market are sold on current fads, on an Instagram & Video overload experience & fantasy, backed up by beats. What it sounds like is largely irrelevant. It's all about buying in to the stylistics, fashion, hype and getting Borged into chasing mass popularity momentum.

There are a handful of people on the fringes of success (ie some of these "minor" stars) who still bring out reasonably OK music, but whereas before (up to about the 90's) the emphasis was more on getting an at least reasonable sounding tune together, nowadays this is of lesser importance in the mass market.

I'll show some examples:

Here's a typical TS offering, exactly what it is... who knows? But sure as heck it isn't music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmd-ClpJxA


Here's an old Britney Spears tune from the early 2000's (don't laugh) written & produced by Max Martin and some others. Whatever one's musical tastes or opinions on Britney are, it should be clear that (unlike a typical Taylor Swift track) this has a melodic structure and that some effort has gone into making a musical sounding arrangement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlV7RhT6zHs


Such examples show how the "Industry" has simply evolved into something way beyond making music.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby GraysonPeddie » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:09 pm

No kidding! And why would I laugh at Britney Spears? She's way better than Taylor Swift. My ears thanked me for listening to the song by Britney Spears.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Michael Willis » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:43 am

asbak wrote:tailored

I saw what you did.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby 42low » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:30 pm

asbak wrote:- The arrangements are formulaic, tailored to current fads in which the average listener has been indoctrinated into.

Is something wrong with that?
When i make music i often too use proven arrangement styles to eventually try to make something 'popular'. This fits my goal to one time create some small hit.
Need to explain to that i try to make those arrengements 'catchy'. Not to step in line next to 'thousends off others'.

asbak wrote:- Singing underwear sells.

Ow man thanks! This super best tip ever i gonna keep in mind for my next video clip. :mrgreen:

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:49 pm

42low wrote:
asbak wrote:- The arrangements are formulaic, tailored to current fads in which the average listener has been indoctrinated into.

Is something wrong with that?
When i make music i often too use proven arrangement styles to eventually try to make something 'popular'. This fits my goal to one time create some small hit.
Need to explain to that i try to make those arrengements 'catchy'. Not to step in line next to 'thousends off others'.


Most "producers" and "musicians" nowadays know next to nothing about music. What they produce is not music, it is cacophony which transcends any levels of competence, ability or good taste. In earlier times there used to be (more) quality control and the talentless generally didn't have access to the required gear and infrastructure to crank out endless streams of noise pollution with which to assault society.

Nowadays things have come full circle which is why the public are bombarded with an avalanche of rubbish which should have been drowned at birth.

It's not just happening in music. The exact same thing is happening in the book world where thousands upon thousands upon thousands of awful "books" are being generated and flooded on to the market, making it so much more difficult to sift through the whole mess to find anything decent. The reader is literally overloaded with such a flood of bad choices that it becomes increasingly difficult not to be sucked under by it.

It's the same with films.

If one could make a time-lapse recording of the collective intelligence and education levels of the general public, it would show a marked decline since the 2000's.

It's quite ironic that the more access the general public have to evolving and ever more complex technology the more stupid they seem to be becoming.


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