The history of pop music is rich in details, anecdotes, folk lore. And controversy. There is no shortage of debate over questions about the origin and influence of particular bands and musical styles.
But despite the keen interest in the evolution of pop music, there is little to back up most claims in the form of hard analytical evidence.
Today that changes thanks to the work of Matthias Mauch at Queen Mary University of London and a few pals who have used the number crunching techniques developed to understand genomic data to study the evolution of American pop music. These guys say they have found an objective way to categorise musical styles and to measure the way these styles change in popularity over time.
Fun work — and findings.