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If you’re an audiophile, you are going to love this. With its various services, Google is amassing a vast amount of data right now. And sometimes, it puts this data to cool uses, like the newly launched Music Timeline, a project by Google Research. In their words, this is “a visualization to show which music has stood the test of time, and how genres and artists have risen and fallen in popularity.

The Music Timeline is an interactive chart with the X axis measuring popularity and the Y axis denoting the time. Google uses data from the Play Music The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed Google Play Music is a music streaming service, a local music player, and a podcast player all mashed into one. And it's great. Read More app, defining popularity as how many users have that artist or album in their music library. The data has been normalized by total number of albums from that year (since there is more music published now than there was in previous years).

The first chart shows different genres and when they were popular. Scroll over any and the row of album cover art under it will update with the most popular albums from this genre, each with a line tracing which year it was released in. You can click any of these albums to be taken to the Play Store to buy it.

Click the genre and it will open sub-genres. For example, Rock will show you Classic Rock, Progressive/Art, 70’s, etc. Click once more and you’ll see the most popular bands from that sub-genre.


You can also directly search for an artist or band in the search box to get their popularity chart over the years. “Search for a particular artist to see the trajectory of their career — contrast U2’s long-running reinvention and re-emergence from the ‘80s up to today, versus a one hit wonder like Los del Río’s 1995 Macarena,” Google says. Incidentally, U2 has one of the coolest band websites 8 Of The Best Band Websites On The Planet 8 Of The Best Band Websites On The Planet I have never met anybody who doesn't like music. I've met plenty who don't share my taste in music, but none who reject it altogether. A love of music is clearly hardwired into our mainframes,... Read More around.


So that’s the new Google Music Timeline. It’s a fun way to check out the history of music across genres (except classical music or anything else that’s before 1950). But it’s only meant to be a historical tool. You need to go elsewhere if you want to track the current top 40 music hits The 6 Best Websites To Track Current Top 40 Music Hits The 6 Best Websites To Track Current Top 40 Music Hits Read More .

Source: Google Music Timeline, Google Research blog

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  1. Roey
    January 24, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I really liked this new tool. Having said that....

  2. Guest
    January 24, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Does it include the genre "vomit-inducing crap" from ca. 2008-present, as epitomized by such notable "artists" as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus?

    Although I guess you could dial that all the way back to 1982 and put Madge the Vadge in there.

  3. Robert
    January 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I call BS. I'm not a country music fan by any measure, but clearly country qmusic has a larger share than shown. Something's wrong.

    Also, the distinction between what is considered one catagory or another seems somewhat arbitrary. Rock/Alternative/Metal? or Vocal-Easy Listening / Pop?

    • Justin P
      January 22, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Regarding country: in America, yes, country is a major genre. This chart is worldwide, though, and basically no one outside North America listens to country. Try to find a country station in Europe; can't be done. I'm betting Asia, Africa and Latin America are similar.

      Though I'll agree that the genre distinctions are arbitrary.

  4. Justin P
    January 21, 2014 at 12:50 am

    This is seriously fascinating. Pop and rock really ate Jazz's lunch, didn't it?