This Is Not My Beautiful House Music, How Did I Get Here? Uncovering How Music Travels.

interactive2 This Is Not My Beautiful House Music, How Did I Get Here? Uncovering How Music Travels.

Click image to open interactive version (via Thomson Holidays).

The history and evolution of different musical styles is a topic of hot debate.  Osman Khan, travel blog writer, attempts to stitch together a history of top level dance genres and how different styles have travelled throughout time around the world.  Non-dance music genres which influenced dance music are also included, but their own influences are not shown.  He notes that the sources used to create the map include Bass CultureLast Night A DJ Saved My LifeThe All Music Guide to Electronica, and Wikipedia.

Looking over this infographic got me wondering… with an evolution of an artform that is difficult to track and sources that seem more based in anecdotes than hard facts, how can we really understand how music travels?  Well, perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking where dub started and where electro started, we could ask how dub and electro are different and pinpoint which individual songs began that transformation between music forms.  Find the meta-data on that track with artist, country of origin, year created and more and you’re well on your way to understanding how music actually evolves and travels.

So, why don’t you try transforming some serious big data on music into a history of the craft?  Check out our Million Song data sets (organized by letter) or the 10,000 Song subset, which are freely-available collections of audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks.  While you won’t be able to assess a long history of musical evolution, it might satiate some deep curiosity to understand how we moved from Nirvana to Britney Spears to LMFAO as the chart-toppers of our times.