Cover versions as an impact indicator in popular music: A quantitative network analysis.

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Date: Apr. 19, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,665 words
Lexile Measure: 1430L

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Abstract :

In contemporary popular music, covering or adapting previous songs signals a tribute or reworking of popular hits, which implies acknowledgement of the original musicians. This connection can be interpreted as a form of musical impact among artists. A network graph with more than 106k artists and 855k cover versions extracted from the web site SecondHandSongs was created. The objective is to explore the shape of this network, identify the most relevant artists according to different impact measurements and to visualize connections between music genres. This analysis is done from a longitudinal perspective with the aim of understanding how cover versions can inform us about the history of the contemporary popular music. Results show that the number of covers by artist is skewed distributed, diminishing gradually since the 1950s. Different network metrics have allowed to identify the most covered (weighted indegree), the most influential (PageRank) and the most crossover artists (weighted betweenness centrality). The network graph also shows that genre affinity is the main criterion for covering songs between artists, language being the second. Remakes from other genres reflect that Jazz and Pop/Rock are the most influential because they emerge stronger and form the core of their respective sub-networks. Cover songs describe two cycles. In a first phase from 1900s to 1950s, dominated by Jazz and Vocal artists, the covers are more frequent and associated with the notion of reworking (e.g. jazz standards); in a second stage, since the 1950s, when the Pop/Rock emerges, cover songs are less common and seen as tribute.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A658982371