An Analysis Of Spotify Play Counts Reveals How The Music Of Your Youth Stands The Test Of Time

You were right about 'No Diggity' all along.

by Amanda Caswell
Originally Published: 

Polygraph’s Matt Daniels, previously best known for his elegant chart determining who in hip hop has the largest vocabulary, is back to his data-driven antics. This time around, he’s taken Billboard‘s Top 100 songs for each year from 1950 to today and graphed each of them alongside their current play count on Spotify. The result is a handy browser-based tool you can use to show your kids how the music you got made fun of for liking as a kid ultimately wins in the end. Unless you fervently believed that Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” is a better song than Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” in which case your kids will use this thing to bury you.

The ascent of Nirvana’s signature hit over the years — it’s the fifth-most played song by Spotify’s 75 million users and gained in popularity since the service launched, despite being only the 42nd-most popular song of 1991 — is just one surprising example of how future generations might view the songs of your youth. According to the data, your grandkids will ask who that Tupac guy was while bumping Biggie, and you should probably prepare for them to “discover” Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” the same way you “discovered” the Sex Pistols.

The piece is a bonafide rabbit hole, so don’t dive in unless you have an hour or two to spare, and don’t lose sight of the biggest takeaway from the whole thing: Whatever infectious drivel your kids are currently cramming into your earholes, rest assured that the chances are slim that it will torture future generations of parents.

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