Skip to content

Feel like all music sounds the same? You might be right.

Lyrics across all genres have become simpler and more repetitive over time, according to researchers who analysed over 12,000 English-language songs across genres from 1980 to 2020. They examined the emotions expressed, the complexity of words, and repetition.

One explanation the researchers found for this phenomenon: many artists produce with streaming platforms like Spotify in mind where people have plenty of choices. When people are faced with lots and lots of choices, they tend to prefer things that are easier to process and more straightforward, according to Michael Varnum, a cultural psychologist. Repetitive and simple lyrics are easier to remember which contributes to the popularity.

Not only within the music industry, but almost in any other industry we see that algorithms increasingly dictate what we consume, but also what we create. Today’s designers for example are often remixing what receives lots of likes straight away; that’s what’s aesthetically pleasing (instead of what seems to be functional). 

With the dominance of algorithms and dominant platforms to decide the success of your creative work, as well as the rise of AI tools that often source their output as a common denominator of a large dataset, originality and creativity seem at risk.

Picture of Author

Author

Kim Pillen

More Signals

The Anxious Generation

Stop following me. With this new campaign, the charity Global Action Plan UK wants to end online targeted advertisements to people under 18. The

Gen Z’s backlash against gender equality

Last month Ipsos published their International Women’s Day survey, which unearthed some interesting statistics about younger generations’ views on gender equality in 31 countries. For

Stay relevant.
Sign up for our
bi-weekly Signals.

A bi-weekly newsletter in which we keep track of what’s going on in the world and translate based on our sociocultural knowledge, what this means to brands.

Kim Pillen

Consultant

Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips, bol.com, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff

Researcher

Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.

Trendsactive_blau

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist