Google’s Music Timeline examines popularity of music genres from historical perspective

Google creates a visualized retrospective of music genres and popular albums released in the past six decades, starting from 50s. Using colourful graphs, Google’s Music Timeline builds a picture that shows how popularity of particular genres has been fluctuating over this time period.

Pic.: Google Music Timeline (click to enlarge)

Each of the music genres’ stripe has its own color—for instance, Jazz is peach-colored, darker green goes for Rock and lighter green is for Pop. It makes it easier to differentiate the genres on the general canvas (the colors are used only for this purpose and have no other meanings). User can view the whole picture or select an individual genre for a deeper insight. Each of them can be zoomed in to see sub-genres—by clicking on them one can see music bands related to the sub-genre.

The genres are illustrated by various albums. When the cursor is pointing the genre, black links pop up, connecting famous albums of the genre with certain dates of releases. The music albums are featured below the graph. When users click on them, they get immediately directed to the Google Play store.

The services visualizes music popularity only starting 50s because “the data from earlier than 1950 is too sparse to visualize in this way,” Google says. Their decision not to include classical music into the list of genres is also explained on the site: “People usually think of classical music in terms of its composition date, not its recording date…Because of this difference, placing classical music on the timeline the same way as contemporary music looks counterintuitive, so it is omitted from this visualization.”