By analyzing 17,000 songs, London researchers found hip-hop to be the most influential genre since 1960.
“The rise of rap and related genres appears, then, to be the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period that we studied,” the study said.
Researchers analyzed 30-second snippets from songs that were on the Billboard Top 100 chart from 1960-2010. Songs were categorized based on instrumentation, musical properties, chord patterns and other elements and the link to the song's popularity and chart performance were analyzed.
Lead researcher Matthias Mauch suggests that this study, conducted by Imperial College and the University of London, sets the standard for the "basis for scientific study of musical change."
"For the first time we can measure musical properties in recordings on a large scale," Mauch said. "We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their make-up, and understanding how they have changed."
Read the full study here.