Sunday, March 03, 2024

The correlation between popularity and quality in popular music

The other day, I had occasion to look at the "list of best-selling musical artists" on Wikipedia. Nine artists are listed as having sold over 250 million records: The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Queen, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Rihanna, and Pink Floyd. Lately, with me teaching a course on Taylor Swift's lyrics, I've been hearing a lot of people insisting that pop success does not equal musical quality. Almost all of them, though, are from my generation (plus or minus a decade), and I know that they would all celebrate some or many of those artists for the quality of their music. Here, at least, popularity correlates with quality. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 3 March 2024)


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