Journal article

Popular music lyrics and musicians’ gender over time: A computational approach

Amanda Krause, Adrian North, Manuel Anglada-Tort

Psychology of Music | SAGE Publications | Published : 2019


The present study investigated how the gender distribution of the United Kingdom’s most popular artists has changed over time and the extent to which these changes might relate to popular music lyrics. Using data mining and machine learning techniques, we analysed all songs that reached the UK weekly top 5 sales charts from 1960 to 2015 (4,222 songs). DICTION software facilitated a computerised analysis of the lyrics, measuring a total of 36 lyrical variables per song. Results showed a significant inequality in gender representation on the charts. However, the presence of female musicians increased significantly over the time span. The most critical inflection points leading to changes in th..

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Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was partially supported by a PhD studentship from the "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes" (Bonn, Germany) awarded to Manuel Anglada-Tort.