Singing the blues – Study of pop music finds rise in sadness

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NEW YORK — A study of hundreds of thousands of popular songs over the past three decades has found a downward sonic trend in happiness and an increase in sadness.

For the report in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers at the University of California at Irvine looked at 500,000 songs released in the UK between 1985 and 2015, and categorized them according to their mood.

They found that “happiness” is going down, “brightness” is going down, “sadness” is going up, and at the same time, the songs are becoming more “danceable” and more “party-like.”

The researchers also found that the frequency of male singers in popular music has decreased over the last 30 years, a finding that comes when the music industry is wrestling with the issue of gender inequality.

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