Fri at 14:16

Did you know that 'old music' or catalog as they call it in the biz, is outselling new music? Catalog is defined as music that was released over 18 months ago. Here's a graph from Nielsen (warning, may contain facts) that shows this clearly.


This is very interesting. Polygraph* decided to venture into the data depths of Spotify (ahh, more facts) to find out what tracks are proving to be timeless.

*if you're struggling to open the link in Chrome, try Safari

So thanks to Polygraph, our guilty pleasures are no longer a hidden vice, but exposed via playcounts on Spotify. Turns out that the biggest hits, or the highest valued songs, are not necessarily the ones that survive the brutal test of time.

Out of the entire catalog of music from the 90s, these are the tracks on the trajectory to survive. Some of my friends were deeply disturbed by what's been lost in time (e.g., Pearl Jam).

And No Diggity isn’t just anecdotally timeless, it’s the fifth most-played song from the 90s. Note the tracks that hardly charted on Billboard, in their day. Smells Like Teen Spirit, a track that never reached the Billboard Top 5 when it was released in 1992, is now the most-played song from the 90s.

Without further ado, here are the most played songs from each decade.

Let the sing-along begin!

The 00s

The 90s

The 80s

The 70s

The 60s

The 50s

It's really interesting to dig through the lists. Many of the songs that are proven to be so timeless, were not number one hits of their time.

This Spotify data reveals an interesting phenomenon of songs. Some peak to number one, and are then forgotten. Others never really peak, but have a steady stream of listens for years, and even decades to come.

Polygraph introduced an interesting graph where songs from 2013 can be viewed over time.

Look at these fascinating trendlines.

Get Lucky, which everyone who was alive in 2013 will remember very vividly, exploded, and then the playcount dropped off. Whereas Ed Sheeran's I See Fire never really saw the high peak of Get Lucky, it kept steady stream of streams throughout the months reflected on the graph. Same can be said for Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful.