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vinyl record sales

As music business struggles, vinyl records are reborn

Sales of music CDs and digital downloads continue to dive, but vinyl LPs surged 40 percent higher in the first half of 2014, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Not that this represents salvation for the music business, struggling with the lower margins of streaming services.

What’s selling? Top albums, as sifted out by Jack McDuling of Quartz, include Jack White’s “Lazaretto,” Arctic Monkeys “AM” and Beck’s “Morning Phase.” (Also in the top 10: The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Bob Marley’s “Legend”). Who’s buying? Indie rock fans and “nostalgists,” he concludes.

Pop songs trend sadder since the Sixties

data visualization mood of pop music

Detail of graph showing results of study on the changing mood of pop music (WNYC)

The mood of Top 40 pop songs has turned sadder over the past 5 decades, according to a study of tempos and major/minor keys by Glenn Schellenberg, professor of psychology and music at the University of Toronto. His results are charted below by John Keefe of WNYC in New York. Blue indicates songs in minor keys; the left axis marks tempo in beats per minute. [via Studio360]

Quirky independents survive, soulless megachains go under

Borders has gone the way of Tower Records, Hollywood Video, Virgin Megastore, and Blockbuster, but happily,

“the best locally-owned purveyors of physical media seem to be in better shape than the soulless megachains. San Francisco’s Amoeba Music, Le Video, and Green Apple Books, for instance, are sprawling, wonderfully quirky independents that are still very much with us.”

See Harry McCracken’s “Decline and Fall of Physical Media Retailing: A Timeline” in Technologizer (Feb 17, 2011)

See also New York Magazine’s list of independent bookstores in Manhattan.

Blood on the Street

The patented Map of the Market feature from SmartMoney (this view shows Aug 8, 2011) shows more than 500 stocks at once, in rectangles sized in proportion to their market capitalization, and colored green or red according to latest trading activity, up or down.


The visualization is derived from work done by Prof. Ben Shneiderman and students at the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab on treemap displays.