This month I have chosen visualisations that look at different aspects of popular culture. From Google search data to language compression algorithms, these examples showcase some inventive methodologies, with excellent visualisations to match. Starting with the geographical variance of film popularity in America, explore some interesting trends through this short selection.
‘Mapping America’s taste in films’
Google News Lab and Polygraph have collaborated to produce an insightful view of how film popularity varies by state. Using google search data for film trailers as a proxy (normalised to account for uneven population), these maps indicate regional interest across the US, indexed against the national average. You can view some interesting trends here such as which films are more popular with coastal audiences vs. the Midwest.
‘Based on a true true story?’
This second visualisation offers another view into some of Hollywood’s most popular films. Information is Beautiful has produced a scene-by-scene breakdown of films based on true stories to indicate how close these have stayed to the truth. As well as visually browsing the length of these films, these interactive designs allow viewers to click to see a comparison of the scene vs. reality.
‘Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive?’
Does all pop music today sound the same? Previous research has tested this adage with one study testing timbre, pitch and loudness across songs from different decades to find that songs really are increasingly homogenous. Going a level further, The Pudding has looked at repetitiveness within a song, and using the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, have put this to the test. The visual illustration of how the algorithm compresses language was particularly insightful, beautifully simplifying the process into something easily understandable.
The music streaming service landscape
Information is beautiful has produced a simple yet insightful illustration to show the reality of revenues at the top music streaming companies. Through their simple visualisation we quickly gain an overview of the challenging payment model and why even the biggest players are still making a loss.