by Bernardo Monechi
Abstract: In the world of artistic production there is a constant struggle to achieve fame and popularity. This fierce competition between artistic creations results in the emergence of highly popular elements that are usually well remembered throughout the years, while many other works that did not achieve that status are long-forgotten. However, there is another level of importance that must be considered in order to have a more complete picture of the system. In fact many works that have influenced the production itself, both due to their aesthetic and cultural value, might have not been or might not be popular anymore. Due to their relevance for the whole artistic production, it is important to identify them and save their memory for obvious cultural reasons. In this talk, we focus on the duality between popularity and significance in the context of popular music, trying to understand the features of music albums belonging to one or both of these classes. By means of the user-generated data gathered on Last.fm, an on-line catalog of music albums, we define a growing conceptual space in the form of a network of tags representing the evolution of music production during the years. We use this network in order to define a set of general metrics, characterizing the features of the albums and their impact on the global music production. We then adopt these metrics to implement an automated prediction method of both the commercial success of a creation and its belonging to expert-made lists of particularly significant and important works. We show that our metrics are not only useful to asses such predictions, but can also highlight important differences between culturally relevant and simply popular products. Despite having being applied in the popular music context, our method can be easily extended to other areas of artistic creation.