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Journal Article

First-mover advantage in music


Sobchuk,  Oleg       
Department of Human Behavior Ecology and Culture, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Sobchuk, O., Youngblood, M., & Morin, O. (2024). First-mover advantage in music. EPJ Data Science, 13: 37. doi:10.1140/epjds/s13688-024-00476-z.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-53FB-9
Why do some songs and musicians become successful while others do not? We show that one of the reasons may be the “first-mover advantage”: artists that stand at the foundation of new music genres tend to be more successful than those who join these genres later on. To test this hypothesis, we have analyzed a massive dataset of over 920,000 songs, including 110 music genres: 10 chosen intentionally and preregistered, and 100 chosen randomly. For this, we collected the data from two music services: Spotify, which provides detailed information about songs’ success (the precise number of times each song was listened to), and Every Noise at Once, which provides detailed genre tags for musicians. 91 genres, out of 110, show the first-mover advantage—clearly suggesting that it is an important mechanism in music success and evolution.