Age and creativity - Film and music case study

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Age and creativity - Film and music case study

Postby HereLiesTomy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:54 am

I used acclaimed music to make that little video, so I thought some of you might be interested !

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Re: Age and creativity - Film and music case study

Postby Henrik » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:03 pm

Interesting analysis, HereLiesTomy. Thanks for sharing!

I remember that we had a discussion about this - that the artists behind the top 100 albums were in their twenties when they released them - several years ago in the forum. It surprised me a lot. I never could have guessed that almost all of them were so young.

Music critics love young and rebellious music, but I think most of the top 100 albums are actually there because of other qualities.
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Re: Age and creativity - Film and music case study

Postby Jirin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:03 pm

We could discuss for weeks all the different factors that may be in play here.

I agree that the 'sweet spot factor' is part of it, but I don't think it's the entire story. Here's a list of other things I think are factors, some related to skill, some related to psychology of hype.

A few factors I propose:
-Input fatigue. If artists release a very similar sound of very similar quality, each one will seem progressively less special. Just like eating the same meal over and over.

-Horizontal collection bias. There are vertical collectors and horizontal collectors. Vertical collectors when they find an artist they like immediately buy everything that artist ever did. Horizontal collectors want to find something else they like. Guess which one is more likely to choose to become a music critic, the horizontal collectors.

-Anchoring of classics. When an album becomes 'special' to us, it becomes the album to beat. And it's easier for something to become special to beat the special. When an artist releases a great later career album, it is "Their best since..."

-Regression toward the mean. Think of it this way. If you gave everybody a test, then you give a second test only to everybody who scored a 90, their scores will decline. Not because they got worse but because part of their high score was based on natural variation, and only people who scored the 90 got to make a second album. A lot of the people who had terrible first albums might have released classics if they had a second chance.

-For some artists, getting better at playing can actually undermine their new work. Artists early in their careers are doing little things they didn't realize they were doing and are what gave their albums special character. Later they got better at playing, and stopped doing those unintentional awesome things.

-60s as mitigating variable. Remember in addition to young albums doing better, albums released in the mid 60s and early 70s also have a disproportionate presence on these lists, as well as albums of styles that were popularized in the mid 60s. And the people who were playing this music at the time are people who were young at the time. I wonder if you'd see a different distribution if you looked at top 100 albums from other decades.

-Confirmation bias. Your expectation for the album will start as the anchoring and adjustment point for your rating of the album. Expectation is highest for young but established artists who have never had a lull.

To sum up, I agree that when you're young you have less technical abilities and more raw creativity, but I don't think it naturally or inevitably drops off at a certain age, and I think there's some subtle biases that cause albums like Tonight's The Night to never be quite rated as high as the very top classics.

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Re: Age and creativity - Film and music case study

Postby Neather » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:36 pm

Really interesting analysis :)
I am new to the forums and acclaimedmusic but I liked this, it helps to understand better how this works :)

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Re: Age and creativity - Film and music case study

Postby HereLiesTomy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:21 am

Thanks, great hypothesis !
It's true that there are probably a lot of factors leading to those differences.

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