TOP SELLING MUSICIANS OF ALL TIME
1 Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Def Leppard, Journey, The Beach Boys and The Doors from the original list of 99 musicians don’t grant permission to Musixmatch to use their lyrics. Therefore, they couldn't be included in the analysis.
The aim is to compare the vocabulary size of these musicians. Some of them have released a lot more songs than the others because of the sheer longevity of their career and how prolific they are.
MOST AND LEAST PROLIFIC OF THE 93 MUSICIANS
The following chart shows the average vocabulary size of artists in different genres. In the parantheses is the number of artists in the list that sing in that genre. Since our list includes only 93 artists, it is not a very good generalization.
Calculated for the top selling artists as per the Wikipedia article. ( ) denotes number of artists analyzed in that genre
TO SUM IT UP
There is a large variation of vocabulary size in the 93 top selling musicians and there is no overall correlation between the commercial success of a musician and their vocabulary size.
This analysis should not be interpreted as saying that one musician is better than the other, it is just another insight into the work of these amazing artists. It gives us a peek into the minds of different songwriters, some tear your heart with
just a few words while others paint an intricate picture with a thousand words. Quoting John Lennon out of context explains this songwriter dilemma quite well -
All the lyrics data and other metadata (images, album lists, track lists, etc) is extracted using the Musixmatch API
. Python is used for fetching the data and analyzing the lyrics. The analysis
could be improved to remove coincidental sounds (ooh, aah, etc) and other such words which are not part of a dictionary. The data and the code will be released if anyone is interested.
The largest vocabulary in hip hop
compares the vocabulary of various musicians across the first 35000 words written by them. Instead of constraining by the number of words we used the
songs. Just out of curiosity (and for the sake of completeness) we used the same methodology by considering 10000 words
written by each artist. The results of the two approaches don’t differ too much, the top 5 ranked musicians
remain the same. The top 10 ranked musicians are the same with a slight shuffling of the ranks. Andrea Bocelli moves from #8 to #6, while Black Eyed Peas move from rank #6 to #7 and Julio Iglesias from #7 to #8. No significant changes are observed
on the whole (more details
). Thus, we used 100 songs as the constraint since it makes more sense intuitively and musically.