Evolution of Music by Public Choice
This is the publication entry for the paper, if you want the story around it, click here.
Abstract: Music evolves as composers, performers, and consumers favor some musical variants over others. To investigate the role of consumer selection, we constructed a Darwinian music engine consisting of a population of short audio loops that sexually reproduce and mutate. This population evolved for 2,513 gener- ations under the selective influence of 6,931 consumers who rated the loopsâ€™ aesthetic qualities. We found that the loops quickly evolved into music attributable, in part, to the evolution of aes- thetically pleasing chords and rhythms. Later, however, evolution slowed. Applying the Price equation, a general description of evo- lutionary processes, we found that this stasis was mostly attribut- able to a decrease in the fidelity of transmission. Our experiment shows how cultural dynamics can be explained in terms of com- peting evolutionary forces.