We know that everyone has influences and inspirations and collaborations, but they often go unmentioned. How do classical music composers collaborate with and influence one another?

We have some answers. Big Data has been able to show how culture has evolved and influenced the recording market.

A new study was based on the largest classical music recordings database to date, using online retailer ArkivMusic and music reference site AllMusicGuide. The authors focused on analyzing networks of composers contemporary to CD publications, using modern data analysis and data modeling techniques. They first determined how fundamental properties of the network of Western classical music composers correlate with the artistic styles and active periods of their composer.

They found such network displays the small-world property and a modular structure.

Then they looked at how a network of classical composers developed over time. Specifically, how different composers are "listened to together" by consumers of classical music CDs - a very important aspect in cultural studies. Then they demonstrated how consumers relate to different composers and styles, which provides useful tools to predict the future landscape of the classical recording market.

Specifically, they found that the composer network has evolved by concentrating on top composers while its size grew steadily. In the future, the musical recording landscape is likely to be concentrated around a few composers with an increasing prominence and a greater diversity thanks to a growing number of recorded composers.

Citation: Topology and evolution of the network of western classical music composers, D. Park, A. Bae, M. Schich and J. Park (2015), EPJ Data Science, 4:2, DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-015-0039-z