Google has revealed the 10 most googled artists in music this year – apparently, we’re a bunch of sympathetic voyeurs and zeitgeist nostalgists
Perhaps the most pertinent metrics in society now are those which pertain to what we consume online, given the internet’s importance to everything we do.
With Google releasing 2018's 10 most googled artists in music this week, then, what exactly does that say about the artists people are most interested in and, in turn, what does that say about the state of the music industry and society itself?
Demi Lovato performs during the 2018 California Mid-State Fair on July 22, 2018 in Paso Robles, California.
Well, number one on the list is surprising – to me at least anyway – and it speaks volumes. I was fairly sure before I’d looked that it would be Kanye West but the rapper amazingly doesn’t even appear in the top 10. Instead, Demi Lovato tops the list, with the period in the aftermath of her drug overdose being the largest spike.
It probably says something stark about our innate voyeurism that a near tragedy befalling a young woman has had a direct result on what we seek out about musicians online. Then again, one could counter that, in fact, it's our innate sympathy and empathy that shine through herein. The answer, as with most things, is probably a bit of both mixed with some other peripheral intangibles.
Meanwhile, the Spice Girls are number two on the list. To be honest, I’m probably even more shocked about this than I am about the top result. For a group whose heyday was during my formative years – and I’m 31 – to be garnering so much interest online in 2018, it’s utterly astounding.
Smash Hits Poll Winner Party, Docklands, London, Britain - 1996, The Spice Girls Performing
Their reformation and potential Glastonbury headline slot have clearly caused way more interest than I realised. I mean, they were rubbish in the ‘90s – a simple gimmick to ride on the crest of a renewed sense of patriotism (that Union Flag dress) – concocted by the eternal opportunist that is Simon Fuller. I can only put it down to retro obesession and the 20-odd year cycles of musical nostalgia that constantly reappear – see the boom of Clash-lite bands that appeared at the turn of the century or the number of synth-led industrialists in the mid-00s for confirmation – but there will be other intangibles I’ve certainly not considered.
The rest of the list reads much more like how I would’ve expected it to, with Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B and Gorge Ezra, to name a few, all appearing. The bottom eight points to a culture that is interested in the zeitgeist and does look for the new.
Cardi B performs at Z100's Jingle Ball 2018 at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2018 in New York City.
Ultimately what the top two says, to me, is that society and its tastes and interests are harder for me to read than ever before. It also says that there is a fair amount of consensus over which active artists are relevant now in the bottom eight. As with all of these things, the answer will indeed probably be somewhere between the two with some peripheral intangibles I’ve not considered. It’s been a funny old year.
Here’s the full list:
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