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Why we need 30000 votes...

We are researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, and Imperial College London. In our Descent of Pop project we analyse the evolution of popular music scientifically. In order to do that properly we need to discriminate effects of audio quality and the music itself. And that's why we need you to help us. Our target is 30,000 votes!

More info in the press release.

Please have a look at how to vote, below, then choose a nick name and

Some more in depth guidance

Here's some instruction of how to answer our questions

1) Does Recording A/B have very poor audio quality.

You will be presented with two recordings, RECORDING A and RECORDING B. Please the appropriate tick mark if the audio quality of either is very poor, independent of your personal taste. Here are some examples to give you a better idea.

Example 1. Completely broken. There's not much to say about this really.

Example 2. Strong Artefacts. This track has several problems, possibly the recording was already muffled (i.e. not crisp, clear) but then the mp3 encoding has added artefacts that make it sound weird.

Example 3. Very Muffled and Clipped. This recording is muffled for the most part, but the singer's consonants suddenly clip (they're to loud for the medium to hold)

Example 4. Very Muffled. It's not only very old songs that have bad quality. This rock track is muffled, which is not a characteristic of the style - just poor audio quality.

Example 5. Tinny Sound. This old Sinatra recording has much worse quality than the good recordings of that era: it sounds very tinny (you can't hear any bass!). In fact, this one is much better:

Example 6. Bad live recording. As much as this recording of Jimi Hendrix is fascinating, it's much poorer than the studio version (in terms of audio quality!):

2) Which recording has the better audio quality?

Maybe neither of the recordings are of truly poor audio quality, but you can still single out which one has the better audio quality. Mind that we're still asking only for audio quality.

3) Irrespective of audio quality, how similar is the music in the two recordings?

The question really says it all. Imagine that both recordings have the same audio quality. How different are they, according to you, on a scale from 1 (very different) to 5 (very similar)?

Now choose a nick name and

Who we are

Dr. Matthias Mauch, Lecturer, Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary, London.

Prof. Armand Leroi, Professor for Evolutionary Biology, Imperial College London.

Dr. Giovanni Montana, Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London.

Ricardo Monti, PhD student, Imperial College London.

Dr. Mark Levy,

Dr. Bob MacCallum, Imperial College London.


Matthias Mauch is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Our profile/background picture is by Emory Allen at Ocularinvasion. The original song data was collected at