Article published: Fame, Obscurity and Power Laws in Music History

I’m pleased to report that my article “Fame, Obscurity and Power Laws in Music History” has been published in the journal Empirical Musicology Review.

The paper answers the question as to how and why success in the musical world often follows the pattern of a “power law”, with a handful of very successful big names (be they works, composers or performers), and huge numbers of obscure ones – and everything in between. On the way, it considers whether success is influenced by musical quality; the “temperature” of different musical markets (hot for the pop charts, cool for classical composers); and how best to measure relative success.

This is an exciting new line of research, and I hope to follow it up with more articles on this website. In the meantime, you can read or download the paper here.

Cite this article as: Gustar, A.J. 'Article published: Fame, Obscurity and Power Laws in Music History' in Statistics in Historical Musicology, 7th July 2020,

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