Skip to main content

The beat just got sicker.

A new mathematical study has found a close resemblance between the spreads of epidemic disease and popular music, suggesting they gain traction through similar methods. Electronic music, researchers concluded, proved to be the most infectious of all.

The Guardian reported that the study used a standard numerical model of epidemic disease, the SIR model, as their starting point, testing it against song download trends from 2007 to 2014 in the UK. The formula passed with flying colors. It described these music trends just as well as it did the spread of disease. 

"It supports the idea that both music and infectious diseases depend on social connections to spread through populations," said Dora Rosati, the study's lead author. "The big difference is that for songs, it doesn’t necessarily have to be physical contact."

Researchers now know that music popularity spreads through social contact and connections—just like disease. EDM, they found, is the most infectious genre of all. 

Researchers now know that music popularity spreads through social contact and connections—just like disease. EDM, they found, is the most infectious genre of all. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Spring Awakening night time

Spring Awakening Music Festival Postpones 10-Year Anniversary to 2023

The Chicago-based dance music event faces another unfortunate setback.

World Club Dome 2022 2

Steve Aoki, Lost Frequencies & Robin Schulz To Headline World Club Dome Malta Island Edition 2022

The beloved festival has finally made its return to the Mediterranean islands.


Spotify Previews NFT Galleries on Artist Profiles

Select Spotify users were treated to a surprising new feature while browsing Steve Aoki's profile.

Rosati's team also went on to calculate different genres' basic reproduction number, which describes how easily a virus can spread through a population. Electronica took the cake with a whopping estimate of 3,430. That's more than 10x than that of rap and hip-hop, which came in as the second most infectious genres with a number of 310. 

For reference, the basic reproduction number of COVID-19 falls somewhere between six and seven, according to biologists at the Scripps Research Institute

“The reason why we might see some really sky-high R0s for songs is that you can just make a tweet and you have already infected a hundred people," explained Dr. Thomas Rawson, a disease modeler at Imperial College London. "You can spread a song disease far quicker than you could an infectious disease." 

“Maybe what those numbers are telling us is that electronica fans tend to be more passionate about their favorite songs," Rosati added. "Or maybe the social network of electronica fans is more strongly connected.” Tell us something we don't know. 

You can read the full study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, here


Ultra Music Festival 2019 - Carl Cox RESISTANCE Megastructure

Three in Four Black Music Professionals Have Experienced Racism, Study Finds

The wide-reaching research quantifies inequality on both the creative and business sides of the music industry in the U.K.


New Study Finds Running to Songs by Avicii, A$AP Rocky, More Combats Mental Fatigue

Take your running to the next level with next level tunes.

Music vinyl CDs

Your Music Taste as a Teenager Influences Your Adult Taste, According to Study

A new study by the New York Times concluded that the music you listen to when you're a teenager sticks with you the rest of your life.

EDM DJ/producer Skrillex flashing a peace sign at a red carpet event.

Scientific Study Finds 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' by Skrillex Stops Mosquitos from Having Sex

Researchers concluded that the observations from this study can be used to help develop new ways to prevent mosquito-carried diseases.

General woman dj

Less Than a Quarter of UK Music Festival Performers Identify as Women, Study Shows

While strides have been made up over time, women-identifying artists still make up less than 20% of the lineup at events like Isle of Wight, Trnsmt and Wireless.

headphones general

New Study Explores Healing Qualities of Electronic Music

Nurofen's study demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between listening to an ambient electronic song and subsequent pain relief.


Micro-Movement Study Finds it is Nearly Impossible Not to Move to Music—Especially EDM

Researchers even went as far as organizing the "Norwegian Championships of Standstill."


Study Shows That Prehistoric Raves Took Place in the Stone Age

Mesolithic era peoples used garments decorated with elk teeth to generate rhythmic sounds that put them into a trance-like state.