Elites, communities and the limited benefits of mentorship in electronic music

Milán Janosov, Federico Musciotto, Federico Battiston, Gerardo Iñiguez

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While the emergence of success in creative professions, such as music, has been studied extensively, the link between individual success and collaboration is not yet fully uncovered. Here we aim to fill this gap by analyzing longitudinal data on the co-releasing and mentoring patterns of popular electronic music artists appearing in the annual Top 100 ranking of DJ Magazine. We find that while this ranking list of popularity publishes 100 names, only the top 20 is stable over time, showcasing a lock-in effect on the electronic music elite. Based on the temporal co-release network of top musicians, we extract a diverse community structure characterizing the electronic music industry. These groups of artists are temporally segregated, sequentially formed around leading musicians, and represent changes in musical genres. We show that a major driving force behind the formation of music communities is mentorship: around half of musicians entering the top 100 have been mentored by current leading figures before they entered the list. We also find that mentees are unlikely to break into the top 20, yet have much higher expected best ranks than those who were not mentored. This implies that mentorship helps rising talents, but becoming an all-time star requires more. Our results provide insights into the intertwined roles of success and collaboration in electronic music, highlighting the mechanisms shaping the formation and landscape of artistic elites in electronic music.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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