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Americans are Fragmented–Even in Music

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Americans can’t seem to reach consensus on much of anything right now – not on politics, morality, values or even pop music. A company called Mediabase compiles “Airplay Charts” for USA Today and divides the music you hear on the radio into 12 categories – Top 40, Country, Urban, Rhythmic, Hot Adult Contemporary, Adult Contemporary, Urban Adult Contemporary, Christian, Alternative, Active Rock, Adult Rock and Latin. For 24 years between 1935 and 1959, a wildly popular weekly radio and TV Show called “Your Hit Parade” ticked off all the top songs of every variety, from Sinatra to Billie Holiday to Elvis. Today’s greater diversity in music and music fans may provide for enhanced variety and choice, but it also means that niche media allow Americans to live separate lives in separate worlds, with scant chance to meet on any sort of common ground.

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