Following their recent Sex Pistols sneaker collaboration, Converse has teamed up with data analyst and Polygraph founder Matt Daniels to create an interactive infographic to answer the question: What is Punk? Daniels' Polygraph tackles this question by collecting data from Spotify and YouTube playlist with the phrase “punk”, and then analyzing all of the artists and songs included in those playlists.
“The impetus for the project was to dig into the subjectivity of what makes a genre. Music like punk, metal, and to a lesser extent hip hop, have always been difficult to define. Rather than debate definitions, this data gives us a look at 'what the people think.'”
“What people think” clearly shows that the definition of “punk” is spread across a wide variety of genres, yet at the same time it is dominated by pop-punk, with Green Day and Blink-182 appearing on over half of all playlists curated.
The genres that are heavily associated with punk, based on the Polygraph, range from pop-punk and emo to post-hardcore and metalcore. As you can see below, Daniels' device even allows you to plug in your own artist or genre of choice to see where it lies on the punk spectrum. As you'll see, artists like Bring Me The Horizon create a wide range of genre-blurring, whereas the Ramones are labeled as “punk” above everything else.
While there will never be a perfect representation, and the genre will always be up for debate, Daniels affirms that the genre exists entirely in our hands. Check out the Polygraph for yourself right here.
“Part of punk culture, from the beginning, was that it was undefinable. This data helps us quantify the vast disagreement surrounding punk’s meaning and the subjective nature of genres. Instead of debating why people are 'wrong,' we can begin to ask why the identity of “metalcore” has somehow fixated on Bring Me The Horizon. Or why post-punk, after 30 years, is still attached to Joy Division.”