Disciples of the Heinous Path: Social Network Structure and Genre Hierarchy in Heavy Metal
Maarten van Hees
Organization of social networks has been studied extensively viewed through the lens of inter-personal relations. However, the aim of this exploratory study is to find if there are different, domain-specific factors in play influencing the structure of the social network. As a case study, an extensive data-set from Encyclopaedia Metallum, a Heavy Metal band archive, was used to test the hypothesis whether or not the social network structure is influenced by a hierarchy of genres. Attempts were made to re-categorize bands according to genre and to counter the fluid nature of the data, after which a Word2Vec analysis and hierarchical clustering was performed, the latter using the number of shared artists between bands as distance metric. A range of histograms where generated to gain insight into the distribution of genres, along with a colored dendrogram to see how genre distribution converges. While the Word2Vec results do show some interesting results with regards to stylistic clustering, the results from the hierarchical clustering remain inconclusive. A number of issues have been identified to address in future research.
Maarten van Hees, "Disciples of the Heinous Path: Social Network Structure and Genre Hierarchy in Heavy Metal", Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2018