Data Material: The Evolution of Music By Tiffani Hui and Charmaine Yu

30 Oct

The Evolution of Music


The Evolution of Music is a data visualization which compares the number of physical albums, digital albums, and the total number of albums sold from 1996 to 2011. With the advancement of technology and the rise of the Internet, online file sharing has allowed easy access and convenience for all individuals to illegally download music with access to the World Wide Web. To emphasis this, shapes were created in response to the data to demonstrate the decline in overall album purchases throughout the years.


Artist Statement

The Evolution of Music demonstrates how music sales have decreased throughout the years. It is apparent that before the rise of digital albums, physical compact discs were very popular. As the number of digital albums sold continue to increase, the number of compact discs sold slowly decreases. The issue lies not within the the notion of physical versus. digital music but rather the amount of music that is not being bought.

Upon analyzing the data, we expected the number of total albums sold to increase as there is a growing community of musicians that continue to produce new music everyday. Realistically, the more music produced, the more total album sales there should be. However, through the advancement of technology and the rise of the Internet, online file sharing has allowed easy access and convenience for all individuals with access to the World Wide Web. With that, digital albums were created to convenience consumers. However, individuals began to abuse this privilege by providing easily accessible methods to obtain music.


As the number of illegal music album downloads continue to increase, record company profits begins to decrease. Thus, inducing  financial complications for those involved in the music industry. Through a capitalistic perspective, companies are not benefitting from producing new music due to easy access to the web and illegal online downloading. As this cycle continues, individuals involved in the music industry will reach bankruptcy, resulting in lost jobs, earnings and a loss of funding for artists to produce new music. With online piracy as the number one issue for decreasing album sales, artists and companies are forced to find new ways to maintain sales.


Our data visualization exemplifies the steady decrease of album purchases as a whole. As shown, there was a drastic difference between the number of digital and physical albums purchased in the past. In recent years, the difference between the two is very subtle. The pink circles represent the total purchases of physical CD albums, while the white circles represent the total purchases of digital online albums. The total amount of purchased albums are represented by the purple squares.

The visualization shows that there is a decline in the amount of albums purchased, however there is no decrease in the amount of people listening to music. With the consistent progression of technology, users have abused the privilege of the Internet to illegally download music free of charge, with the simple click of a button. As the number of illegal music downloads continue to increase, the music industry’s revenue will decrease. As a result, companies are pushed to find new solutions  in order to sustain a position in the music industry.



Before making the decision to focus on music album purchases, we wanted to find statistics which were self explanatory. We brainstormed possible ideas in which we could create relatable visualizations that would blend well with the data. Our first concept revolved around abortion, then we gravitated towards volcano eruptions, but realized there was no clear premise for our findings. We then realized that we should focus on something that we are truly interested in, such as music. As we were searching for data related to music, we stumbled upon data which displayed the amount of physical and digital album sales. Upon analyzing the data, it then occurred to us that individuals were no longer purchasing music, but instead using other methods to listen to or obtain music. As individuals, we do not notice the impact we have towards the music industry as we unconsciously and continuously download music without supporting the artists, by purchasing their albums. On a wider scale, companies and individuals associated with the music industry are suffering as a result.


Afterwards, we discovered that the album purchases plummeted after the start of the 20th century. We did not take into consideration what was not visible in the diagram. We recognized that the decline of the total album purchases was a result of illegal online downloads. After some tedious research we discovered that there is no sure way to determine the exact number of illegally downloaded music each year. To make up for this lack of data we displayed the profits made from total albums to demonstrate that the decrease in album purchases was the result of online piracy.


Another issue we came across, was the location of the ellipses.  We had to calculate the coordinates in order to translate it to the right position on the sketch. However, due to the basis of the translate command, it was applied to any code that was beneath it. Therefore we had to take into consideration where to place and modify specific lines of code so it would run accordingly to match our intentions. After spending several days putting the code together, we realized that processing reads the code in a particular order. There were many instances where objects would not appear in the sketch due to the setup of the code. Once we figured out the proper section to insert certain lines of code, we were able to efficiently navigate and create what we intended to do so in the beginning.


When we finished our sketch code, we had difficulty uploading it to the web. We attempted to render the file through javascript, however the sketch would not load in the browser. The first time we uploaded the code, a grey screen would appear in the web browser which meant that our code was not legible. After some research we discovered external libraries prevent processing codes from appearing online. As a result of this, we had to remove our music library, minim, altogether. After the removal of minim, we exported our sketch through javascript a second time and it would only display the black background and the dates along the bottom of the window. We could not figure out what the issue was, but we know are certain that our sketch is connected to the web.

All in all, this assignment has brought to our attention the consequences that could impact the music industry if nothing is done to stop illegal downloading. Based on the data we found, it was interesting to see how the music industry attempted to create a simpler way to distribute albums by making them available online, yet consumers abused that privilege. We also found this assignment worthwhile because it allowed us to review coding skills we learned in previous years and taught us how to input data into Processing which is something that will benefit us in our fourth year projects.

Reference Links


Data Portrait

18 Sep


This is a portrait of my brother, Matthew.
The data collected was based on my his life events, interests and profile. This portrait was composed by certain words outlining his face. This is a representation of his life thus far. It symbolizes that as people carry on with their lives, different events and experiences will shape who you are as a person and how you choose to express yourself.

Interviews For Personas

4 Mar

Interview One

Jennifer Kim


Richmond Hill


Back Story

-an hour and a half 2 hours commute

-sun is not out before going to school

-checks phone for weather -> always wrong

-normally dresses warmer than what is said on the phone

-never dressed for the weather

-sometimes guesses the weather and gets it wrong


-wants for accurate temperature


-window glare

-fingerprints on window

Ideal Experience

-accurate temperature

-dressed properly for the weather

-wont have to walk outside to check the weather or check  television or phone


“accurate temperature for the appropriate piece of clothing

Interview Two

Matthew Yu


Markham Ont


Back Story

Fourth year biochemistry student

Walk to school

Lives 5 minute away from school

Check phone

Weather app

Accurate and convenient


Instead of finding phone I could look out the window

More convenient


Curtains are down (annoying)

Finger prints

Ideal experience

When I am rushing in the morning to get to school, and with a simple voice command I would be able to view the weather without having to find my phone


Overall great idea and easy to use, however i like having curtains, and having to push them out of the way in order to view the product would add to the frustrations in the morning.

Interview Three

Rebecca Yim



Food Service aid worker

Back Story

5:30 wake up, leave at 6.

Check phone for weather app

80% accurate weather

sometimes dressed too much, too little



Display is clear (large font)

Easy to read



Slow, not updated

Curtains get in the way

Ideal experience

Fast in the morning (not much thinking involved)


I would want one cause it sounds very cool and efficient

23 Oct


“Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage in a search engine’s search results.” –

Group Members: Tiffani Hui, Jennifer (Yoo-Kyung) Kim, and Charmaine Yu.

01. How do search engines index webpages? (
Search engines like Google, use crawlers or robots that collect information each site and page on the web. When crawlers visit a website they read the content and follow hyperlinks. Search engines have a good change of finding your site if you have many other sites linked to it.
Once they collect all the information, the information will be copied into the search engine index. Once a web site is placed in the index the crawler returns to check for changes. When there are changes the index will be updated with the newest information gathered by the crawler.
Ranking of websites from top to bottom is done by a…

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Digital Identity

16 Oct

Part 1
The name my partner gave me was: misschan
When i google searched for my partner’s name, i couldn’t find the actual person until 3 pages in. This is most likely due to the commonality of her name. Many of the links that were shown consisted of videos related to chinese dramas. However, the first link that had actual information on my partner was her tumblr (which could be found here).

On her Tumblr, there is a profile picture of herself along with 5 links to other pages within her blog. In her “about me” page, there is general information about herself. Her interests, age and birthday. While exploring her blog, i could see that she has an interest in fashion and creating her own typography. She also includes that she is a student studying New Media at Ryerson University.

Many of her posts are related to fashion along with some Gifs of kpop artists. I feel that because tumblr is more of a causal blogging site, it might not provide information in a formal manner in which employers look for.

Part 2
Other Group Members include: Melissa Chan, Tiffani Hui, and Jennifer Kim
“A digital footprint is a trail left by an entity’s interactions in a digital environment; including their usage of TV, mobile phone, internet and world wide web, mobile web and other devices and sensors.” – Wikipedia

When building a digital footprint, you first have to plan what information you want or don’t want a possible employer to see. Its best to know the difference between personal and professional information. For each group of Web 2.0 technologies you need to use one keyword that can be searched easily but not overly populated. For example, my partner’s name in part 1 was, Melissa Chan. But because of the commonality of her name, she provided me with MissChan instead. This helped narrow down the searches.

For your professional New Media digital footprint you wouldn’t want to link yourself with your personal digital footprint, so try sticking to keywords that are more formal but unique. Using my partner’s name for an example again, Melissa Chan is overly populated but adding a middle name such as: Melissa Haley Chan would be more original. On the other hand, if your name is already rare to begin with, it becomes easier to locate your identity on the web. For instance, if you search CharmaineYu on wordpress, my blog shows up as one of the top links.

Now connect yourself to Web 2.0 technologies that interest you. Today there are many to choose from Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Now you’ve created your footprint so get connected to others, share yourself, explore, follow people who fit your interests, share your opinions, the more you explore the larger/more well known your digital footprint becomes. Always stay active and aware of your digital footprint, you wouldn’t want someone sabotage your footprint or worse, try to use your identity. If it’s a blog you have learn HTML and add meaty meta tags, catchy titles to your blog to appear first in a google search. Also to create a data trail, on your blog, account or website add links to your other Web 2.0 technologies you use. This makes it easier for employers to learn about your potential and for your followers to find your work.


16 Oct

Below is the link to our groups research. Other group members include: Melissa Chan, Jenifer Kim, and Tiffani Hui

Web Literacy

16 Oct

The dictionary definition of literacy is a person’s knowledge of a particular subject or field. Also the ability to read and write. Put the word ‘web’ in front of it and then it becomes the ability to read and ‘type’.

Because the web is such an assessable resource, you have to be able to differentiate which sites are reliable and which are not. Normally, people have a purpose when visiting sites, rather it be for entertainment, research or self-study. Especially when it comes to research or self-study, i feel more secure doing a background check on the site before trusting the information presented. For example, i ask myself, who is presenting the information? Are they a professional in the field? How is the site reliable? What is the purpose of the website? And finally who runs the site? I feel that in order to survive on the web, you have to know what is trustworthy and what is not. Its easy to believe things found on the web but sometimes you have to do a little snooping around just to make sure the information is reliable.

Listed below are some common url extensions:

.gov -> site run by a government agency
.edu -> site run by a educational institution
.org -> site run by a organization (usually, though not always, nonprofit)
.com -> site run by a commercial business or personal web site
.mil -> site run by the military

Some things to keep in mind: .gov ranks the highest in trustworthiness. But when it comes to .edu, .org and .com, it might be harder to determine if the information presented is from a reliable source.