Musicmap captured our staff's hearts for a variety of reasons. The data visualization project's creative use of color and design make a great first impression. The in-depth explanation of the research process and methodology used to assemble the resource add credibility to impressive content. Despite the large amount of content, the Musicmap is easily navigable using the toolbar on the left-hand panel of the site. Plus, the compilation of musical metadata makes the project both informative and fun.
Launched in 2016, Musicmap is a fascinating interactive visualization of music history that "attempts to provide the ultimate genealogy of popular music genres," including the relationships and influences between genres. Visitors to Musicmap will find a colorful infographic designed to resemble a city skyline, with each "building" color-coded and labeled as a different musical "super-genre." Clicking a building brings up a synopsis of its genre with a list of subgenres at the bottom; for example, the Country block leads to subgenres ranging from Classic Country/Hillbilly to Nashville/Countrypolitan to Americana/Alternative Country. Users can then click a subgenre to read a short description and find a playlist of examples linked to embedded YouTube videos. Returning to the main map, visitors can also zoom in (using the buttons in the lower right corner) to see an intricate genealogy of the connections between subgenres, denoted by solid and dotted white lines. In addition, Musicmap includes a helpful menu on the left side, containing detailed information about its background and intentions, explanatory guides, and a glossary of musical terms. Musicmap is the brainchild and passion project of music enthusiast Kwinten Crauwels, who by day is an architect in Belgium, with the assistance of his brother Dries Crauwels, a web developer.