The Sciences

The twilight of Lady Gaga

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJun 24, 2013 12:59 AM

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The other day my office mate wondered "what ever happened to Lady Gaga?" Obviously Lady Gaga is still around and making plenty of money, it doesn't seem like she's the pop culture phenomenon she once was. Of course you can live for decades off your early notorious culture changing explosion onto the scene. Madonna is proof of that. But it's still of interest to know when someone is, or isn't, the "It" thing. I don't follow pop culture that closely, but I can say that I remember Gaga before she was Gaga. I was hanging out on the Lower East Side in January of 2006, and there were Gaga posters announcing her opening a show somewhere nearby. One of my friends was freaking out, because she was apparently a big deal. A few years later she did become just that. But somewhere along the way it seems that Lady Gaga has gone from the foreground to the background. As is my wont I wanted to quantify this. I pulled Google Trends data for Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Adele from July 2008 to January 2013. I then plotted them with a loess smoothing function. You can see the results below. Nothing that surprising (though if you limit the search results to the United State Taylor Swift becomes a much bigger deal):

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