Data Visualization & Music Videos

If you’ve read the ‘About’ section of this blog, you know that I am a Data Scientist. I love working with data and I’m particularly intrigued by artificial intelligence. I’ve built a bunch of different machine learning  models from random forests to neural nets, the latter being my absolute favourite.

As a Data Scientist, I am also responsible of creating visualizations to represent the data in a unique but easy to understand way. I was working on one such project today when I came across this awesome video that displayed some really cool visualizations. The video by The New York Times is about the conception of one of my favourite pop songs – Where Are You Now by Justin Bieber. It was really interesting to learn that Diplo & Skrillex digitally manipulated Biebs voice to create the violin sounding tune that’s the song’s signature tune. What was even cooler were the cool visualizations that popped up everytime a tune or beat was played in the video, which was close to 100% of the time.

The video is almost a year old so I’m sure a bunch of you have already seen it but I thought it was too awesome not to post about.


This is a great example of simple yet creative visualization. It’s now proven that photography is key to captivating attention and with so many products focusing on creating unique visualizations, it is ever more important to create images that really stand out from the crowd.

The two criterias I follow when creating any visualization is that a) it should really pop out b) it should follow the 3 second rule which means that the reader should be able to understand the visualization in under 3 seconds.

A lot of times, I end up going with strategically coloured and laid out line charts or bubble plots because they’re really easy to understand. To make them prettier, I use different colors, contrasts, opacity and alignments.

Another reason why this video is awesome is because of the point that Skrillex makes about digitally manipulated music. He says that the majority of people really look down on music that is digitally created. Skrillex views this as a positive and is excited by it because the general dislike proves to him that this technology is at a nascent stage giving it so much more room to really grow in the future. I completely agree with him because I believe that a product that is disliked because it is against the norm is what really actually is the future.

I can’t wait to hear the future digitally manipulated sounds that I’ve never heard before. And even better if they’re accompanied by great visualizations.