Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Grateful Dead vs. Phish and Other Distinctions
February 26, 2014 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Music Machinery presents a map of each U.S. state's most distinct favorite band or recording artist, as well as an app for playing with the data.
posted by Navelgazer (75 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sure to lead to at least some obvious conclusions:
- some states knew those bands before they were popular
- some states favorite band sucks
posted by k5.user at 7:34 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


So, in many cases, less "favorite" than "who does state X listen to that no one else does," it seems.
posted by tyllwin at 7:43 AM on February 26 [7 favorites]


For this study, I sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account

For those wondering which services he's talking about, you can continue to wonder. In a reply to a comment asking that question, he says:
it is data aggregated from a wide number of music services. [...] I can’t be completely specific – the exact amount of data available and the contributing services to the dataset are not public. I can tell you some of the likely confounding affects are the over-representation of hardcore music fans and upper income listeners (those two categories are more likely to be members of the music services that may have a monthly subscription and/or require high speed internet + mobile access).
posted by uncleozzy at 7:44 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Oh, Vermont, c'mon.
posted by Kitteh at 7:53 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Moving to Oregon because Kurt Vile, that's why.
posted by Fizz at 7:59 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


What's interesting about Miguel's association with North Carolina is that it seems to obviate the overwhelming social and musical dominance of country music here. I would have bet the representative artist would have come from country, heavy metal, classic rock, or hip-hop... R&B soul would have been pretty far down the list.

I think this speaks a lot to the problems of sample sets as mentioned in uncleozzy's quote above. The set of technology early adopters is going to have a relatively small intersection with the sets of country or rap fans, compared to the sets of jam band, indy band, etc. fans.
posted by ardgedee at 8:01 AM on February 26


Seriously, I'd never even heard of Miguel. I had to check YouTube before commenting (not bad, really. Not to my taste but I'll take this strain of R&B to the 80s-era urban contemporary I usually associate with the style.)

Similarly, I suspect most California residents have never heard of Bonobo. And so on.
posted by ardgedee at 8:03 AM on February 26


Holy shit, Delware, Rush? Seriously?

I wish I could say I was surprised that Arizona was all about Linkin Park, but...yeah, the jokes sort of write themselves, don't they?
posted by Katemonkey at 8:04 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


"What? Oh, nothing," says Arizona, as it gropes for the Linkin Park cassette and shoves it into the glove compartment.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:07 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


It's ironic that, just as Arizona votes to discriminate against gays, it proves, yet again, that it has no taste.
posted by ob at 8:13 AM on February 26


I think this speaks a lot to the problems of sample sets as mentioned in uncleozzy's quote above. The set of technology early adopters is going to have a relatively small intersection with the sets of country or rap fans, compared to the sets of jam band, indy band, etc. fans.

Maybe, but Alan Jackson manages to make it to the top for New Mexico, Tim McGraw for Montana, George Straight for Texas, Blake Shelton for Indiana, Florida Georgia Line for Ohio. There's plenty of country on the map, I think NC might just have different musical tastes than one would assume.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:13 AM on February 26


Jack Johnson...is that good? AFAIK I've never heard a Jack Johnson song.
posted by MikeMc at 8:13 AM on February 26


Interesting that Tennessee's artist is Juicy J rather than, say, one of the eleventybillion country acts to come out of Nashville.
posted by workerant at 8:14 AM on February 26


Wait, is South Dakota really listening to a lot of Hinder? A one hit wonder from 2006 that wasn't even very good? That's really weird.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:14 AM on February 26


Hey, at least Vermont is listening to a native son. Why the hell is New Hampshire listening to so much Grateful Dead?
posted by maryr at 8:14 AM on February 26


My home state Alabama has The Civil Wars and there's probably a joke somewhere there but nothing I can think of is actually funny. Really, I have no idea who they are beyond a vague impression that they're part of that horrible new americana/folk/unironic washboard and blowing jugs wave.
posted by ndfine at 8:15 AM on February 26


Indiana is Blake Shelton. I want to be outraged but, yeah, that's probably about right.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:15 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Is Georgia's favorite band really a Funk/Soul outfit from D.C. or am I missing another band called Future?
posted by dortmunder at 8:16 AM on February 26


Interesting that Tennessee's artist is Juicy J rather than, say, one of the eleventybillion country acts to come out of Nashville.

Other states say no to Juicy J, but Tennessee can't.
posted by ndfine at 8:16 AM on February 26


ndfine, The Civil Wars are indeed part of that horrible fantastic new americana/folk/unironic washboard and blowing jugs wave.
posted by maryr at 8:17 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


Is Georgia's favorite band really a Funk/Soul outfit from D.C. or am I missing another band called Future?

Future
posted by ndfine at 8:17 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


The author appears to be subtracting ranks, which is probably the core analysis mistake that is generating the strange results. Subtracting ranks (instead of subtracting rates and then ranking) is more or less meaningless. Imagine the difference between the 1st and 20th most popular artists. Now imagine the difference between the 1001st and 1020th: not quite the same. This biases the results towards smaller artists--notice that in his tables none of the artists are in the top 20. It's Zipf's law, people. (This is a long-winded explanation of why I've never listened to Miguel.)
posted by lozierj at 8:18 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Jack Johnson...is that good? AFAIK I've never heard a Jack Johnson song.

Johnson is... pleasant, I guess? He's also the sort of musician where people say they've never heard him, and my first thought is "yeah, you probably have". He's sort of like a less irritating Dave Matthews channeling Randy Newman.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:19 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


There's a band called "The Civil Wars"? That's...oh wow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Future

That makes a lot more sense.
posted by dortmunder at 8:20 AM on February 26


Here's an amusing game: Compare Georgia to Utah and see how long it takes to find a White artist on the former list and a Black artist on the latter list.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:20 AM on February 26


I'd never even heard of Miguel. Odd.

The Civil Wars are also a pretty respectable band, although they're no Jason Isbell by any means.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:22 AM on February 26


Wait, is South Dakota really listening to a lot of Hinder? A one hit wonder from 2006 that wasn't even very good? That's really weird.

Would you still say that knowing that Hinder was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007? That's a full 6 years before they got to the guy who wrote Wichita Linesman, so clearly someone thinks Hinder is pretty great.
posted by Copronymus at 8:22 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Surprised so many people have never heard of Miguel. Regardless, I think this is a good track.
posted by josher71 at 8:24 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Since it's not on the map, it should be mentioned that DC gets the Canadian indie-darlings Stars (which I love.)
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm a walking stereotype as I'm a pretty big fan of the bands belonging to the two states where I've lived.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:26 AM on February 26


> There's plenty of country on the map, I think NC might just have different musical tastes than one would assume.

That's possible. But I think it might also have to do with Charlotte and the Triangle being large urban tech-centric areas that represent almost 50% of the total state population (Charlotte: 2.5M; RTP: 2M; North Carolina as a whole: 9.8M). North Carolina's balance of urban/rural populations more closely resembles the Northeast's than the traditional South.
posted by ardgedee at 8:28 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Would you still say that knowing that Hinder was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007? That's a full 6 years before they got to the guy who wrote Wichita Linesman, so clearly someone thinks Hinder is pretty great.

It took them that long to induct Jimmy Webb? Fuck that. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is SHAM.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:29 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Odd, I thought most of George Strait's exes lived in Texas. Perhaps the separations were more amicable than I was led to believe.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:30 AM on February 26 [11 favorites]


That's possible. But I think it might also have to do with Charlotte and the Triangle being large urban tech-centric areas that represent almost 50% of the total state population (Charlotte: 2.5M; RTP: 2M; North Carolina as a whole: 9.8M). North Carolina's balance of urban/rural populations more closely resembles the Northeast's than the traditional South.

That's what I was saying. North Carolina's musical taste (including the Triangle and Charlotte, obviously) are different than you'd expect. It's not as much of traditional rural Southern state as someone might assume, and it doesn't have (as a whole) the musical tastes of a state like that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:32 AM on February 26


Not just most; allegedly, all of them. But it would be a strange state if everyone in Texas was one of George Strait's exes.

The idea might have made for a more entertaining song, though.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:32 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


There's a band called "The Civil Wars"? That's...oh wow.

They're pretty good, and I certainly wouldn't call their sound as celebratory of war, or Southern Pride or anything. If a group has to be called that, I'm glad it's them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:32 AM on February 26


Put me down under 'cool idea, but needs more thought on methodology.'

It sounds like he's also assigning artists ona 'haven't been picked yet' basis, which means that the list is also dependent on the order in which different states are evaluated.... Yikes.

It would be better to assign each band a local novelty score, equal to the difference of the listens per capita in state X versus the listens per capita in all states. This gives a ranking of all bands by state novelty. We can then resolve ties by giving each band to the state with the highest novelty score for that band, and then going to the second-best for each other state involved in the tie.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:33 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Also they're measuring it based on just the top 50 most-listened artists in each state. If you go to the app and expand the depth, I think you get more distinct results. Doing that for Colorado at a depth of 100 makes our most distinct artist Gregory Alan Isakov, which makes sense since he lives in Boulder and is on Open Air all the time.

It also makes Indiana's most distinct favorite artist Nickelback, which is hilarious
posted by jackflaps at 8:35 AM on February 26


Note to self: maybe Vermont and New Hampshire aren't such great places to move to after all.
posted by Decani at 8:37 AM on February 26


It would be better to assign each band a local novelty score, equal to the difference of the listens per capita in state X versus the listens per capita in all states.

Leave a comment on his site. He's being super-responsive and is considering re-running the analysis differently.
posted by Jpfed at 8:38 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Yeah, using ranks is really unstable. In fact, according to a recent story on On The Media, Reporters Without Borders' annual report of countries' press freedom uses rank as a measure in order to make controversial statement and generate more buzz for themselves. Seems to work.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:39 AM on February 26


The two members of the Civil Wars are not currently on speaking terms (unless something has changed). So right there, that's a group delivering on the promise of its name.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:40 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Holy shit, Delware, Rush? Seriously?

Their libertarian climate for corporations makes this a natural fit.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:48 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


horrible awesome new americana/folk/unironic washboard and blowing jugs wave.

Fixed that for you. It can be difficult to avoid typos when your finger tips are numb from a long day of washboardin.
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:48 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


How come jugbands I've seen never actually have a jug? *Brainteaser*
posted by josher71 at 8:53 AM on February 26


I live in Arkansas. And, so, at first, I was, like, 'oh, geez, Wiz Khalifa?'

But then I looked at the other states, and I was like, 'y'know, it could be a lot worse.'
posted by box at 8:57 AM on February 26


The Civil Wars are indeed part of that horrible fantastic new americana/folk/unironic washboard and blowing jugs wave.

it's "unironic" - you forgot the quotes
posted by univac at 9:02 AM on February 26


There's a band called "The Civil Wars"? That's...oh wow.

They're pretty good, and I certainly wouldn't call their sound as celebratory of war, or Southern Pride or anything. If a group has to be called that, I'm glad it's them.


I always get them confused with the English Civil Wars, the band whose shows always end with the bassist biting the head off a king.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:18 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Um. Why is R.E.M. in Maine?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:21 AM on February 26


Um. Why is R.E.M. in Maine?

Because a bunch of people in Maine listen to REM read the text more carefully next time you idiot.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:24 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


Don't talk about mudpuppie that way. Flag him and move on. Or take him to MeTa.
posted by tyllwin at 9:30 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Leave a comment on his site. He's being super-responsive and is considering re-running the analysis differently.

Done!
posted by kaibutsu at 9:31 AM on February 26


Why the hell is New Hampshire listening to so much Grateful Dead?

Because a large proportion of our residents are college students and using online listening loggers is going to skew the results to a younger demographic anyway (actually to an age band of people who think what they're listening to is important to the world at large*). And skew it male as well if I had to guess.

* I use Last.fm for very different reasons, I swear!
posted by yerfatma at 9:41 AM on February 26


I'm scratching my head a little over the The Civil Wars confusion. They are multiple Grammy winners and have a shitton of critical acclaim. Not that that automatically translates to widespread notice but...c'mon mefites. There's even interpersonal band drama! I went to Sasquatch in 2012 and out of a pretty dang respectable/awesome lineup, they were a, and maybe THE, highlight of the weekend.

And yup, I'm good with The Head and the Heart here in WA.
posted by weeyin at 9:46 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I don't entirely understand why the results for a state change depending on how deep you go.
posted by me3dia at 9:48 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


me3dia: You can get much bigger deltas when you look at the top 1000 vs the top 100 artists in a region, and the list is sorted by delta.
posted by mkb at 10:03 AM on February 26


If I'm understanding right, the depth is limiting it to the top X number of artist in each state, and then finding the biggest difference (delta) between one of those artists and the other group. When you deepen it, say from 40 to 1000, there's a new 960 artists to look at and the biggest difference might be between one of them and the other group.

By way of example:
In NC, the biggest delta in the top 40 is Miguel, as we've discussed. He's 37th in NC and 88 in the US for a delta of -51. In the top 100, the biggest delta is Mary J. Blige who is 57th in NC and 155th in the US, for a delta of -98. She's not going to show up at all on the list in the Top 40, because she's 58th, but in the top 100, she has a higher delta than Miguel.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:04 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


California really needs to be broken up into NorCal and SoCal because even within the same genre the voices have always been distinct.

Similarly, I suspect most California residents have never heard of Bonobo.

That's me, however I am old and bad at new music and now I can't get Scott Auckerman saying "ben-OH-BO's!" out of my head. Maybe a podcast version of this would be more my speed these days. I do wish I recognized more of the bands because it looks like a neat tool.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:09 AM on February 26


Fall Out Boy.

Goddamnit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:14 AM on February 26


Tegan and Sara - Idaho? Really?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:18 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Moving to Oregon because Kurt Vile, that's why.

Better make it Portland or Eugene, then.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:23 AM on February 26


it should be mentioned that DC gets the Canadian indie-darlings Stars

This is so true, I've heard multiple friends gushing about them... although I kind of imagine NPR Music is stuffing the ballot box.
posted by psoas at 11:04 AM on February 26


All right, so J Boog has a video that is set in Hawaii and that has just enough reggae to (maybe) make it popular out here. That said, not only had I not heard of J Boog, but the unofficial sample of rap and reggae loving high school students I surveyed had to hear a little bit of his song before they recognized who he was.

I call shenanigans.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:17 AM on February 26


I saw the artist map floated around the internet but figured it was too simple to look into. I didn't realize it was from Musical Machinery (Recent MeFi post on a MM blog entry) and I really didn't realize that the app was available to play with.

The map itself is only vaguely interesting, I think, due to limitations discussed here and in the comments on the blog. And, that, much like his recent gender and age related posts it's only about what you (an app, a music service, and advertiser) might play for a generic person with only a little identifying information.


I'm probably getting greedy but it would be cool to see this app done with revised protocols and done to include the gender and age related categories, too. Though, I suppose, that (etc) is what The Echo Nest does.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:21 AM on February 26


Also the Mountain region seems huge (ID, MT, WY, NV, UT, CO, AR (probably mean AZ), and NM) but maybe is still low in population compared to some of the others.

But at any rate, it is interesting comparing a state to its region. You have to go deep to get anything out of NY vs Mid Atlantic.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:26 AM on February 26


This Washington Post article explains the methodology a bit as well.

it should be mentioned that DC gets the Canadian indie-darlings Stars

Stars are great. But this article says DC gets St. Lucia, who are awesome.
posted by inigo2 at 12:37 PM on February 26


DC gets St. Lucia if you go out to 200. His writing on the original map seemed like it was at 100, which gets DC Stars. (Incidentally, at 50 it's Phosphorescent and at 40 it's Tegan and Sara, provided DC gets first pick over Idaho, which The Hunger Games has led me to believe it would.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:50 PM on February 26


We've got great taste in DC.
posted by inigo2 at 1:00 PM on February 26


New Jersey's is Bruce Springsteen?

Yep, this checks out.
posted by lullaby at 1:51 PM on February 26


I’m going to make up some shit and put it on a map and say it represents the differences between states. Because apparently that’s one of the easiest ways to get people to go to your web site.
posted by bongo_x at 11:24 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


At least there's now a good rebuttal to the original map.
posted by k5.user at 6:59 AM on February 27


Actual top artist by state.

Macklemore, Jay-Z, Daft Punk, Drake, Eminem, and ∆ (Vermont is weirdos).
posted by mkb at 7:02 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


A more telling way to play with the data is to choose United States vs. Whatever State and see which artists certain states just don't listen to for whatever reason. Oklahoma, for instance, doesn't like Bob Dylan. And Jason Aldean is perhaps the most divisive artist in the country.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:54 AM on February 27


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes? For real? I don't know anyone who would name them in their top 5 bands and just about everyone I know round here is in Pennsylvania. I don't mind them, but it's not like OMG ESATMZ are coming to the Liacouras Center! Let's camp out for tickets!
posted by Mister_A at 9:32 AM on February 27


« Older Steve Jobs Memorial Statue Has Been Unveiled And.....  |  Science journalist and NOVA co... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments