In previous posts we looked at how can affect listening preferences. Today we take a look at how the location of a listener may affect their listening preferences.
For this study, I sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account. update: Listener data is drawn from a variety of music streaming services that are powered by The Echo Nest. I aggregated these listeners into regions (state, regional and all-US). To compare regions I look at the top-N most popular artists based upon listener plays in each region and look for artists that have a substantial change in rank between the two regions. These artists are the artists that define the taste for the region.
As an example let’s compare Tennessee to New England. If we look at the top 100 artists listened to in Tennessee and see which artists fall the furthest on the New England chart we find these 10 artists:
The first artist, Hillsong United is the 97th most popular artist in Tennessee for our sample of listeners. In New England, Hillsong United drops all the way to the 1097th artist, a drop in rank of 1, 000. Hillsong United is a Christian rock worship band. Tennessee listeners, living in the heart of the U.S. Bible Belt, listen to Hillsong United much more than their New England counterparts. Second on the Tennessee list is Juicy J, a rapper, songwriter and record producer from Memphis, Tennessee. Third is Young Jeezy from nearby Atlanta Georgia. The rest of the top 10 is dominated by southern rappers, country, and folk artists.
Now let’s look at top 100 New England artists and see which artists fall furthest on the Tennessee charts:
New England tastes run to jam bands, indie and classic rock.
Exploring Region differences on your own
I built an app that makes it easy to explore the regional differences in music. With the app you can select two regions and it will show you which artists are distinctive for each region.See also: