Music Fans’ Most Distinctive Artists by State

February 25, 2014

The Echo Nest director of developer platform Paul Lamere has determined the recording artist that is most “distinctive” to music fans in any state — that is to say, their favorite artists, relative to the people in other states — and presented his findings in the map below.

Rhode Islanders listen to more Nirvana than people in other states do. Vermonters are, predictably, the biggest Phish Heads, while Oregonians listen to more Kurt Vile than people in other places. The list goes on, and it’s plenty fascinating.

Rather than being based on where artists are from (also interesting), the below chart is based on the real listening behavior of actual music fans. The Echo Nest knows enough about over 35 million songs by about 2.7 million artists to help music fans on 432 apps and services (and counting) find the perfect music for them at that moment. In the course of providing all of these personalized recommendations, we see detailed listening data for millions of anonymous listeners. We can extract all kinds of interesting things from that data about how musical taste varies in various groups of people, based on the real world.

Here’s the map — enjoy. (To delve in deeper, check out Paul Lamere’s Music Machinery blog, where he breaks down the data, and be sure to try the amazing web app he built for finding the biggest listening differences between any two states in the union.)

See also Lamere’s research into music fans by generation and by gender.

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