Ever wonder what your home state's favorite music act is? Paul Lamere, Director of Developmental Platform at the Echo Nest, did. To figure it out, he studied data from Spotify and a "range of data services" to determine preferred musical acts by state across the U.S....and at least one band was very happy about Lamere's findings.
"Math doesn't lie...We hear Idaho loves us! Looks like we need to come visit sometime in the near future!!" Canadian sister act Tegan and Sara posted on Facebook Wednesday, upon learning about the odd study.
So how did Lamere uncover this data? "For this study, I sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter-million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account," Lamere explains on his Music Machinery blog. "I aggregated these listeners into regions (state, regional, and all-U.S.). To compare regions I look at the top-N most popular artists 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."
While that may sound like a whole lot of scientific wankery, the results are often fascinating, with some states ending up with acts that are right in the pocket, but others with artists or bands that seem to be completely out of leftfield.
In the former camp, you have Maybach Music kingpin Rick Ross tops in his home state of Florida, the "Boss" Bruce Springsteen at number one in New Jersey, and indie darling Sufjan Stevens — who, incidentally, once threatened to record an album about every state — topping the list in Illinois, a state he named his 2005 album after.
Then there are the more peculiar match-ups. For instance, country act Florida Georgia Line is number one in Ohio — which may like country music, but last time we checked, isn't too close to Florida or Georgia. SoCal ska-punks the Dirty Heads are tops in Wyoming, and British DJ Bonobo is number one in California. Huh?
Some states still love bands that no longer exist — like R.E.M. in Maine, and Nirvana in Rhode Island. Others, however, like relatively new acts — British new wave revivalists Bastille are tops in New England, the Head and the Heart rule in their home state of Washington, and alt-rockers AWOLNATION are the favorite in Utah.
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What does it all mean? Maybe Lamere will do a follow-up and offer up some answers. Until then, what do you think about the so-called favorite act in your home state? Is it on the money, or part of some bizarre alternate universe?