Who’s Really Listening?
Ever find yourself out listening to live music, enthralled with the band, only to look around and realize you’re suddenly surrounded by a disproportionate gender ratio? With so much live music any given night in Seattle, it isn’t surprising to find clusters of men one place and clusters of women another. So what sort of music do men lean towards, and what sort of music attracts the ladies?
About 6 weeks ago I started a short internship at Last.fm. For my project I wanted to explore Last.fm’s data to learn how listening preferences vary with the listener’s age and gender. Apart from the science, the most important thing I found is that you can make awesome plots with this information.
The graphs he came up with analyze listeners to a station, rather than live music crowds, but I still think it’s worth paying attention to. So I’m glad Van Herwegen took this project on, though looking at some of the band names that he lists I feel terribly out of touch with current music. Can I blame the oceanic divide between Seattle and London?
It isn’t a big surprise that Metallica and Iron Maiden are up there for men. Though I do know women who like both, the biggest fans I’ve known were men. Women go more for Lykke Li and Glee Cast which seems to make sense to me as well. (But who is Glee Cast? Like I said, I’m sadly out of touch. *update* Glee Cast is a tag, for the cast of the show Glee. Guess I’m not that bad, I have heard of the show, I was just trying to translate it into a band.)
The mid-ground bands (Beatles, Radiohead, Prince) weren’t too surprising. What was surprising to me were the ones right on the outside of the middle ground. Slightly more women listen to Muse, and slightly more men listen to Diana Krall. I would have reversed that one, but then again, I listen to Muse and I don’t listen to Diana Krall.
I like this chart, and the others that are posted on the Last FM blog, but like I said, this only sort of addresses my first question, and I’m not sure it will help predict the gender breakdown when you go out to see live music in this city. There are too many other outside factors. Music is one thing, but going out to see live music you have to take into account venue and location, not to mention the gender ratio of the particular city. (Seattle counts slightly more women than men, according to this site, but keep in mind, it does use the 2000 census and not the most recent 2010 version.) I wonder if anyone’s taken a survey of Seattle night spots and the gender ratio on a given night. Plot that with this, and maybe I’m onto something…. I bet the folks at the OK Cupid datamining blog OKTrend would be ineterested.
Finally something fresh and new that make sense! I would like to see more about this and that is what I’m going to do.