Like every popular online service out there—from OkCupid to PornHub—Spotify keeps tabs on its users, and especially their listening trends. The popular streaming site’s already demonstrated its anthropological power to learn about people through music, and now it’s expanding that power to a global scale.
Spotify calls this innocuous use of anonymized data gathering as Musical Map, a thousand playlists each from a different city that represents the distinctive music tastes of its residents. These aren’t the most popular songs, mind you—just the ones that are outliers when compared to other cities around the world.
The result? A strange amalgamation of music you wouldn’t necessarily identify with your hometown. Here are few choice picks from playlists around the United States:
Brooklyn, New York:
- Jamie XX - “The Rest Is Noise”
- Lucius - “Wildewoman”
- Alkaline - “Move Mountains” (The fucking weirdest song I’ve ever heard)
- Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. - “Brooklyn’s Finest” (of course)
- Keith Urban - “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
- Twista - “Adrenaline Rush”
- Eminem - “Phenomenal”
- Rascal Flatts - “Riot”
Long Beach, California:
- Billy Stewart - “I Do Love You”
- Groupa Maximo Grado - “Unes Maximo Grado”
- Barbara Mason - “Yes I’m Ready”
So in just this extremely limited survey, you can see fascinating differences from across the US. Indie and club music transforms to rap and country in the midwest to latin ballads and oldies in Long Beach. In many ways, these playlists show off more than just certain songs. It’s also a reflection of the cultural make up of a city, specifically the populations that make one city so different from another.
So that’s one way to look at it, or you can just use it to discover new music. That works, too. [Spotify]