As it’s Elvi’s birthday today (the 8th of January), and he being my favourite musician of all time, I thought it appropriate for a post that is concerned largely with music to be posted today.
A while ago I discovered this program/website called last.fm. It’s for music listeners and likers which, generally, lets you listen to sample music, find live events, check music charts, and interact with a social network founded mostly on peoples’ like of music. Each person has a user account (mine is here) where you can find a user’s most listened to tracks and artists, and a breakdown into various time periods. The account collects data through a running program on the user’s computer called (you guessed it) last.fm. The program has plugins for most (I assume) programs that play music – iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc. Each time you listen to a majority of the song, it ‘scrobbles’ the song to your account, adding to the number of times the song has been played.
I joined up to this website and installed the program for the purpose or tracking my own taste in music. I regularly get asked at work “Whose music is playing?”, as we can play iPods over our sound system and I am the only person who has figured out how to. I have a very ecclectic taste in music, and when people find out that it’s my music playing, the next question is “What sort of music do you like?”, to which I never have an answer to.
You see, my first reaction is to say “Oh, you know, Elvis and that era of music.”, which is true ….. to an extent. While I think Elvis is the best performer, and a list of my 10 most favourite songs* would include about 3 Elvis songs, you can look at my most listened to artists and I have listened to Lily Allen far more than I have listened to Elvis. And The Killers aren’t far behind the King either. Roy Orbison, who I probably like only slightly (ever so slightly) less than Elvis doesn’t even rate in the top 15! An ‘indie’ band called Razorlight, REM, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, Oasis all beat out the Big O for a spot. Heck, even John Denver and CCR beat him out!
And in my most listened to songs, my most favourite song (Elvis’ ‘If I Could Dream’) isn’t even there. The Ting Tings’ ‘That’s Not My Name’ (a catchy little ditty, I’ll admit) is my most listened to song. Again, Lily Allen and The Killers are the most frequent appearing across all time, but it is a mix of completely modern songs – none of them came out before the 2000s.If you look at a more recent period of time, you’ll find a couple of songs from the classical music genre, no Lily Allen and The Killers, and more indie and less-known pop bands.
When you change the time period to the past 7 days, it is actually more reflective of my listening trends. What happens when I find a song I like is I download that song from iTunes and listen to it non-stop. Over and over again until it ceases to be the really good song I thought it was an is now a song I’m ok with hearing once, twice a day at most. 8 of the top 15 songs played in the past 7 days are ones I downloaded within the past 7 days.
I’m sure someone could make something out of all this data. Maybe I could if I knew what I was looking for? I would imagine, though, that music executives (or their marketing department) could have a field day with all the data that is being collected at last.fm to the point that they could better target and market music for increased sales through online purchases. All I know is that it’s given me a more solid answer to the question of “What music are you into?”.
“Everything. It changes week to week.”
*When I say favourite, I mean it in the same sense that I mean favourite movies: Not necessarily the best songs ever, or the songs that contributed the most to the industry, but the songs I enjoy listening to the most at any given time. And, for the record, my 10 favourite songs (today) are:
- ‘If I Can Dream’ by Elvis Presley
- ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ by Oasis
- ‘Suspicious Minds’ by Elvis Presley
- ‘My Delirium’ by Ladyhawke
- ‘Stereophonics’ by Dakota
- ‘Kentucky Rain’ by Elvis Presley
- ‘I Drove All Night’ by Roy Orbison
- ‘Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticano’ by Pietro Mascagni
- ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay
- ‘Somebody Told Me’ by The Killers