How 51 Countries Listen

  Travel is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s also expensive, in terms of time, money, carbon, and hassle. But it’s worth it. Seen in context, our differences connect us. No need to book a travel agent just yet — data alchemist and principal engineer Glenn McDonald for The Echo Nest at Spotify contrived a […]


EDM & The Amsterdam Dance Event: How The Netherlands Listens

The Electronic Dance Music genre has been with us for decades, but it has more loyal fans over the world than ever before, influencing pop music at large while drawing more and more people to live events. This week, legions of EDM enthusiasts will be sucked into the vortex that is The Amsterdam Dance Event, […]


Songs of ‘You’ and ‘We’

If art reflects society, we should pay attention when musicians sing about us, specific people, or themselves. Thousands of songs begin with the words “You Are,” “We Are,” and “I Am,” offering one portal into such matters. What if we were to look at each group of songs, and see how they tend to differ? This […]


How Music Migrated from Berlin, London, and Paris

Music never stops evolving, borrowing from the past as it forges the future. Every so often, a mutation occurs, leading to a never-before-heard style, which spreads around the world to various extents, depending on how the music resonates with people in other places. We’ve seen it happen countless times. In the early ‘90s, a grungy […]


For German Music Fans, World Cup Victory Was Cause for Celebration

(This post originally appeared here.) Yesterday, Germany stunned World Cup host Brazil with a 7-1 victory, breaking records and Brazilian hearts. But for fans of the German side, which will now advance to the World Cup final, the result was cause for major celebration. And celebrate they did.


Soccer Fans Listen Differently in Winning and Losing Countries

(This post originally appeared here.) Nearly half of the world’s population watched at least a minute of the last World Cup, according to FIFA (.pdf). At this year’s Brazilian extravaganza, we expect even more people to tune in, given that viewership increased 8 percent last time around. But you don’t need to know that to […]


Icelanders, Islanders Exhibit Disproportionate Musical Influence

(This post originally appeared here.) The islands of Jamaica and the United Kingdom produce a disproportionate number of musical styles and artists, according to musical legend. The world of pop music would be missing huge pieces, the legend goes, had these islands submerged before the invention of electricity or otherwise been incapable of making music. Taking this […]


We Built This City On…

(This post originally appeared here.)  “We built this city on rock ‘n roll,” observed the ’80s band Starship. Which city? Contenders include San Francisco, or possibly New York or Cleveland, depending on the verse. So, what kinds of music are these cities, not to mention many others, actually “built on?” By combining our data about […]


How Men and Women Differ as Music Fans: The Outliers

(This post originally appeared here.) “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” a book by that name once famously claimed. Both of these genders generally tend to agree, however, that the music of Bruno Mars is well worth a listen — it’s just about every other artist they seem to disagree on.


Hottest Songs, Biggest Discoveries of 2013

(This post originally appeared here.) Did you notice the calendar switch from 2013 to 2014? This seems to happen every year, bringing a deluge of end-of-year lists, especially where music is concerned. Still, we promise you have yet to see anything like the 2013 “year in music” maps below. The Echo Nest collects more detailed, […]


7 Decades, 7 Musical Evolutions

(This post originally appeared here.) Humankind has had music for as far back as we’re able to define ourselves as such. Some of that music has always been favored by the other cave people, hunters-and-gatherers, farmers, shamans, and whoever else was hanging around. As society changes, our favorite music changes too, and variations in musical […]


64 Years of Music Innovation in One Playlist

(This post originally appeared here.) There are only 12 notes in all western music. Somehow, musicians have forged those musical chromosomes into millions of recorded-and-released songs in over 1255 distinct genres. Like biological species, artistic movements evolve independently, inter-dependently, and dependent on the environments that shape their development. In the music scene, new “discoveries,” such as […]


The Opposite of Every Genre

(This post originally appeared here.) When The Echo Nest data alchemist Glenn McDonald built a web app for listening to any genre or subgenre of music in the world in seconds, his creation drew lots of attention. Boing Boing co-founder Mark Fraunfelder called it one of his favorite two things, at one point. Part of that […]


Is Your Band Name Taken? Find Out Here

(This post originally appeared here.) One of the best things about starting a band is coming up with the name. It’s so fun that even people who aren’t starting a band like to do it. If you had a nickel for every time you’d heard “Hey, that’d be a great band name,” you’d probably have […]


Plotting Music’s Emotional Valence, 1950-2013

(This post originally appeared here.) You might remember “valence” from high school chemistry. It has to do with how many electrons an atom will lose, gain, or share when it joins with another atom. Psychologists put a spin on that concept, using the word “valence” to describe whether something is likely to make someone feel […]