Who’s got the hippest taste in music? 10 great states – USA TODAY
No big surprise: Katy Perry and One Direction rank high on USA TODAY’s top 40 airplay chart. Next week, probably more of the same.
That’s all well and good, and I’m not judging their worthiness as popular artists — I’m a big fan of Macklemore and Lorde — and I’m not one of those music snobs who listens to obscure bands for the sake of manufactured elitism, but America is listening to more variety, right?
A refreshing new survey by the Echo Nest, a music intelligence company that aggregates data from online streaming services such as Rdio and iHeartRadio, revealed the most distinctive acts being played in each state. That’s distinctive, not popular. “Think of it like food. There are plenty of McDonalds in every state, but cheeseburgers and french fries are not what make a state distinctive,” says Paul Lamere, director of developer platform and author of Music Machinery, a blog about music technology. “In my state, New Hampshire, you’ll be more likely to see more maple syrup than in Texas.”
Popularity is not a stamp of talent insomuch as it is marketing muscle. If my 4-year-old daughter could read, she’d put me in time out for saying that One Direction is popular — and cute — but they’re not very good. Conversely, there are thousands of bands that no one’s heard of, simply because they’re terrible. But for me, the beauty of music is finding great talent, submerged beneath all the noise. So, thank you, America, for the recs.
Of the 50 acts that the Echo Nest tweezed out in their survey, the Midwest has the hippest states while the East Coast sticks to the tried-and-true, established acts.
As I see it, these are the 10 states (alphabetically) with the hippest taste in music, and their most distinctive artist:
1. California – Bonobo
2. Colorado – The Naked and Famous
3. Georgia – Future
4. Idaho – Tegan and Sara
5. Illinois – Sufjan Stevens
6. Mississippi – August Alsina
7. Missouri – The Shins
8. Nebraska – Bastille
9. Pennsylvania – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
10. Washington – The Head and the Heart