David Bowie and me

Like my friend Rob, I never got wildly into David Bowie. His passing, however, made me realise how he was one of those people who are fundamentally a part of my music history, even if they weren’t on regular rotation, or if I never got beyond his singles.

Dashboard 11

I thought I’d look at when I listened to Bowie over the last 6 years. It’s interesting – he was a real “binge” artists for me. The line shows cumulative listens over time. Look at how the line goes up in steps.

What’s happening? With Bowie, once or twice a year, I’d think “Bowie was amazing. I’ll put on his greatest hits.” And then I’d be listening on rotation for the best part of a day.

Favourite track? Before even looking at the data, my answer was Heroes. The data proves it –

More music trends: am I binge listening to artists or albums?

Following on from yesterday’s post, I wanted to look at my listening binges. When do I listen to one artist or album for a long time?

Let’s look at album streaks.

In these charts, each dot represents a track. the dots go up each time it’s a consecutive track from the same album. The higher the trail, the bigger the album listening streak.

Binge listening (albums)
Go check out the interactive version – it’s more fun!

Wow! Pink Floyd’s Endless River has been my biggest listening streak of last 3 years. Fans of Floyd will know that album has lots of short tracks on it. Easy to have a listening streak, sure, but I did obsess on that album for that period.

Below I’ve highlighted other times I listened to Endless River – clearly I listen to that one in bursts.

Binge listening (albums) FLOYD

You can see there’s another peak for Frozen, the curse of all parents over the last 3 years. Look at how many listening streaks I’ve had with that:

So much Frozen. Let it go, Andy!
So much Frozen. Let it go, Andy!

How about artist streaks?

Binge listening (artists)

Yes, I listened to Gabby Young 108 consecutive times in November last year!

Notice also the binges I’ve had on Pink Floyd. I guess I sometimes go back and listen to the old favourites in big binges:

Binge listening (artists) FLOYD
The Pink Floyd binges

Go check out the interactive versions, and, more importantly, plug your own data into this workbook! I want to know what other people’s data looks like.

How did I do the listening streaks? I recreated an idea from this prehistoric post on commuting in the rain. I updated that idea with some tricks from this post on Previous Values by Jonathan Drummey

Music listening trends: 2015. The death of the album?

Note: if you’re interested in doing something like this, get scrobbling to last.fm. When you have a big enough corpus of music, download it using Ben Foxall’s lastfmtocsv converter.

Also I want feedback on the chart below. I want to show when I first and last listened to all bands in my data. The chart below works for me, but took me ages to explain to someone else. How might you show that data?

First and last
I want feedback on this: I can’t work out how to show the data. Click here for interactive version.

What’re the trends in my music habits for 2015? Last year it was all about Gabby Young, Frozen and Heavy Metal. Has anything changed this year? Yes. This year was about listening to new bands/artists. 1,237 of them!

new artists

In 2012, however, I only listened to 596 new artists, less than half the amount in 2015. Not only was 2012 a bit of a drought, I’ve also not listened to those new bands very much since:

More 2014 than 2012

So what happened in 2014? How come that year has cumulatively accounted for so many listens? One band: Gabby Young & Other Animals. We saw them at Just So Festival in 2014 and they became a family favourite.

I also wondered, of all these new bands, which ones did I stop listening to, and when? That’s the chart at the top and repeated again below. I’ve shown when I first and last listened to an artist. For an interactive view, click here.

What do you think? How would you show data like this? I think having time on x AND y is confusing.

First and last
I want feedback on this: I can’t work out how to show the data. Click here for interactive version

Finally, I wondered how many different bands/artists I listen to each month. The results were fascinating. It turns out I am listening to more artists each month than ever before. I need to do further analysis on this: does it represent the death of the album? Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist has been a revelation this year, but this chart shows it’s led to fewer complete album listens.

I'm listening to more artists

Who knows what next year will bring!

You can do this too! Just use Ben’s lastfmtocsv tool. Then download my Tableau workbook and replace the extract with your data.