Data+Music: when do I listen to new music?

As I get older, do I listen to more new music, or less? My hunch tells me I’d settle in to my old favourites, and shy away from new artists. However, Spotify and its curated playlists (Discover Weekly, Release Radar, etc) make it almost too easy to discover new music.

Let’s look at the data.

(note: if you’re interested in doing this with your own LastFM data, check out the first post in this series)

First of all, I can see I’m listening to fewer distinct artists overall. I hit a peak of 3190 unique artists in 2016, which dropped to 2461 in 2018. That’s still a surprisingly large number; I’m amazed it’s that much.

But look at the percentage. In 2018 63% of my listens were to artists I’d already listened to. It’s too early to know if that’s a trend, but it doesn’t lead to a conclusive answer to my question. I’m surprised how many new artists I listen to each year.

The obvious next question is:

Who are the top new artists each year?

Above is a chart showing the top 10 artists I listened to in 2012. There is an interactive version of this at the bottom of this post.

Emika was my top new artist back then: I listened to her 146 times in 2012, and have gone on to listen to her 368 times.

But I showed 2012 because Public Service Broadcasting appeared first then. †

These guys are amazing, and their Race for Space album is wonderful. Since the 50th anniversary of the moon landing is next week, you must go listen to it.

That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll look at when I binge listen to music. In the meantime, you can play with my “new band by year” viz below. Or go learn how to do this with your own data.

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