Mapping Fans’ Musical Taste Across the U.S. With YouTube Data

RCLife's Will Levith compares New York Times' music data to the 2016 election map.

August 10, 2017 9:26 am
Music Even Democrats and Republicans Can Agree On
Singers Drake (left) and Rihanna (right) perform onstage during The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

What bands reign supreme in red states and blue states? The New York Times has a way to answer this question, after it recently crunched the geocoded data from YouTube based on the 50 most-streamed artists from the Billboard 100, between January 2016 and April 2017.

Of course, not every location in the U.S. listened to those 50 artists—and that’s reflected in how the data was mapped out by the newspaper. Also, the Times provides a nifty search function, which takes into account one’s area code in pinpointing artist popularity. We tried three: our current area code (12180 – Troy, New York); childhood home (12866 – Saratoga Springs, New York); and former New York City apartment (11222 – Greenpoint, Brooklyn), and came up completely empty. But what that means, according to the Times, is that each of those areas has a much more eclectic musical palate than others. (We’ll get back to listening to Slipknot, Nicky Holland, and Son Volt, shortly.)

That said, the maps did provide some rather interesting data—which we’ve superimposed over the 2016 red-blue state election map. Note: Most of the music below contains language that may not be suitable for an office environment.

-Rapper Future (listen above) is wildly popular in red states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

-Rihanna is popular in both blue states (New York, California) and red states (Louisiana, Florida).

Beyoncé all but carries the red-state South … but might as well be an unknown in other red states like Montana and Wyoming.

-Speaking of Montana and Wyoming, Eminem is hugely popular there. Maybe they thought the clip above was “fake news”?

-The Texas panhandle—in a state that’s about as red as they come—enjoys it some hotline bling.

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