Insight: Analyzing Myspace – City Profiles

This Insight is the third in a series based on the Martin Prosperity Institute’s Geography of Myspace white papers, as part of the Music and the Entertainment Economy project. While the previous Insights focused on the popularity of music within different U.S. metros and the dominance of different genres across the U.S., this Insight will look at a portion of the upcoming third Myspace paper by looking at individual city profiles. By examining the Myspace data within cities, we are able to explore differences in the relative popularity of bands that belong to a particular genre at a more detailed level. The unique characteristics of a city often influence the musical expression of its artists; prompting us to examine the data at this geographic level. For the analysis we used the specified city that the particular artist entered, and for the indices use (genre, fans, and views) we used the same metrics as the previous Insights.

City Profiles

In the third Myspace whitepaper, we analysed the music community of 15 cities within the U.S., including the nation’s largest cities as well as recognized musical hotspots such as Memphis and Portland. We found that while usually Rock and Roll, Urban Contemporary and Electronic were the most popular genres overall, there were some metros such as Nashville that had other genres (country pop) dominate the popularity score. We also found that certain cities such as Los Angeles and New York boasted popular artists belonging to many different genres, as many different types of music flourishes within those cities. In this Insight, we will display our results for the cities of Austin and New Orleans, as they are two distinct cultural hubs with quite different musical city profiles. These city profiles tell two different stories in regards to the musical popularity of artists coming from each particular city. In New Orleans, we found that out of all of the city’s acts, Urban Contemporary artists are by far the most popular. This could be due to the strong rap culture within New Orleans that has produced artists such as Lil Wayne and Birdman. It is important to note though, that since the New Orleans’s city profile is based on Myspace pages, long established New Orleans musical groups within Blues and Jazz may not have a presence. Austin on the other hand, is home to a different scene, with Folk artists were found to be the most popular, but many other genres within the city attribute for large percentages of the overall popularity. Austin is a diverse city that encourages different forms of expression, which could attribute to these results.

Austin

Exhibit 1 shows the results for acts within the Austin city profile across five different metrics. At first glance we can see that the relative popularity amongst bands from Austin is spread out across numerous genres, attributing to the diverse nature of music within the city. The four genres with the largest number of acts from Austin were found to be: Rock and Roll (30%), Urban Contemporary (23%), Other (11%), and Electronic (8%). Despite the large number of total acts, Rock and Roll artists within Austin do not attribute to as much to the total plays, fans and popularity index of acts from Austin as Folk artists. While Folk artists in Austin have the highest popularity index, each of the pie charts in Exhibit 1 present that acts from numerous diverse genres contribute to a fairly even amount of the total plays, views, fans and popularity index of music from Austin. While mainstream music genres such as Rock and Roll, Urban Contemporary and Pop acts from Austin have high popularity indexes; artists self-identifying within distinct genres such as Electronic, Experimental, and Country Pop also have very similar popularity indexes. There were a few other city profiles in the report that produced similar results to Austin, but overall the city’s Myspace music scene was found to be quite unique, in its artist’s musical diversity.

Exhibit 1: Austin

Austin

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New Orleans

New Orleans is a culturally vibrant city, with a rich history of musical talent, especially within genres such as Jazz. Recently, due to a large urban poor population, artists from New Orleans have used genres such as Rap and R&B to illustrate the hardships of life within the city. Artists/producers such as Birdman and Master P started a music revolution in New Orleans, displayed in our Myspace city profile, with the dominance of one genre. Whereas artists from Austin within different genres were similar in regards to popularity index, Urban Contemporary artists from New Orleans have by far the highest popularity index. Unlike other city profiles, there are not many Rock and Roll artists from New Orleans, while artists within Urban Contemporary make up almost half of the total Myspace artists from the city. One interesting fact about Rock and Roll within New Orleans though, is the large number of fans of artists from the city within Rock, despite the lower popularity index. Despite this, Urban Contemporary artists still attribute for almost 75% of the total plays, views and popularity Index of all artists from the city. This is partially due to Urban Contemporary power artists such as Frank Ocean and Lil Wayne (Lil Wayne’s music alone has a play count of 572,370,186 as of today).

Exhibit 2: New Orleans

New Orleans

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Cities within the U.S., through the relationships between people and their surrounding environment, use their creativity to uniquely express themselves through local food, art and music. By looking at individual city profiles of Myspace music acts, we are able to explore these relationships between cultural expression and place. This Insight has displayed that the musical environment within different cities can be quite different. In the case of Austin, artists from numerous genres are popular, whereas in New Orleans, the development of internationally famous artists within one main genre attribute to the greatest share of popularity amongst artists within the city. Cities have a great influence on the artistic expressions of their citizens, which can be seen through Myspace city profiles such as these.

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The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto‘s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors — location, place and city-regions — in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.