Insight: Analyzing Myspace – Examining Genres

This Insight is a second in a series based on the Martin Prosperity Institute’s Geography of Myspace white papers as part of the MPI’s Music and the Entertainment Economy project. While the previous Insight focused on the popularity of music within different U.S. metros, this week we will focus on looking at the dominance of different genres within MySpace. For this we analyzed the number of views, plays, fans and popularity of the bands for each genre. On MySpace, genre is self-selected by each band, which has the ability to select up to three genres. For the purpose of our analysis, we use only the first selected genre, which is assumed to be their primary genre. Genre is an important indicator for music, as the particular band is making a statement to fans and viewers of what type of music they offer. The nature of genre selection on MySpace does create limitations in the data as through self-selection, an artist could be identifying with a genre that their music does not actually represent (such as a pop artist selecting their genre as punk). If a specific genre were not present on Myspace, then the band would be able to add their particular genre.

Myspace Genres

When looking at the top genres by total number of bands, the well-known genres of Hip-Hop and Rap come in at number one and two respectively. Due to technological advancements and the relative success of Hip-Hop artists starting their careers online, it is no surprise that there are 326,283 Hip-Hop artists found on Myspace. Rap comes in second place with 318,807 bands; Rock is in third followed by R&B, and Other. Among those genres on MySpace with enough bands to analyze, Swing, Tango and then Samba have the least amount of bands. The rest of the top ten bands can be found in Exhibit 1.

Exhibit 1: Top ten genres

Top 10 Genres

Despite the sheer number of Hip-Hop and Rap artists on Myspace, Exhibit 2 shows that artists within the Rock genre were found to have the highest number of plays. Rock is followed by Hip-Hop, then Rap and R&B for total number of plays for a genre. Pop music had the fifth most plays despite not being a genre within the top 10 largest number of bands on Myspace. This top 5 ranking is also the same when looking at the top number of views per genre. In regards to fans, Rock bands once again come in first on Myspace as they contribute to almost 85 million fans. Rock is followed by Hip-Hop, Rap, Metal and Indie. Pop and R&B do not fall into the top 5 based on largest number of fans on Myspace, despite the large number of plays and views within the respected genres.

Exhibit 2: Top 5 genres by number of plays, views, and fans

Top 5 genres by number of plays, views, and fans

The Popularity of Genres

As shown in the previous Myspace Insight Nashville, Atlanta and LA had high scores on the Popularity Index based on all the bands in that metro, but which genres rank highest on this measure? According to our Myspace data, artists within the Rock genre have the highest Popularity Index, while Hip-Hop has the second highest. This is not surprising as Rock and Hip-Hop artists contributed to the most plays and views of any genre within Myspace. Rap came in third on the Popularity Indexes of genres, followed by R&B, Pop, Metal, Indie, Alternative, Acoustic, and Country. Artists within country (Kenny Chesney) along with Christian (Randy Travis) music are growing in popularity greatly throughout the United Stated, which attributes to their high Popularity Index score. Genres such as Jazz, Blues, and Ska that are styles of music that benefit from live performance as opposed to digital listeners had lower Popularity Indexes.

Exhibit 3: Top 5 genres by number of plays, views, and fans

Top 5 genres by number of plays, views, and fans

There are many genres available for bands to select when creating their profile on Myspace. Within the Myspace white papers found on our site, we here at the Martin Prosperity Institute have merged many of the similar styles of music into our simplified genres. The simplified genres are then analyzed according to fans, views, bands and plays. To view the results from our simplified genre analysis please click the following links. The Martin Prosperity Institute will also be soon releasing its third Myspace whitepaper on metro profiles.

Further information can be found by reading these white papers:


Download this Insight (PDF)

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.