Spotify’s musical map shows which songs are most popular in 1,000 cities

What drives music lovers wild in Berlin and Brooklyn is different.
What drives music lovers wild in Berlin and Brooklyn is different.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Peter
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The global music industry gets a bad rap for churning out catchy tunes to appeal to the largest possible audience. But as it turns out, taste in music is, at least to some degree, still distinctly local. Such is the finding of music streaming service Spotify, which created an interactive map with the most played songs in nearly 1,000 cities around the world.

The map guides users through a ranked playlist for each location, based on what Spotify users in that city listen to most that distinguishes them from other cities. To do this the company broke down 20 billion streams based on where people were listening (rather than where people pay or signed up) and weighed songs’ global popularity against their local popularity. The results, Spotify data analyst Eliot Van Buskirk tells Quartz, highlight the ”distinctive” songs of each location.

For example: The playlists for London and Brooklyn include a lot of remix artist Jamie xx. In Barcelona, the most-listened-to song is by a Catalan-speaking pop band. American singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan ranks high in BerlinAthens is very into Georgian-Greek pop singer Tamta, while in Sao Paulo the hip-hop artist Rael occupies the top three most-played songs.

“This is music that people in each city listen to quite a bit, which people in other cities also do not listen to very much,” explains Van Buskirk. The beauty of the map is that it shows off cities’ cultural identities, featuring “music that makes them different from people everywhere else,” Spotify says on its website.

Of course, the map only covers territories where Spotify is available, leaving huge blank spaces in Africa and Asia. The company said it plans to keep the map current by updating the rankings every two weeks.