I have been conducting an experiment since last 1 year by mapping all the music I have been listening. I learned to play many instruments with music lessons in home and I’ve been getting better since then. I started scrobbling my songs on 2nd June 2012 and today it’s exactly 1 year past that date – 2nd June 2013. Well, I was playing against the odds that I’d be able to complete this test according to the Mayans, but I guess that’s an old joke now! The only thing I needed to conduct this experiment was last.fm and its scrobbler. If you don’t know what last.fm is, you should check it out. Last.fm is a music recommendation service. You use Last.fm by signing up and downloading The Scrobbler, which helps you discover more music based on the songs you play.
I’ve got some interesting results to share. I spent 750 hours or an entire month’s time in just listening songs in the last 1 year. That’s certainly the most amount of time I have spent on music in a single year! To put it in perspective, I spent about 100 days of the 365 days I had in sleeping and 30 of the remaining 265 days on music. I don’t know what I did in the rest of the time, should’ve mapped everything!
The whole time of the ‘experiment’ was divided into two parts – In first 3 quarters of the year of listening to music, all the exploration I did was based on the recommendation of last.fm and by own efforts. I usually listen to the top songs of any band and judge them based on those 6-7 songs, if I really like them, I explore their other songs further, otherwise I move on and put the songs I liked (from those 6-7 songs) into my phone’s library. So most of the times, my laptop is a testing ground for exploring new music and my phone has a collection of the songs I really love to listen.
One more reason behind this habit is I’m sure all my songs on my android phone are scroblled but I’m not sure of that for my laptop. It’s really a slow way of exploring new music because I generally have to put in a lot of effort in getting the songs to my phone. Music is good but it’s not my only love or the top one for me, so maybe I don’t spend a lot of time on improving my listening habits, but that’s the way things have been…
Now coming back to the experiment, a few months ago, say 5 months ago, I was recommended to check out 8tracks by a friend, so I did and it completely changed my workflow of how I listen music. In the last 4 months, I’ve discovered not only lot more new music but also have been listening to it more often. The analysis graphs blew my mind! Now that I compare my data from 3 months back and 6 months back, I think I had been on a loop of same 100-150 songs for a good part of my year, no points for guessing which half. 8tracks is the answer to my problem of discovering new music, the results are really impressive and I love their apps. It’s going to be really big soon and will catch on with public. I’m sure of that. You can check out the playlists I’ve favorited so far by going on to my 8tracks profile.
I have the following graph below, it’s not the best thing as I don’t have a snapshot of how the graphs looked 6 months earlier when there was no 8tracks, but I guess you’ll get the idea I want to present – I’m listening to so much more music these days as compared to the past, all thanks to 8tracks. In the pie chart below, the bigger-darker slice of the pie represents the number of unique songs I’ve listened to in the last 3 months and the smaller-lighter slice represents the songs listened to in earlier time (6 months, 12 months and overall).
Last.fm was a brilliant idea and it enabled so many people to actually measure their music habits and make sense out of it. One unique thing I inferred from the data on last.fm is that I really really love the hard rock bands that came out Britain in the sixties, some of my personal favorites are Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Who. You can add me as a friend on last.fm if you also like the bands I just mentioned, here is the link to my profile. I’d love to hear your suggestions if you have any for me..
8tracks on the other hand, takes less of a technical route by making their playlists handmade. They have no algorithms to determine how you are thinking, people don’t want that logically determined suggestions, people want to explore based on what they feel at the moment. Here is a mixtape I had made when I was missing BITS.
8tracks is much more effective that many other alternatives that let you discover new music because it doesn’t forces these new upcoming indie songs onto you but instead the new songs are sandwiched between the popular ones, so that the whole playlist is interesting. It truly is handcrafted radio because there are always songs with which you can sing along, and you want to hear those songs as well while discovering new ones. For me this maintains the balance between the thrill of discovering your next best song and the joy of singing along an old song you’ve already heard hundreds of times. It’s such a simple thing to create playlists of mixed songs and so much more effective for some one like me.
What do you think about my analysis? I’ll try to post this again next year in June 2014.