Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Music Variability Among Groups

Question: Is there really a higher musical variability among members in groups that stand for accepting a wide range of artists when compared to members of a group centralizing around one specific type of music?

Sites used: is a website which records the songs that users listen to, and then compile the logged tracks into different statistics, such as top artists or top tracks.
This is the “How Eclectic is Your Music Style?” tool for, which measures how much variety can be found in a user's music library. Members type in their username, and then their top artists along with artists similar to those artists are analyzed, and a score from 0 to 100 is given, signifying a lack of variety or a great variety in music, respectively.

Data Collection: I first selected two groups on, the first was Extensive Musical Taste and the second Female Metal Vocalists. Then I chose random recently active members in these groups and sent them all messages, linking them to the "How Eclectic is Your Music Style?" tool and requesting that they send me back their scores. Based on the responses I got, I took an average and found these averages:

Extensive Musical Taste: 89.24

Female Metal Vocalists: 72.25

Connections: The main connection with this analysis I made with the class was that of group identity and roles. I feel as though the reason the numbers came out as expected was because members join groups which have an identity they wish to portray, or at least that they would want to portray. Members may also feel that once they are a part of a group, it is their role to listen to the types of music the group promotes. Status comes into play here; members who's music libraries exemplify the music tastes of the group may gain more recognition or respect. People may come to them for music advice, or value their opinion more. Thus, members may strive to fill that role to gain the respect.

Conclusion: The data gathered found that the music group which promoted variability did have a higher variability than one which promoted one specific type of music. Group identity plays a key role here, as the reasons members join groups is to become a part of a certain identity, or to have a group which represents an identity they wish to portray.

Future: I'd like to look into whether people listen to certain types of music because they like them, or just because they wish to fill an identity, and if being a part of a group helps them feel as though they are accomplishing embodying that identity.


  1. Holly, I found your presentation really interesting! I use for finding new music, but I've never joined a group--I just let do it for me. Which is really group-based too, because I think matches you with similar music based on what other people listen to.


    I took the quiz and got an 89, so I guess that's pretty good. =)

    I think it would be interesting to see if an indie group would be more likely to be more diverse, or even a more mainstream group, like adult contemporary or something. I think indie gets kind of a bad rap, but it encompasses a big group--folk to country to pop to rock to electronic to hip-hop. There's even a genre called "freak folk"--seriously, check it out on!

    Anyway, your presentation got me thinking! Thanks so much for sharing. ;)

  2. I've joined the groups, but I've never used them to help me find new music. I'll have to look into that.

    Also - I totally love freak folk :)