The ongoing project I’m usually busiest with is PopRock — a web app that tracks statistics and creates data visualizations using data from the Spotify Web API and the Last.fm API.
From Spotify, I grab artist Popularity and Followers (daily) as well as Popularity for albums and tracks (weekly). That is
- 327 artists
- Their 5,742 albums
- The 75,283 tracks from those albums
If you’ve never heard of Last.fm, it gathers data via “scrobbles” from all participants who have a “scrobbling” app installed. When you, the music lover, listen to a song using iTunes, Spotify, etc. the app sends that bit of information as a “scrobble” to Last.fm. As often as I remember to, I run a Python script that gathers the Listeners and Playcount for each artist, their albums and tracks. At the moment, this task is so cumbersome, I keep the list relatively short — 32 artists.
What brings joy to my nerdy little heart is when there’s an event that creates an anomaly or jump in my data. For example, a movie about Queen causes a spike in popularity — especially for a particular song (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) or a movie about Motley Crue causes a spike in their popularity.
What brings sadness to my heart is how little influence the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has on my little data exercises. For the most part, neither inductions nor nominations cause much of a change. Having said that, I look forward to the announcement of nominations every year as well as to the broadcast of the induction ceremony. The ceremony was held last week and the ceremony will air on HBO April 27. To celebrate that, I’m going to share some data and charts for this year’s nominees and inductees.
Below (Figure 01) is the Spotify popularity for the Class of 2019.
I’ve already written about how Spotify calculates their popularity score numerous times and every article about the RRHoF repeats their rules and controversy so forgive me if I don’t regurgitate all of that here.
Induction Process and Eligibility Requirements, etc.
As you can see, all artists flow together for the most part — because Spotify’s popularity scores are relative. That’s what caused all of them to go down together in late June, climb back up and fall again together in February. Given that, the lines, in a vacuum, would be pretty straight. Knowing that, the nominations announced in December 2018 seem to have no effect.
Speaking of nominations, here are those who were nominated last year but not inducted.
Like many people, I find it extremely difficult to keep my thoughts about this to myself. At least three of those artists deserve to be in more than at least three of the inductees. But, of course, if the RRHoF used reason and logic, people wouldn’t write motherloads of articles and blog posts about them twice a year.
The only artist I would say was really affected by their nomination is the MC5. I would expect all of them would bump up because the public was reminded of these artists and listened to them like, “Oh, yeah, I haven’t listened to LL Cool J in forever” but, in the case of the MC5, I think it’s more like, “Who are the MC5?” and I am just fine with a new generation being exposed to them by any means necessary. Very similar to another highly-influential Detroit band, The Stooges (inducted 2010). I’m still waiting for Ted Nugent to get selected for consideration to be put on the ballot. Once.
Because popularity is relative, you might be thinking the line charts are pretty useless and you’d be right. If I look at each artist individually, however, and change the Y-axis from a 0-to-100 scale to a lowest-to-highest scale, they become (a little) more useful. Sometimes. This begins a series of posts about each inductee that do exactly that with some more useful statistics and data visualizations.
Before we go on, however, here’s something more useful — a graph using each artist’s followers on Spotify.
Day-um! Radiohead has some fans, yo!
That wide range between, for example, The Zombies (who deserve better, by the way) and Radiohead makes for what could be considered a clunky chart.
In other charts, the ratio for popularity (which is, conveniently, on a scale of 0-100) is 1:2. One popularity point gets represented by two pixels so I can fight against the opposite problem of a chart that’s too small. The ratio in the above chart is 5000:1. 5000 followers to one pixel.
Chrome’s dev tools were invaluable in troubleshooting that.
I love how “good” I’m getting at math now that it’s always in a real, practical context. For the labels on top of the columns I first checked to see whether the number was above or below one million.
- If it was above, I divided by one million, used toFixed(1) and added the “M”.