The guiltiest pleasures on last.fm

For better or for worse, the music industry has a direct line into many listeners’ preferences, likes, dislikes and general listening behavior. I wonder if the lure of that data is a driver in the survival of sites like last.fm and Pandora (my two faves). Even blip.fm provides a richer view into playlists with every listen enhanced with digital words from the listener.

The holy grail for music promoters, lawyers, etc. is the ability to pick a hit. There have been plenty of data-driven attempts at predicting hits, but they have all focused on the aspects of the song. Today companies like CBS (owners of last.fm) are no doubt beginning to examine the behavior of the actual consumers.

What can we infer from the information below?
It appears that, while lady GaGa is extremely popular, she is very likely a guilty pleasure amongst last.fm listeners. They don’t want to share with the world their affinity for the GaGa.

Is her star power on the decline? Is it time to look for the next GaGa? Perhaps if we knew a little more about the profiles of the listeners, we could further understand this behavior. For what percentage of listeners are the songs unwanted?

From the last.fm playground I found in the footer

Why does all this data exist?
Because smart and ambitious people build engaging and relevant experiences that suck people into the world of digital streaming. Even if they are not streaming, the promise of a little bit of personal insight is enough to “scrobble” their offline listening habits. Despite the kicking and screaming (and suing) we’ve heard about, these sites have blazed a trail that may save the butts of the executive branch of the music industry.

You’re welcome for the free market research data. Please please use it responsibly. Maybe even use it to increase the quality of the product you release. That would be stellar. Instead of digging through IP addresses of people who have illegally downloaded music, you can focus on these pearls.

Oh, and maybe even give us some of that data in return. The last.fm playground has myriad playful visualizations of listening data. That’s cool, but sharing the data itself would be great too.


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2 thoughts on “The guiltiest pleasures on last.fm

  1. The prominence of Gaga and Britney Spears seems to point to an obvious acknowledgement that as silly as some of the music is that comes out of these pop stars, we like it and like it A LOT. We just don’t want our friends to know we like it.

    This goes to the broader interpretation of social network postings in general. As much as it looks like we’re putting our whole selves out there, there is an enormous amount of self-filtering that goes into creating our online personas. The underlying power of data like the above is in helping to peel away the curtain of the personas we’re trying so hard to maintain.

    Good stuff for a future tweetup convo.

  2. ah. excellent way to look at it. We talk a lot about the filters that are set on individual streams – who you follow, how you group them, etc. The perspective of our own personal filters is interesting indeed.

    Someone told me she considered creating a Twitter account for each of the different sides of her personality. The grumpy feed, the sappy feed, the sardonic feed, the esoteric feed, the pessimist feed, etc… Putting all of the feeds together would reveal her true self, while apart there are just a thin slice into her world. Even if you think a real jerk is behind one feed, you might quite like two others… something like that.

    There is a lot to be discussed about our online brands and how much they really reflect who we are. Do we really ‘manage’ them or, in the end, will they just end up revealing who we truly are? Looking forward to that discussion 🙂

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