Clique Research on the Geographical Flow of Music hits the headlines
Clique researchers have recently studied how taste in music is geographically distributed, and how these preferences spread. To do so, Conrad Lee and Pádraig collected data form the social media website last.fm, which provides a detailed snapshot of what its users in hundreds of cities listen to each week. After suitably normalizing this data, they used it to test three hypotheses related to the geographic flow of music. They then adapted a method developed to detect leadership in bird flocks to measure whether some cities are consistently early adopters of new music (and early to snub stale music). The results were surprising: the last.fm users from large cities such as London or New York do not appear to be ahead of the curve---users from smaller cities such as Atlanta, Montreal, Oslo, and Stockholm appear to be the most cutting edge. The pre-print of this work can be found on arXiv here, and a more accessible blog post here.