International fandom

One of the things I think is particularly cool about is its internationalism. They’ve got users submitting their listening data to them from 240 countries. 240. That blows my mind — can you name 240 countries?

Sure we used to be able to get American and British charts. And now we can turn to places like Its A Trap and get Swedish college charts, but where else can you get listening data from 240 countries? See here for a nice visualization of 24 hours of data submissions. Yeah, most of the world is dark and it’s dominated by Europe and the eastern third of North America, but all in all it looks suspiciously like the distribution of world internet users.

As The Sun discusses, this makes for some surprising discoveries:

Latest figures show that Coldplay’s Clocks is currently the most listened to internet track on in China.

In Sweden, native indie band Kent top the charts while in Somalia it’s French dance group Air with their song Playground Love.

The Beatles are the most popular band online in Japan and the Fab Four’s Strawberry Fields Forever is also first choice in Argentina.

What would be REALLY cool would be if those charts were all dominated by bands from those nations (I wonder if there would be more of that if they were translating the site into more languages than Japanese). Still, the first way to get music flowing across international boundaries in more than one direction is to let those of us who never hear anything but US and UK artists find out how much of it is out there, and that it’s so much richer and more diverse than a name like “World Music” can suggest. And then give us an easy way to listen to it.

In that regard, their users can tag songs and artists, and those tags give you a glimpse at music from places that never make the radio abroad. Here’s a ton of artists tagged “China”. Only 2 are tagged “Somalia” but lots are tagged “French”. You get the idea. So if you want to check out what Chinese music sounds like these days, click on that tag radio button over on the left and take a sonic vacation.

My own ears spend most of their time in Sweden.

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