furia furialog · The War Against Silence · photography · songs · code · other things     ↑vF
23 October 2014 to 20 July 2014 · tagged tech
I had limited expectations for applying the logic from The Sounds of Places, which is based on whole countries, to individual cities. Cities are smaller than countries, and data-wise, smaller usually means more random.  

And maybe there is more randomness, overall, but there's enough non-randomness to be intriguing. Or, to put this another way, any chance that I wouldn't publish this evaporated when The Sound of Dundee turned out to, in fact, include the immortal "The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee" by Gloryhammer.  

The Sounds of US Cities
The Sounds of European Cities
At work I've been looking at the distinctive collective music listening of individual US cities. A lot of this, as you might imagine, turns out to be local music from in or near each city, or pop music with some sort of regional connection.  

But statistically, the most popular "national" hits tend to get mixed in with the local stuff at some point, through sheer ubiquity. Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" is the most obvious example of this at the moment, a song so popular that it's basically representative of the distinctive listening of humans, or at least of American humans who use Spotify.  

For amusement, though, here is a ranking of major US Cities by where on their most-distinctive current song chart "Shake It Off" ranks as of today. The cities at the top are the ones who have surrendered most unreservedly to "Shake It Off", either through genuine disproportionate enthusiasm, and/or because they just don't have anything better of their own to play. The ones at the bottom have maintained the strongest resistance to this invasion. The >100s at the very bottom show the cities where immunity is so strong that "Shake It Off" doesn't even make the top 100 most-distinctive songs.  

# City
1 Arlington VA
1 Chandler
1 Gilbert
1 Mesa
2 Akron
2 Albany
2 Anchorage
2 Cleveland
2 New Haven
2 Pasadena
2 Tucson
2 Worcester
3 Alexandria
3 Des Moines
3 Orange
3 Scottsdale
3 Vancouver
3 Wilmington DE
4 Hoboken
4 Plano
4 Pompano Beach
5 Gainesville
5 Hartford
5 Somerville
5 Syracuse
5 Tacoma
5 Wichita
6 Bellevue
6 Providence
6 Reno
6 State College
7 Colorado Springs
7 Santa Clara
8 Aurora
8 Little Rock
9 Littleton
9 Tempe
10 East Lansing
10 Tampa
10 Trenton
10 Virginia Beach
11 Irvine
11 Sunnyvale
12 Albuquerque
12 Chicago
13 Boise
13 Boston
13 Cambridge
13 Las Vegas
13 Philadelphia
13 Silver Spring
13 Spokane
14 Dayton
14 Jacksonville
14 Miami Beach
14 Overland Park
15 Durham
15 Eugene
15 Lexington
15 St. Louis
16 Raleigh
16 Washington DC
17 Boca Raton
17 Springfield MO
18 Greensboro
18 Greenville
18 Spring
19 Cincinnati
19 Hyattsville
19 Murfreesboro
20 Fremont
20 Fresno
20 Ithaca
20 Tallahassee
21 Bloomington
21 Indianapolis
21 Pittsburgh
23 Corona
23 Phoenix
24 Frisco
25 Columbia MO
26 Ann Arbor
26 Denton
26 San Luis Obispo
26 West Palm Beach
27 Grand Rapids
27 Madison
27 Norman
28 Norfolk
29 Jersey City
29 Orlando
29 San Jose
30 Lawrence
30 Louisville
31 Bakersfield
31 Omaha
32 New York
32 Richmond
33 Salt Lake City
34 Columbus
34 Lewisville
34 Oklahoma City
35 Milwaukee
36 Wilmington NC
37 Columbia SC
37 Santa Barbara
38 San Diego
39 Charleston
40 Lincoln
40 Toledo
41 Long Beach
41 Riverside
41 St. Paul
42 Urbana
43 Berkeley
44 Katy
44 Minneapolis
45 Buffalo
46 Stockton
47 El Paso
49 Fort Collins
54 Charlotte
55 Chapel Hill
55 Kansas City
55 Knoxville
55 Tulsa
56 New Orleans
57 Denver
58 Farmington
60 Concord
60 San Antonio
64 Baton Rouge
67 Birmingham
68 Hayward
73 Mountain View
81 Whittier
83 Seattle
85 Humble
86 Atlanta
86 Santa Monica
87 Grand Prairie
92 Memphis
>100 APO
>100 Anaheim
>100 Arlington TX
>100 Athens
>100 Austin
>100 Baltimore
>100 Boulder
>100 The Bronx
>100 Brooklyn
>100 College Station
>100 Dallas
>100 Detroit
>100 Fort Lauderdale
>100 Fort Worth
>100 Hialeah
>100 Hollywood FL
>100 Honolulu
>100 Houston
>100 Irving
>100 Los Angeles
>100 Lubbock
>100 Mesquite
>100 Miami
>100 Nashville
>100 Newark
>100 Oakland
>100 Portland OR
>100 Provo
>100 Rochester
>100 Sacramento
>100 San Francisco
>100 Santa Ana
 

Presumably none of this will bother Taylor, but "people who are not going to listen disproportionately are going to not listen disproportionately" wouldn't fit the meter of the song very well, so I assume that's why she didn't mention it.
For another way to look at the data from my examination of the distinctive music-listening of US cities, I ranked the top 10 cities by distinctive affiliation to some major genres.  
 

acoustic pop  

1Spokane
2Knoxville
3Grand Rapids
4St. Paul
5Norman
6Birmingham
7Nashville
8Austin
9Madison
10Athens
 

alternative country  

1Nashville
2Louisville
3Raleigh
4Frisco
5Charleston
6Fort Worth
7Birmingham
8College Station
9Grand Prairie
10Greenville
 

alternative dance  

1San Francisco
2Santa Monica
3Tucson
4New York
5Tempe
6Pasadena
7San Diego
8Gainesville
9Chicago
10San Luis Obispo
 

bachata  

1Newark
2The Bronx
3Jersey City
4Miami
5Hollywood FL
6Brooklyn
7Fort Lauderdale
8Hialeah
9West Palm Beach
10Tampa
 

banda  

1Mountain View
2Mesquite
3Irving
4Newark
5Concord
6Oakland
7Santa Ana
8Anaheim
9Bakersfield
10Los Angeles
 

ccm  

1Springfield MO
2Grand Rapids
3Oklahoma City
4Spokane
5Birmingham
6Tulsa
7St. Paul
8Colorado Springs
9Knoxville
10Norman
 

chillwave  

1San Francisco
2Santa Monica
3Portland OR
4Seattle
5Brooklyn
6New York
7Pasadena
8New Orleans
9Berkeley
10San Diego
 

contemporary country  

1Des Moines
2Lincoln
3Omaha
4Indianapolis
5Columbia MO
6Akron
7APO
8Dayton
9Lexington
10Albuquerque
 

country  

1APO
2Indianapolis
3Akron
4Albuquerque
5Des Moines
6Omaha
7Columbia MO
8Lincoln
9San Antonio
10Dayton
 

crunk  

1Humble
2Katy
3Houston
4Charlotte
5Orlando
6Baton Rouge
7Farmington
8Memphis
9Irving
10Tampa
 

dance pop  

1Baltimore
2Greensboro
3Detroit
4Las Vegas
5Philadelphia
6Gilbert
7Pompano Beach
8Trenton
9Wilmington DE
10Atlanta
 

dirty south rap  

1Humble
2Katy
3Houston
4Charlotte
5Atlanta
6Irving
7Orlando
8Farmington
9Memphis
10Arlington TX
 

duranguense  

1Mesquite
2Irving
3Mountain View
4Arlington TX
5Dallas
6Newark
7Jersey City
8Concord
9Houston
10Oakland
 

edm  

1Irvine
2Hoboken
3San Jose
4Fremont
5Santa Clara
6Berkeley
7State College
8Reno
9Sunnyvale
10Bellevue
 

electro house  

1Hoboken
2Irvine
3San Jose
4Fremont
5Santa Clara
6Berkeley
7New York
8State College
9Boston
10Sunnyvale
 

folk  

1Nashville
2Charleston
3Louisville
4Raleigh
5Portland OR
6Chapel Hill
7Birmingham
8Greenville
9Knoxville
10Wilmington NC
 

freak folk  

1Portland OR
2Brooklyn
3Seattle
4Cambridge
5San Francisco
6Somerville
7Santa Monica
8Athens
9Austin
10Denton
 

g funk  

1Hayward
2Concord
3Oakland
4Sacramento
5Stockton
6San Jose
7Fresno
8Fremont
9Los Angeles
10Whittier
 

hip hop  

1Hartford
2Silver Spring
3Worcester
4Ann Arbor
5Farmington
6Philadelphia
7Wilmington DE
8Tampa
9Boca Raton
10Hyattsville
 

house  

1Hoboken
2Irvine
3San Jose
4Fremont
5Santa Clara
6Berkeley
7State College
8Sunnyvale
9Reno
10Orange
 

hurban  

1Miami
2Hollywood FL
3Hialeah
4Fort Lauderdale
5Newark
6West Palm Beach
7Jersey City
8The Bronx
9El Paso
10Miami Beach
 

hyphy  

1Concord
2Hayward
3Sacramento
4Stockton
5Oakland
6Fresno
7San Jose
8Fremont
9Santa Clara
10San Francisco
 

indie folk  

1Portland OR
2Somerville
3Cambridge
4Madison
5Eugene
6Spokane
7Louisville
8Milwaukee
9New Haven
10Durham
 

indie pop  

1Portland OR
2Somerville
3Austin
4Cambridge
5Chicago
6New Orleans
7Seattle
8Eugene
9Lawrence
10Milwaukee
 

indie rock  

1Portland OR
2Chicago
3Cambridge
4Somerville
5Seattle
6Austin
7Columbus
8Tempe
9San Diego
10St. Louis
 

indietronica  

1Santa Monica
2San Francisco
3Portland OR
4Seattle
5New York
6San Diego
7Bellevue
8Pasadena
9Anchorage
10Brooklyn
 

jam band  

1Boulder
2Athens
3Denver
4Fort Collins
5Charleston
6Birmingham
7Columbia SC
8Baton Rouge
9New Orleans
10Wilmington NC
 

jerk  

1Stockton
2Hayward
3Sacramento
4Oakland
5Concord
6Fremont
7Corona
8San Jose
9Bakersfield
10Phoenix
 

latin  

1El Paso
2Miami
3Hialeah
4Miami Beach
5Hollywood FL
6Fort Lauderdale
7Boca Raton
8West Palm Beach
9Mesquite
10Jersey City
 

lo-fi  

1Portland OR
2Austin
3Seattle
4Cambridge
5Chicago
6Somerville
7Brooklyn
8Santa Monica
9Cincinnati
10Louisville
 

mariachi  

1Mountain View
2Newark
3Mesquite
4Irving
5Concord
6Jersey City
7Oakland
8Santa Ana
9El Paso
10Dallas
 

norteno  

1Mountain View
2Mesquite
3Irving
4Newark
5Concord
6Oakland
7Santa Ana
8Anaheim
9Bakersfield
10Houston
 

nu gaze  

1Portland OR
2Brooklyn
3Santa Monica
4Seattle
5San Francisco
6San Diego
7Pasadena
8Lawrence
9New Orleans
10New York
 

outlaw country  

1Fort Worth
2Grand Prairie
3Frisco
4College Station
5Lewisville
6Lubbock
7Spring
8Dallas
9San Antonio
10Arlington TX
 

pop  

1Gilbert
2Pompano Beach
3Chandler
4Trenton
5Las Vegas
6Plano
7Santa Clara
8Anchorage
9Vancouver
10Fresno
 

pop punk  

1Mesa
2Virginia Beach
3Trenton
4Chandler
5Buffalo
6Gilbert
7Pittsburgh
8Tucson
9Colorado Springs
10East Lansing
 

progressive bluegrass  

1Denver
2Boulder
3Fort Collins
4Raleigh
5Charleston
6Knoxville
7Chapel Hill
8Greenville
9Louisville
10Nashville
 

r&b  

1Baltimore
2Detroit
3Atlanta
4Greensboro
5Memphis
6Philadelphia
7Hyattsville
8Richmond
9Norfolk
10Las Vegas
 

r-neg-b  

1San Francisco
2Santa Monica
3New York
4Brooklyn
5Providence
6Seattle
7Pasadena
8Portland OR
9Baltimore
10Hyattsville
 

ranchera  

1Mountain View
2Newark
3Mesquite
4Irving
5Concord
6Jersey City
7Oakland
8Santa Ana
9Dallas
10Los Angeles
 

reggaeton  

1Hialeah
2Miami
3Hollywood FL
4Fort Lauderdale
5West Palm Beach
6Orlando
7Boca Raton
8Miami Beach
9Tampa
10Jersey City
 

shimmer pop  

1St. Louis
2Santa Monica
3Lawrence
4San Francisco
5Kansas City
6Overland Park
7Littleton
8Colorado Springs
9Aurora
10Bellevue
 

stomp and holler  

1Portland OR
2Somerville
3Louisville
4Minneapolis
5Wilmington NC
6Cambridge
7Eugene
8Madison
9Milwaukee
10Spokane
 

synthpop  

1San Francisco
2Santa Monica
3New York
4Tucson
5Pasadena
6San Diego
7Tempe
8Bellevue
9Chicago
10Gainesville
 

trap music  

1Charlotte
2Memphis
3Humble
4Richmond
5Farmington
6Silver Spring
7Orlando
8Toledo
9Baton Rouge
10Katy
 

west coast rap  

1Hayward
2Concord
3Sacramento
4Oakland
5Stockton
6San Jose
7Fresno
8Fremont
9Los Angeles
10Whittier
 

worship  

1Springfield MO
2Grand Rapids
3Spokane
4Tulsa
5Birmingham
6St. Paul
7Oklahoma City
8Greenville
9Knoxville
10Murfreesboro
 
 

This might also be the preface for a volume of sociology essays.
Every Noise at Once has long existed in shades of gray. This isn't because I don't like colors. I've actually tried a few different ways to add color, mostly through inelegant expedients, but none of them seemed to me to be adding more clarity than confusion.  

I'm not entirely certain this one doesn't also suffer that flaw, but in the spirit of experimentation, I'm going to go ahead and publish it. If it makes us unhappy, I can always go back to gray. So here:  


The idea is to semi-subliminally surface some of the other analytical dimensions from the underlying music space, beyond the two that drive the XY axes, so that there's a little less visual flattening.  

For example, in the section on the right, above, you can see the reddish color running from "garage punk blues" to "experimental rock" to "more classic garage rock" and "psychedelic blues-rock", and the light blue linking "alternative new age" to "abstract" to "new tribe". These are good associative threads.  

And the maps within each genre (psychedelic blues-rock on the left, below, and abstract on the right) show both overall corresponding tints, and variable degrees of internal uniformity:  


Logistically, this works by mapping three additional acoustic metrics into the red, green and blue color-channels. I arrived at this particular combination through not-at-all-exhaustive experimentation, so maybe I'll come up with a better one, but for the moment red is energy, green is dynamic variation, and blue is instrumentalness. I don't recommend trying to think too hard about this, as the combinatory effects are kind of hard to parse, but it gives your eye things to follow. As data-presentation this is rather undisciplined, but as computational evocation it seems potentially interesting nonetheless.  

Which you could say of music, too.
As part of a conference on Music and Genre at McGill University in Montreal, over this past weekend, I served as the non-academic curiosity at the center of a round-table discussion about the nature of musical genres, and of the natures of efforts to understand genres, and of the natures of efforts to understand the efforts to understand genres. Plus or minus one or two levels of abstraction, I forget exactly.  

My "talk" to open this conversation was not strictly scripted to begin with, and I ended up rewriting my oblique speaking notes more or less over from scratch as the day was going on, anyway. One section, which I added as I listened to other people talk about the kinds of distinctions that "genres" represent, attempted to list some of the kinds of genres I have in my deliberately multi-definitional genre map. There ended up being so many of these that I mentioned only a selection of them during the talk. So here, for extended (potential) amusement, is the whole list I had on my screen:  
 

Kinds of Genres
(And note that this isn't even one kind of kind of genre...)  

- conventional genre (jazz, reggae)
- subgenre (calypso, sega, samba, barbershop)
- region (malaysian pop, lithumania)
- language (rock en espanol, hip hop tuga, telugu, malayalam)
- historical distance (vintage swing, traditional country)
- scene (slc indie, canterbury scene, juggalo, usbm)
- faction (east coast hip hop, west coast rap)
- aesthetic (ninja, complextro, funeral doom)
- politics (riot grrrl, vegan straight edge, unblack metal)
- aspirational identity (viking metal, gangster rap, skinhead oi, twee pop)
- retrospective clarity (protopunk, classic peruvian pop, emo punk)
- jokes that stuck (crack rock steady, chamber pop, fourth world)
- influence (britpop, italo disco, japanoise)
- micro-feud (dubstep, brostep, filthstep, trapstep)
- technology (c64, harp)
- totem (digeridu, new tribe, throat singing, metal guitar)
- isolationism (faeroese pop, lds, wrock)
- editorial precedent (c86, zolo, illbient)
- utility (meditation, chill-out, workout, belly dance)
- cultural (christmas, children's music, judaica)
- occasional (discofox, qawaali, disco polo)
- implicit politics (chalga, nsbm, dangdut)
- commerce (coverchill, guidance)
- assumed listening perspective (beatdown, worship, comic)
- private community (orgcore, ectofolk)
- dominant features (hip hop, metal, reggaeton)
- period (early music, ska revival)
- perspective of provenance (classical (composers), orchestral (performers))
- emergent self-identity (skweee, progressive rock)
- external label (moombahton, laboratorio, fallen angel)
- gender (boy band, girl group)
- distribution (viral pop, idol, commons, anime score, show tunes)
- cultural institution (tin pan alley, brill building pop, nashville sound)
- mechanism (mashup, hauntology, vaporwave)
- radio format (album rock, quiet storm, hurban)
- multiple dimensions (german ccm, hindustani classical)
- marketing (world music, lounge, modern classical, new age)
- performer demographics (military band, british brass band)
- arrangement (jazz trio, jug band, wind ensemble)
- competing terminology (hip hop, rap; mpb, brazilian pop music)
- intentions (tribute, fake)
- introspective fractality (riddim, deep house, chaotic black metal)
- opposition (alternative rock, r-neg-b, progressive bluegrass)
- otherness (noise, oratory, lowercase, abstract, outsider)
- parallel terminology (gothic symphonic metal, gothic americana, gothic post-punk; garage rock, uk garage)
- non-self-explanatory (fingerstyle, footwork, futurepop, jungle)
- invented distinctions (shimmer pop, shiver pop; soul flow, flick hop)
- nostalgia (new wave, no wave, new jack swing, avant-garde, adult standards)
- defense (relaxative, neo mellow)  
 

That was at the beginning of the talk. At the end I had a different attempt at an amusement prepared, which was a short outline of my mental draft of the paper I would write about genre evolution, if I wrote papers. In a way this is also a way of listing kinds of kinds of things:  
 

The Every-Noise-at-Once Unified Theory of Musical Genre Evolution
  1. There is a status quo;
  2. Somebody becomes dissatisfied with it;
  3. Several somebodies find common ground in their various dissatisfactions;
  4. Somebody gives this common ground a name, and now we have Thing;
  5. The people who made thing before it was called Thing are now joined by people who know Thing as it is named, and have thus set out to make Thing deliberately, and now we have Thing and Modern Thing, or else Classic Thing and Thing, depending on whether it happened before or after we graduated from college;
  6. Eventually there's enough gravity around Thing for people to start trying to make Thing that doesn't get sucked into the rest of Thing, and thus we get Alternative Thing, which is the non-Thing thing that some people know about, and Deep Thing, which is the non-Thing thing that only the people who make Deep Thing know;
  7. By now we can retroactively identify Proto-Thing, which is the stuff before Thing that sounds kind of thingy to us now that we know Thing;
  8. Thing eventually gets reintegrated into the mainstream, and we get Pop Thing;
  9. Pop Thing tarnishes the whole affair for some people, who head off grumpily into Post Thing;
  10. But Post Thing is kind of dreary, and some people set out to restore the original sense of whatever it was, and we get Neo-Thing;
  11. Except Neo-Thing isn't quite the same as the original Thing, so we get Neo-Traditional Thing, for people who wish none of this ever happened except the original Thing;
  12. But Neo-Thing and Neo-Traditional Thing are both kind of precious, and some people who like Thing still also want to be rock stars, and so we get Nu Thing;
  13. And this is all kind of fractal, so you could search-and-replace Thing with Post Thing or Pop Thing or whatever, and after a couple iterations you can quickly end up with Post-Neo-Traditional Pop Post-Thing.
 

And it would be awesome.  
 
 
 
 

[Also, although I was the one glaringly anomalous non-academic at this academic conference, let posterity record the cover of the conference program.]  

At Spotify, where I work, we have listeners in a large and growing numbers of countries around the world. You might theorize that people in different countries listen to different music. You might be curious to hear this music. If you are me, you might be really curious, to the point of a kind of obsessive, consuming fear that there is awesome and bizarre and wonderful music in, say, Estonia, that you're not hearing.  

We do, in fact, have per-country top-track charts in Spotify itself. These measure the absolute popularity of tracks among the sub-population listening in a given country. Statistically, though, these charts tend to be fairly well dominated by global hits. This isn't a technical flaw, but it does mean that those charts are not especially useful for the purpose of musical tourism. When I say I want to hear what they're listening to in Estonia, I mean that I want to hear what they're listening to Estonia that, proportionally speaking, nobody is listening to anywhere else. I want to hear the music that is most uniquely Estonian, or more precisely the music that is most uniquely loved by Estonians.  

So I've been experimenting with code to generate the kind of additional alternate chart that I mean, measuring the most distinctive listening of a country. It's not perfect, and the occasional global hit wanders in due to emotionally irrelevant factors like regional licensing contingencies. But for the most part these charts do appear to be rather effectively getting past the global to the local.  

I was going to share an alphabetized list of these, for anybody who shares my curiosity. But I have this code to produce visual maps of music groupings, and it's just as easy to feed it countries as it is to feed it genres. And thus I've done the somewhat bizarre exercise of producing a visual remapping of inherently geographic data using non-geographic coordinates.  

This sounds silly, I think. But it turns out to be surprisingly interesting. Here's the map:  

 

This is a readability-adjusted scatter-plot of two acoustic variables averaged across a few thousand of the most popular and representative songs from each country.  

The vertical axis is a metric quality we call "bounciness", so the countries at the top are characterized by denser and more atmospheric music, and the countries at the bottom are characterized by sparer music with spikier beats and more space between them. E.g., the constant roar of atmospheric black metal or the slow humming whir of classical organ music would be at the top, and the jumpy beats of hip hop or the pulse of reggae would be at the bottom.  

The horizontal axis is another score we call "organism". The countries towards the left are characterized by music with more electric arrangements and/or more mechanical rhythms. The extreme of this quality gets you relentless techno. The countries towards the right are characterized by music with more acoustic arrangements and/or more human and variable rhythms. The extremes of this get you jigs and reels, or sitars.  

[The main genre map is the other way around, with bounciness from left to right, and organism up and down, but this way we get Scandinavia at the non-geographic north, and China and India towards the non-geographic east!]  

But what's intriguing here, obviously, is not where individual countries appear, but which countries cluster together. Japan, Australia and Canada all basically fall into acoustic Scandinavia. Africa and the Caribbean form a unified acoustic southern hemisphere. Malaysia is acoustically closer to Slovakia than to China, and Lebanon is acoustically closer to South Korea and Mexico than to Iran. I feel like we are detecting at least the faint echoes of a kind of cultural truth.  

Click any country to see the calculated playlist of the 100 most distinctively popular songs in that country. You need Spotify for this to work, and as you'll discover, in some cases international publishing rights work counter to personal curiosity, and less than 100 will actually be available for you to stream. If you're extra-curious, in Spotify Preferences you can uncheck "Hide unplayable tracks", and then you'll at least get to see all 100.  

Estonia turns out to be pretty much exactly as awesome as I imagined it had to be if I could only hear it.
The Guardian today published a piece by Rob Fitzpatrick that I think is now my favorite thing written about my genre map, because instead of being about the map, it's about the music he found using the map.  

One of the things I've been experimenting with at work is finding music by how distinctively it appeals to particular audiences. Mostly we're interested in regional and demographic slices, but out of idle curiosity I tried running the same code against hours of the day.  

That is, for each hour in the day I calculated which songs were most disproportionately played during that particular hour as opposed to in general (by US listeners). From this I was able to assemble a compressed 24-song time-lapse exaggeration of the sounds and biases of the American day.  

 

Our caricatured day starts at dawn with a gentle, soothing Jonsí wake-up. It gets a little preachy (literally) over breakfast, but then Seinabo Sey and Shawn Mendes slowly add some restrained alertness as the coffee takes effect. Spoon and Jason Aldean and Sam Smith carry us unhurriedly through late morning and lunch.  

Early afternoon is, apparently, the official time-slot for imported Australian boy-pop, as 5 Seconds of Summer and Troye Sivan sigh and swoon for a couple songs. I can't really explain what O.A.R. is doing after that, but then it's a solid block of modern (and largely not child-suitable) pop/hip-hop straight through dinner (including, amusingly, a song called "2AM" that is very definitely more popular at 2PM than 2AM).  

Eventually I guess the hip-hop kids go to bed, and the indie/pop-punk kids stay up a little later to briefly rock.  

Then it's nighttime, and we get increasingly meditative with Jon Hopkins, Hans Zimmer and Ludovico Einaudi for a while before resorting (and the data really do indicate this) to actual background noise for a couple solid restorative hours of REM sleep.  
 

[My own daily listening bears no resemblance to this, at all. Nor, I suspect, does any individual's. But the thing has more internal logic than I expected it to have, actually, so there it is.]  
 

[Or, if you'd rather, this:]  

On Friday, September 26, I'll be giving a "seminar" on music exploration and data alchemy at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.  

On the 27th and 28th I'll also be participating in a McGill-hosted conference called Music and Genre: New Directions.  

[If those are too soon and too far north for you, I'm also in the lineup for a proposed SXSW 2015 panel called "Beyond Genre: How To Better Connect Fans w/ Music", which you are welcome to vote for if you like voting for things. That would be next March in Austin.]
Sometimes in blog posts I mention songs. Like Clockwise's "War Story Part One", which is really good. You should listen to it, seriously.  

In fact, I would like to help you listen to it, not least because there's really no reason you should listen to it just because I say so, so listening to it better be really easy.  

The fancy way would be to go find the track on Spotify, right-click it and pick "Copy Embed Code", and then paste that code into my HTML to get this embedded Play button.  

 

That's pretty nice.  

But sometimes I'm just mentioning a song in passing, or in some particular formatting like a table with other stuff, and the fancy embedded thing isn't what I want. It would be nice to also have a lower-overhead way to just mark a song-reference in text as a song-reference, and let some music-intelligence thing somewhere figure out how to actually find and play it.  

So I made a first version of such a thing. It's pretty crude, in that you have to know about editing HTML, and be in an environment where you're allowed to. And it just plays a :30 sample, it doesn't log you in and play the whole song. But the HTML itself, at least, is very simple. So if you have a need for which those are acceptable conditions, and you want to try it, here's how it works.  

First, add these two lines to the HEAD of your page:  

<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://everynoise.com/spotplay.css" type="text/css">
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://everynoise.com/spotplay.js"></script>
 

And then just write your song-reference inside a span with the class "play", like this:  

<span class=play>Clockwise "War Story Part One"</span>  

which produces this (click it once to play the excerpt, click again to stop it):  

Clockwise "War Story Part One"  

When you play an excerpt, a little musical-note link also gets magically inserted, which you can use to go hear the whole song on Spotify if you want.  

You can also refer to things in the possessive form Artist's "Song", like <span class=play>Big Deal's "Always Boys"</span> to produce Big Deal's "Always Boys", or the reverse-credit form "Song" by Artist, like <span class=play>"Dangerous Days" by Zola Jesus</span> to produce "Dangerous Days" by Zola Jesus, and it should be able to figure out what you mean. If you want to attach the reference to some visible text other than the artist and song-name, you can put the actual reference info in the tag, like this, where the code for that linked "this" is:  

<span class=play artist="Broods" track="L.A.F">this</span>  

and if for some reason you happen to have the Spotify URI for a particular track and would rather be precise about it, you can do this, where the code for that linked "this" is:  

<span class=play trackid="spotify:track:6Qb82IcaWAB9ABeTyuzsV0">this</span>  

Also, if for some reason you really don't want the Spotify link to be inserted, you can add "nolink=true" to your span to disable that feature, like this:  

<span class=play nolink=true>Whitebear "Transmute / Release"</span>  

which produces this (click to see the begrudging absence of magic):  

Whitebear "Transmute / Release"  

That's all I've got so far. If you try it, please let me know if it works for you, in either the functional or appealing senses. I'll be here thrashing around to "Snake Jaw" by White Lung.  

(This all works by using the extremely excellent new Spotify Web API to look up songs and play excerpts.)
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