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Map Shows Which States Have Great Taste in Music, Which Don’t

Music Machinery

A new map put together by Music Machinery details the most popular music in each of America’s 50 states. And it not only serves as a gauge of what poor taste in music some of our countrymen have (really, West Virginia?), it also reveals there’s a handful of them listening to s— we never heard of.

Once you get past all of the “no duh” findings here (New Jersey likes Bruce Springsteen, Phish are huge in Vermont), there are a few surprises. Like, who knew that Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros had such a big following in Pennsylvania? And could anyone have guessed that any state in 2014 still cares about Linkin Park? Arizona still does.

Music Machinery goes way into detail at how these artists got paired to the states, but this relatively simple explanation about sums it up: “I sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter-million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account. I aggregated these listeners into regions. To compare regions, I look at the top-N most popular artists in each region and look for artists that have a substantial change in rank between the two regions. These artists are the artists that define the taste for the region.”

That’s the wonky stuff. The fun begins when you start browsing the map (or if you totally suck at geography, like we do, the artists and bands are listed alphabetically in Music Machinery’s article). And there are plenty of surprises here: Maine loves them some R.E.M., Rush are big in Delaware and the Dakotas are way into heavy bro-rock from the ’00s (Hinder dominates South Dakota, Stone Sour takes North Dakota).

But most surprising are the number of smallish, cultish and mostly unknown bands that made the list: Ginger Kwan (Arkansas), Bonobo (California), J Boog (Hawaii), August Alsina (MIssissippi) and Hillsong United (South Carolina).

The list is a great time killer and offers plenty of opportunities for finger-pointing at states that aren’t fortunate enough to have a legend like Springsteen or Neil Young represent them. Plus, it gives us another reason to be thankful we don’t live in West Virginia.

UPDATE: The author of the map has clarified and updated his findings. You can find the new info here.

Next: 10 Popular Songs With Terribly Inappropriate Lyrics

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