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Life & Arts

Study Names Austin’s Most Popular Music Genre


A study from Canada has reaffirmed Austin's reputation as a scene for aspiring musicians. But they should be sure to play an acoustic guitar.

The study, which was released early this month from researchers at The Martin Prosperity Institute in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in Canada, used data garnered from Myspace to create music profiles of different cities across the United States. Austin was one of the fifteen cities examined in the study. 

In order to determine different genre popularity, the study examined the number of bands each genre had, the number of plays bands in different genres received, the number of views a band's page got, and the number of fans each band received.

The study got this data from Myspace, which gets more attention now for its music profiles than its social media platform.

The data for Austin is a little conflicting. Rock bands are the most common kind of bands in Austin, making up 30 percent of Austin's acts. Folk bands, meanwhile, make up only seven percent of the bands in Austin, but folk was named the city's most popular genre. This is because the folk bands received a much higher percentage of the number of plays and views than rock bands did.  

The study defined folk music as acoustic, bluegrass, Hawaiian, Mexican, classic Japanese and Celtic music. 

The study also noted Austin for its country pop popularity and musical diversity.

Of the fourteen other cities the study looked at, Houston was the only other Texas city. Compared to Austin, Houston has a much weaker folk music scene and an equally strong country pop music scene.  "The popularity of Country music in Houston, confirms that general assumption that Texas is a traditional center for the genre," the study said. Here are the other cities the study looked at, along with the cities most popular music genre:

  • Atlanta: urban contemporary
  • Boston: rock 
  • Chicago: rock
  • Detroit: rock
  • Houston: rock
  • Los Angeles: rock
  • Memphis: country pop
  • Nashville: country pop
  • New Orleans: urban contemporary
  • New York: urban contemporary
  • Philadelphia: rock
  • Portland: rock
  • Seattle: rock
  • Washington D.C.: rock

Rock was the most popular genre in the United States.  
While the study came out this past month, the data used in the study was downloaded from Myspace in January 2007, during Myspace's heyday. Today, Myspace has 25 million users, much lower compared to Facebook's billion-plus users.

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