Hellz yes, according to a new study by a couple of certified geeks (that's physics, not music) based in Ireland. Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham of Clique Research Cluster crunched "60 billion pieces of data" from music streaming site last.fm, according to Time. And they discovered that Atlanta's musical taste by and large sets the trends for mainstream music across the continent.
In North America, Atlanta was the leader in predicting overall music trends as well as hip-hop trends, while Montreal was the clear indie music frontrunner. (Sorry, Brooklyn.)
After analyzing last.fm playlists of the most listened-to artists across 200 cities since 2003, Lee and Cunningham submitted their findings to the online scientific forum Physics arXiv in a paper titled "The Geographic Flow of Music."
The results of this scientific study can be interpreted in one of two ways, depending on your personal taste: Either we're to blame for ALL the sucky mainstream music clogging the airwaves, or we're to thank for making mainstream music WAAAAY less sucky. It's probably a little bit of both, not to mention Atlanta's garnered a digital rep as one of the most-wired cities in the country, and Last.fm is a social media network . But I imagine our No. 1 ranking also has a little to do with our deep music industry inroads and the range of homegrown talent that's pipelined out of the city on the regular - from Sugarland and Zac Brown Band to Waka Flocka, B.o.B, Janelle Monáe, and the like.
Despite our thriving indie underbelly, Atlanta's long been identified with top 40 rap, pop, and other mainstream music. But the source of the study should also be considered. In other words, if streaming last.fm on your iPhone is your main source of music, you're probably not so indie as fuck after all. But at least we have something to hold our heads higher than New Yorkers, Angelenos, and Chicagoans about. Because as Crib Notes' commenter Zedsmith suggested last week, Atlantans never tire of overanalyzing our feelings of city inadequacy. Now we can say with pride that when it comes to airport traffic and social media-tracked musical taste, we're international baby.
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