Statistics on My Music: The 2014 Update

Each year I appraise my music listening habits based on previous year's using the Last.fm Scrobbling service. For interest, I have been doing this since 2010 (though the 2010 post is broken now). for the respective years, click the links below:

2011 - 2012 - 2013 

Once again thanks to Last.fm.

And so, 2014.

The past twelve months have been quite the journey. I've started doing a radio show for one, I am now a dad, and since the last update I've gotten married as well, which shows you how far back this goes. 2014 has been a bit of a landmark year to be perfectly honest, and the listening habits have actually not changed too much since last years update.

I still have a phone that actually scrobbles, Google Music, Spotify and iTunes all scrobble each play I make, and a bit change is that I found a plug-in for Chrome that scrobbles pretty much every music site I can listen to stuff on, including Google Music, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and even Youtube, so that'll help the stats. In fact, this past 12 (okay, actually 13) months might be the first ever where almost every single play has been scrobbled. Pretty neat.

When I started these posts back in 2011 I had a total of 50894 plays. In 2012 this had increased to 65214, and then last year I hit 79244. At the time of writing this I have managed 92089 plays (at 09.51am, 13th September 2014) which means that an increase of 12845 plays, which is actually down year on year, with each year between being around 15000 plays. That's odd isn't it considering that I think that I've been recording almost every play this year?

Well the thing is that has only been the case since around March when I discovered the plug in. Before, almost all my listening at work, which is done trhough Google Play Music, was being lost into the ether. So there's a lot of plays that will have just been vanishing. The numbers aren't why you're hear though, so let's do this:

Top Ten Artists of All Time

  1. Boards of Canada - 3479 (EQUAL) +869 plays
  2. Belle and Sebastian - 1706 (EQUAL) +82 plays
  3. The Walkmen - 1503 (EQUAL) +36 plays
  4. The Twilight Sad - 1324 (EQUAL) +90 plays
  5. Idlewild - 1300 (EQUAL) +88 plays
  6. Interpol - 1260 (EQUAL) +48 plays
  7. Wild Beasts - 1251 (NEW ENTRY) 
  8. Mogwai - 1188 (DOWN) +102 plays
  9. Elbow - 1143 (UP) +182 plays
  10. Radiohead - 1055 (DOWN) +64 plays

So, that makes for not very interested reading, at first glance does it? Oh look, Mark's played Boards of Canada a lot, what a surprise. But there's a story in that chart. See, I've maintained that the top ten overall is not that important because... well, it doesn't change much. And over the years it hasn't really. Back in 2011 nine of the ten artists were in the list that are there in 2014, so my musical tastes must have barely changed right? Well, that's the thing - look at the number of plays the rest of the top ten got excluding Boards of Canada and Wild Beasts (the only new entry) - a total of 682 plays, which is only 5% of the total plays I have made in the past twelve months. 

What that means is that Wild Beasts are the only artist to make a change, whilst the rest really didn't move. Boards of Canada had a total of 6.7% of the plays this year alone, and the other eight artists managed only 5% together? That's a big shift. A big change. 

The headline grabbing news is that fucking finally The Smiths have dropped off the top ten list. It has taken years - I noted in 2013 that they had only been played a total of 68 times in four years, not played once since 2013 (still on 1042 plays) and they're still sitting just outside the top ten in eleventh place ahead of Deftones. 

Top Ten Albums of All Time

  1. Boards of Canada - Geogaddi 741
  2. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest 644
  3. Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children 605
  4. The Walkmen - You & Me 529
  5. The xx - xx 496
  6. The Phantom Band - The Wants 483
  7. Wild Beasts - Smother 430
  8. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank 402
  9. The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead 355
  10. Errors - Have Some Faith in Magic 352

This list has no real meaning these days, as I've noted in the past, but it's worth noting the one-two-three by Boards of Canada. I however feel sorry for The Campfire Headphase, who misses out on the top ten, and sits at 12th with a paltry 344 plays.

So, on to the good stuff.

Top Ten Artists (from the last 12 months)

  1. Boards of Canada 871
  2. Hills West 390
  3. Wild Beasts 306
  4. Loscil 282
  5. Tycho 271
  6. Coldplay 249
  7. Liars 248
  8. The Antlers 234
  9. Manic Street Preachers 194
  10. Future Islands 193

As with every year, this is the list that makes the most impressive reading. This is a far more normal list, and actually features a range of artists that I might consider to be a more accurate picture of my musical taste, save for the weird positioning of Coldplay. Not entirely sure why they're there (unless they did a Snow Patrol and was left on over night at somepoint, a possibility). I did listen to the new album (which is shit) but that can't have been 250 or so times.

If I take Coldplay out it adds Tokyo Police Club, which I keep listening to this year as well.

As always, this list is influenced by new albums - this year saw new Wild Beasts, Antlers, Manic Street Preachers, Future Islands, Tokyo Police Club, Tycho and Liars (and Coldplay, of course), with only Boards, Hills West and Loscil appearing without releasing anything new. Hills West was a discovery of a rather rare artist who release a few albums and EPs several years ago. I hunted down links and downloads to the albums and EPs which were all released for free online, which made it fun and difficult to find but worth it. Hills West is probably one of my favourite artists this year, and if you can seek out Step into the Outside.

Top Ten Artists (from the last six months)

  1. Boards of Canada 427
  2. Hills West 398
  3. Loscil 244
  4. The Antlers 336
  5. Coldplay 217
  6. Future Islands 193
  7. Manic Street Preachers 163
  8. Tokyo Police Club 154
  9. Interpol 114
  10. The Phantom Band 109
  11. Dogs Die in Hot Cars 105

So, nothing really amazing there is there? I mean, unlike most years, my last six months reflects also exactly the same 12 month list, which is a bit of a difference. The majority are from new albums, which is probably why they appear. Additionally, Tokyo Police Club have a very very quick back catalogue (some albums lasting 30 minutes tops) which makes smashing through their run times very easy, especially when they are as addictive as TPC actually is. And their new album's fucking amazing.

I put this to eleven as well, hopping over the appearance of Coldplay, as it includes Dogs Die in Hot Cars, one of the bands what had only released one album as great... BUT it turned out they did release a second album - 17 tracks of an album titled Dogs Die In Hot Cars Are Making Pop Nonsense which were released online to let fans remix them. The final project was never formally completed, but the tracks are solid, so I made a ten track album of the "best" songs and then a seven track EP of the rest, and I've played it a lot since.

Wrap Up

Um... this year's a bit boring isnt' it? I mean, the shuffling at the top hasn't changed too much, not as much as I was expecting either, but there is something hidden in the lower reaches of the charts that you can't see.

If you drop into outside the top 20, more eclectic artists start appearing - Tim Hecker, Errors, Tycho. Give them a few more years and they might have displaced the mighty top ten finally.