July 28th, 2009


Women Aren't Cool?

Just strolling round the net before heading off to teach, and I came across this on the Coolness Index:

It may be too hard to tell whether an artist is cool, but we have all sorts of ways to tell that an artist is definitely not cool. For instance, if lots of listeners really don’t want people to know that they are listening to a particular artist, then that artist is probably not too cool. Luckily, there’s an interesting source for just this kind of data. Recently, the researchers at Last.fm published a list of the ‘most unwanted scrobbles‘. This is a list of tracks that were most frequently deleted by the Last.fm community from their scrobbles in the last month. These are the tracks that Last.fm listeners didn’t want people to know that the listened to. Here’s the first page of the most unwanted scrobbles:

1. Lady GaGa – Poker Face
2. Britney Spears – Womanizer
3. Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl
4. Lady GaGa – Just Dance
5. Britney Spears – Circus
6. Britney Spears – Piece of Me
7. Rihanna – Disturbia
8. Paramore – Misery Business
9. Lady GaGa – Paparazzi
10. Lady GaGa – LoveGame

Kudos to Last.fm for publishing this data. It’s a great source for the uncool. Collecting all the artists from the pages we can build a list of artists that have frequently had their scrobbles deleted:

Lady GaGa
Britney Spears
Katy Perry
Taylor Swift
Avril Lavigne
Marc Seales, composer. New Stories. Ernie Watts, saxophone
Alexander Rybak
Black Eyed Peas
Kings of Leon
My Chemical Romance
Linkin Park
Miley Cyrus
Jason Mraz
Metro Station
Leona Lewis
Green Day
Amy Whinehouse
Nelly Furtado

This list rings true as set of ‘uncool’ artists (with the exception Marc Seales, who happens to have a piece of music, called ‘Highway Blues’, that can be found in most ‘Sample Music’ folders on most Windows XP computers, and is likely frequently scrobbled because of this). Ideally this list should be normalized for popularity – naturally artists that have more listeners will be scrobbled more and consequently be deleted more too. but there’s not enough data in this list to normalize properly so we’ll make do with an unnormalize list. I find it interesting how many female acts are on the list. Is it not cool to listen to female artists?