Fandoms and their musical tastes & trends

January 23rd, 2009 by sidewinder Leave a reply »

So, I have recently fallen in crazy love with Last.Fm. Not only is it a great service for discovering new music, but also tracking my own listening habits, and now, I see, for examining fandom trends and looking at what connections there may be between certain anime, media fandoms and bandoms. This is possible as Last.fm allows users to create “groups” of any kind, and statistics will show what are the weekly top artists for that group.

So what are some popular musical artists within certain large fandom groups right now?

Let’s first look at Twilight. There are currently over 1,200 members of the Last.Fm Twilight group, and their Top 10 artists currently are:

1. Paramore
2. Muse
3. Linkin Park
4. Carter Burwell
5. Katy Perry
6. Coldplay
7. Britney Spears
8. The Black Ghosts
9. Iron & Wine
10. Blue Foundation

Not surprisingly, 7 of those 10 artists have material on the Twilight soundtrack cd, explaining their popularity.

Looking next at Harry Potter, which has a Last.Fm group of over 1,500 members and a fanbase with some similarities in age and makeup to Twilight, we discover some close similarities in musical taste:

1. Coldplay
2. Muse
3. Paramore
4. The Killers
5. The Beatles
6. Britney Spears
7. Linkin Park
8. Katy Perry
9. Radiohead
10. Fall Out Boy

6 of the Harry Potter Top 10 are the same as for Twilight, including artists such as Britney Spears and Katy Perry, not on the Twilight soundtrack but popular performers within the teenage/20-something age group. How exactly The Beatles and Radiohead fit in I’m not sure, unless they reflect some of the wider age-range and fannish make-up of Harry Potter fandom? I’ll be curious to keep comparing the data on these two fan groups in future weeks.

Let’s also look at Naruto, a popular anime which also has a large (1,400+ members) Last.Fm group. Here’s their current Top 10:

1. Linkin Park
2. System of a Down
3. Metallica
4. Muse
5. Coldplay
6. Toshiro Masuda (Naruto soundtrack composer)
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. The Killers
8. Rammstein
10. Nightwish

Again we see some familiar names, such as Linkin Park, Muse, Coldplay and The Killers, but there are also some more metal and hard rock acts such as Metallica, System of a Down and Rammstein. So is there a connection between Naruto and metal fandom? I’m curious to know! Has a lot of metal been used in Naruto songvids? Can anyone explain this more?

Finally, let’s look at the Top 10 artists this week for an older fandom: Star Trek. The Star Trek Last.Fm group is smaller than the others we’ve looked at so far–about 350 members, and the Top 10 artists are quite different from the other groups looked at so far:

1. The Beatles
2. Nine Inch Nails
3. U2
4. Pink Floyd
5. The Cure
6. Depeche Mode
7. Radiohead
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. The Rolling Stones
10. David Bowie

The skew is certainly towards much older musical acts from the 60s & 70s (Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowie…), 80s & 90s (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, U2, The Cure…) Musical tastes for the fandom match quite closely with the time periods when Star Trek itself was perhaps at its most popular. Though there are The Beatles and Radiohead again. Maybe they’re just popular all across fandom? Will the release of the upcoming Star Trek movie bring in a younger fanbase and skew the musical taste of the group more towards currently popular acts?

Anyway, such are the things I find interesting to look at on Last.Fm currently, and what it may or may not say about the connections between different fandom communities.

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  • Hey I have been a user of last.fm from quite a long time but have never observed it so closely like this, you really have a very sharp mind, I admire you for this.

    dave

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