There are many cities in the United States that are known for their music. Cities like Nashville, Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans have played a major part in the musical history and development of this country. But what is the most musical city? Which city has spawned the most musical artists? To answer this question I used the soon-to-be-released artist location data from The Echo Nest artist API. I gathered up the top 50,000 or so U.S. artists, found their city of origin and tallied the number of artists per city. From this tally I calculated the number of artists per 1,000 inhabitants in each city. The more artists per 1000 inhabitants, the more musical the city.
Using the artists per 1k inhabitants, we can easily find the top 25 most musical cities in the United States:
|#||Artists per 1,000 inhabitants||Artists||Population||City|
|1||3.14||111||35355||Beverly Hills, CA|
|2||2.26||1651||732072||San Francisco, CA|
|11||1.24||4789||3877129||Los Angeles, CA|
|12||1.22||15||12314||Muscle Shoals, AL|
|16||1.05||50||47529||Chapel Hill, NC|
I find the results to be pretty interesting. Beverly Hills, the tiny city at the heart of the entertainment world is #1. San Francisco is the most musical of all large cities, followed closely by Nashville. Among, the most musical of small cities is Muscle Shoals AL which, according to Wikipedia, is famous for its contributions to American popular music. Less musical than expected are New Orleans (rank 36), NYC (rank 37), Detroit (rank 52).
Among the least musical cities in the U.S. are my hometown (Manchester NH), with only one artist in the top 50,000 U.S. based artist for the 100K inhabitants. The least musical large city in the U.S. is Kansas City KS, with only 7 top-50k artists for their nearly half million inhabitants. Luckily Kansas City residents can drive a few miles to Kansas city Missouri (with its 194 musicians for its 442k inhabitants) when they get tired of their own seven artists.
You can see the full list of cities with population greater than 5,000 ordered by their musicality here: The Most Musical Cities in the United States. I’d love to do this for all the cities in the world, but I can’t find a good source of city population data for world cities. If you know of one let me know.
I’m rather exited about this upcoming release of artist location data in our API. It will open the doors for a whole bunch of interesting applications, such as road trip playlisters that play music by artists local to the city you are near, contextual playlisters that will favor artists from your home town, or music exploration apps that will let you explore music from a particular region of the world. I can’t wait to see what people build with this data. Stay tuned, I’ll post when the API is released.