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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nickelback: Huge in Brazil

Google Music Trends says "Far Away" by Nickelback is #3 in Brazil, which confirms their hugeness, given that they make it inside the top 5 in the US, too.

A glance at different countries shows a lot of predictably popular music making it into the top 20, with the regional card influencing things in a lot of countries (The Killers get a bump in the UK, Billy Talent gets much-deserved recognition in Canada).

But Nickelback seem borderless. Perhaps it's the monosyllabic lyrics and uncomplicated rehash of 80's power ballads? Or did they just play in Brazil? I'm not motivated to find out.

Actually, the country-by-country data are fascinating... showing, without even getting into the tail, how independent-minded listeners are becoming. Far from homogenized culture in an era of globalization, we're seeing listening habits growing more self-directed. Australia's hit list looks like its very own thing. In India and elsewhere, they've decided to let James Blunt hang around for a long time. And what's up with the Mexican obsession with Diana Krall?

No entry for Kazakhstan... yet.

How does Google know this stuff? They record your music habits should you choose to "share your current music track" with friends on your Google Talk list. The FAQ says "you'll be voting on Google Music Trends" when you "opt in," but having just downloaded Google Talk to a fresh new computer, I can confirm that what they really mean is: "when you don't opt out."

These hits are fun to eyeball, but the long tail data must be driving them wild over at the Googleplex. Sorry Amazon and iTunes, but Google will soon have more than enough data about music listening trends... cross-referenced with IP addresses and other demographic info, of course... without really even trying.

Anil Dash believes the Google Talk methodology is completely unreliable. Perhaps, for now - but depending on the scale, it's gotta be somewhat telling.

Danny, Battelle, et al., do I see the next few years' worth of sessions on "search engines and privacy" taking the debate to the next level?

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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