What Spotify's "Musical Map" Says About Texas

Spotify has become arguably the world's top music-streaming service in a relatively short amount of time, but it also feels more and more like a number-crunching game. In its never-ending quest to do something with the terrabytes of data we users feed it on a daily basis (not to mention eat up hours of our workday), its latest timesuck is a “Musical Map” that claims to reveal the most popular songs specific to each city at any given time, updated twice a month. That means it analyzes all the listening data from each place — according to Spotify, that's approximately 20 billion user/song interactions in all — and then filters out all the Ed Sheerans and Demi Lovatos and Weeknds and whoever else people are listening to everywhere. This could be the last gasp of regionalism in popular music...maybe.

It would be more useful if there were some way to know each city-specific song's position relative to the tunes that are popular everywhere (our guess is it's not terribly high), but at the very least plugging in different Texas cities is a great way to kill a couple of hours. For whatever reason Spotify hasn't gotten around to analyzing Houston yet (Katy, Humble and Spring will have to do; Corpus, Abilene and Amarillo aren't on there either.) But looking at these charts, certain patterns start to emerge. Mainly that if you are playing anything besides country, rap or norteño in Texas these days, you are pissing in the wind, my friends. Sorry, rockers.
Of course unofficial Austin mayor Bob Schneider would be at the top, but otherwise the Live Music Capitol is country strong — not all that unlike the rest of the provinces, really. Further Down: Sturgill Simpson, Shakey Graves, Leon Bridges.
Baby-faced country hunk William Clark Green has definitely connected with citizens in the North Texas ‘burb whose motto is “Where Connections Happen”; so do Dallas’ own La Energie Norteña and Chihuahuan counterparts La Reunion Norteña. Further Down: Stoney LaRue, Whiskey Myers.
“We Bleed Maroon” pretty much says it all, but Aggies have a taste for Huntsville singing cowboy Cody Johnson, too. Further Down: Kyle Park, Roger Creager, Mike Ryan.
Randy Rogers Band and Josh Abbott Band’s pair of sentimental Texas tunes keep Regional Mexican heavyweights from monopolizing the Top 10. Further Down: Z-Ro, SPM(!), Siggno.
EULESS Similar country/norteno duel as in Carrollton; then again, they’re only 20 miles apart. Further Down: La Mariquinaria Norteña, Laberinto, UGK.
Prophets and Outlaws is a Dallas-based “Texas soul” group; Dolly Shine a band of Texas-country rockers from nearby Stephenville. Further Down: Randy Rogers Band, George Strait, Casey Donahew Band.
One of Dallas’ easternmost suburbs (and Texas’ 12th largest city), Garland is pretty East Texas all right. Further Down: Whiskey Myers, Stoney LaRue, Cross Canadian Ragweed.
Nice to see some zydeco pop up, here courtesy of the Louisiana Blues Brothas. The Mo City Don obviously has his followers on Houston’s northeastern fringes, too. Further Down: Big Moe, Kevin Fowler, Kevin Gates.
Katy has a lot of honky-tonks. Further Down: Charlie Robison, Kyle Park, Maxo Kream.
This Denton County exurb has a soft spot for Boosie and Mr. Pookie, the North Dallas rapper best known for his 1999 LP Tha Rippla. Further Down: Laberinto, Dorrough Music, Los Pescadores Del Rio Conchos.
Austin-based Tejano star A.J. Castillo gets lots of Lubbock love, as do South Plains Red Dirt boys Seven Miles South and Zac Wilkerson. Further Down: Six Market Blvd., Dolly Shine, Cory Morrow.
Dallas powerhouses La Maquinaria Norteña join the party alongside Energie and Reunion, just ahead of some of some deadly-serious Dirty South rap. Further Down: Laberinto, Los Traileros del Norte, Beto Quintanilla.
Katy North, more or less. Further Down: Turnpike Troubadors, Pat Green, Eli Young Band.
Coahuila’s Grupo Massore (“cumbia con POWER!!”) nudges out a bunch of dudes in cowboy hats. Further Down: George Strait, Kyle Park, Mazz.
Such an even country/Houston rap split someone really ought to try chopping and screwing “Dance Her Home” or “Oh, Tonight.” Further Down: Roger Creager, Sauce Twinz, Aaron Watson.
Praise the Lord and pass the Josh Abbott Band. Further Down: Seryn, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, NEEDTOBREATHE.
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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray