A new paper presented by Clique Research Cluster suggests that Atlanta, Montreal and …Oslo are the most influential music cities today, helping shape our listening habits.

Writes The Independent in its presentation of the findings of Irish network scientists Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham of the Clique Research Cluste who analyzed the listening habits of Last.fm users:

- The taste-making hipsters of Manchester and New York are in for a shock. The cities with the greatest influence over the music world's listening habits are actually Atlanta and Oslo, a study shows.

The assumption that traditional musical hotbeds like Manchester produce groundbreaking sounds adopted by the rest of the world is challenged by mathematical analysis by Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham, of the Clique Research Cluster in Dublin.

Their paper, The Geographic Flow of Music, submitted to the Physics arXiv online scientific forum, posits Atlanta, centre of a hugely influential rap/R'n'B scene, and Oslo, home of 80s pop stars A-Ha, as the centres of the music world.’

The Washington Post has also picked up on the story:
- What’s surprising, the authors note, is that the largest cities aren’t always the most influential adopters of new music (or snubbers of stale music). New York and Los Angeles don’t appear to have nearly as much influence over listening trends as, say, Montreal, even though those areas are presumably home to many more local bands and musical groups. What’s more, some cities you’d expect to be fairly similar — like Portland and San Francisco — don’t appear to influence each other very much in the network.

- The researchers, by the way, analyzed the music data by “adapt[ing] a method previously used to detect the leadership networks present in flocks of birds.”

Download the Clique Research Cluster paper here.

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