In 2010, almost 40 percent of the top albums in the All Songs Considered listener poll came from bands based in just three cities in the world. Nineteen of them came from New York, another eleven from London, and nine more from L.A. Beyond that, nothing made the list from Eastern Europe, Asia or Africa, and only a single Australian record (Tame Impala) made the cut.
This is a noticeable change from previous years. Take a look at this Google map from 2010.
Now look at 2009.
Before going any further, I should probably mention a few points of clarification.
Pink = 1 - 10
Yellow = 11 - 25
Blue = 26 - 50
Purple = 51 - 75
Green = 76 - 100
1) I tried to place artists in the city in which they're based, regardless of where they were born or where their band formed. The data was initially gathered from the Wikipedia entry for an artist's "origin," but adjustments were made if the person or band relocated. Those that could be contentious were noted on the individual map entry. (Click on each point for the album/location information.)
2) In the case of collaborations, I used the first person on the list.
3) The map is color-coded according to ranking, and the key is listed above.
Another thing I noticed is that, while in the last three years there were notable clusters in certain places and open spaces in others, 2008 showed a more even distribution, and included far more bands from the South and outside the U.S.
In 2009, albums from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia made the list. In 2008, there wasn't quite as much diversity, but bands from Brazil, Australia and New Zealand were still all represented. This year, listeners picked music that was by far the least geographically diverse of the last three years.
But what about that big gaping hole in the middle of the country? It’s getting bigger...
I can't for a second believe that good music isn't coming out of any of these places. So who are they? What musicians in those many blank states made great music in 2010 that our listeners missed?
And are there regional differences in music anymore? Do you prefer music from certain parts of the country over others?
Does where you're from or grew up have an effect on your musical taste/preferences? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.