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Statisticians Unveil ‘The Hipster Music Index’

Priceonominics Data Services, who provide data crawling and other services for companies, have compiled what they’ve dubbed ‘The Hipster Music Index.’ The price guide website decided to apply their data capabilities to quantifying just what makes a certain artist acceptable to hipsters.

The tongue-in-cheek project started with Priceonomics selecting two criteria to judge whether music could sit comfortably on the iPod of a chai-swilling graphic designer with an ironic moustache. The first criterion was, of course, how the music was regarded by music review website Pitchfork.

Despite being the go-to for any hipster looking to determine how cool their iTunes library is, “Pitchfork reviewers like a lot of mainstream music, however, so that’s not enough,” writes the Priceonomics blog. The second criterion was then that not many people should like the band.

Priceonomics determined that no music could truly be regarded as hipster music unless the artist could be used in the sentence, “My favorite band is X, you’ve probably never heard of them.” To measure obscurity, they looked at how many Facebook likes the Pitchfork review received.

The Priceonomics data team trawled through Pitchfork‘s “best new albums” section to analyse every album in the category, examining the score out of ten given to a band or artist’s latest album and then the number of Facebook shares the review received, and plotted them on a graph.

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Source: Priceonomics Data Services

The trend line slicing diagonally through the graph predicts how many likes an album would be expected to receive, given its critical acclaim. In layman’s terms, the further below the line a blue dot is, the more hipster the artist or band, while dots above the line are, like, too mainstream, you know?

While the model successfully separated critically acclaimed but mainstream bands like Arcade Fire and The National, from critically acclaimed but obscure bands like Fuck Buttons, the indices seem to be a little off, with artists like Drake and A$AP Rocky making their way into the hipster list.

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Source: Priceonomics Data Services

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Source: Priceonomics Data Services

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