Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto

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Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto

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Data can be an interesting and eye opening thing.

I decided to cut and paste some sections of my ITunes library into Google Docs and create a data set from Artist Track, Genre and Plays.

  1. sort tracks by PLAY COUNT
  2. remove TIME, BITRATE, DATE ADDED and TRACK NO columns
  3. scroll down to the bottom of the tracks with “2” plays
  4. select every song with 2+ plays
  5. CTRL+C
  6. open a blank spreadsheet (I use Google Docs) and CTRL-V into the top left corner of the page
  7. the Itunes data appear in the Spreadsheet

Obviously this data is immediately out of date, so I am looking now into turning this into a live feed. As a PC user ITunes stats is not an option.

Points to Note

  • I often listen to Spotify instead of Itunes at home
  • I only listen to Itunes when I am working – this does not take into account Ipod plays, or CD listening in car
  • genre categorizations on Itunes can be questionable

So the first chart:

I’m not sure what I find more interesting – that metal is SUCH a tiny category (smaller than Country, worryingly) or that I seem to really like pop. I will investigate this further. Ok – a quick tweak to the options (colour to genre and label to ARTIST) showed that, phew, Ive not turned into a pop-loving indie kid just yet. It’s just that someone thinks Celldweller (industrial drum n bass noise) is alternative (see for yourself). (See, mislabelling , very deceiving)


  • Find a way to make my Itunes data public, feed this into a live chart.
  • Create a flash animation using one of these charts, with shooty out bits that play music from that artist or genre …
  • Stop messing around with data for today and make some tea.

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Caroline Beavon

A communication professional with 12 years journalism experience and a genuine passion for new technologies. An experienced blogger and social media user



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April 8, 2010at 4:59 pm

[…] Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto […]


March 18, 2010at 9:25 pm

Thanks for this, Paul.

Yes, there is a problem with classification, I’ll try that link out.

This is definitely a work in progress, and I’d love it to be live in some way.

In fact, I’m generally having a bit of a problem with pulling live data into a chart as I’m using ManyEyes, which you upload your data into. I think I need to find something that takes data from a live source and updates accordingly.

Not bad for a start though! I’m now onto Venn Diagram generators.

Paul Bradshaw

March 18, 2010at 9:17 pm

And like a true stratistician you’re looking at the problem of classification… I’d be really interested to see how the picture might change if you used Last.fm’s classification of artists (which is based on a user-driven folksonomy rather than iTunes/Gracenote’s taxonomy).
This might be worth trying too: http://manufacturedenvironments.com/2008/04/organizing-itunes-simplify-your-genre-list/

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