Every year I data-mine my music collection in hopes of discovering something new about my past and current tastes in music. In previous years I have limited this to my iTunes collection and the related meta-data. Last year1, I limited my investigation to music that I added to my library during those 365 days2. This year my horizons for data points have expanded dramatically—I started seriously using Last.fm’s scrobbling feature.
Thus, this will be my most comprehensive Music of the Year post to date. I will still include the statistics from my “Top Songs of 2014” iTunes playlist3, but will also focus far more on some of the new insights that Last.fm has given me to my listening habits.
It is important to note, before I begin, that only songs played in iTunes, Spotify, or on my iPhone are included in this data set. Songs played in Pandora (a service adore and I use far more heavily than Spotify) and YouTube are not present. Numbers are correct as of 21 November 2014
Basic statistics to begin with. According to Last.fm I have listened to 1895 unique tracks from 216 artists this year, clocking up more than 10,300 listens4. Of new5 music added to my iTunes library in 2014 I have listened to more than 1100 hours, which converts to more than 42 days of listening time.
Of these 216 artists, 29% (≈3000) of listens came from the top 10 artists, 53% (≈5400) of listens came from the top 25 artists, and 75% (≈7650) of listens came from the top 50 artists. Approximately 25% of the artists I listened to lie outside of the top 50 artists.
During 2014, I listened to tracks from 335 unique albums, 18% (≈1800) of listens came from the top 10 albums, 35% (≈3560) of listens came from the top 25 albums, and 55% (≈5600) of listens came from the top 50 albums. Approximately 45% of the albums I listened to lie outside of the top 50 albums.
So, what does this actually equate to? The top five artists from 2014, are actually six artists, thanks to two of the artists having the same play count6.
- Portugal. The Man
- Birds of Tokyo
Portugal. The Man is indubitably my 2014 Band of the Year. This Alaskan experimental-indie-rock band has won me over with not only more than one of their songs, but multiple of their albums. This is so much so, that I saw them live7 in November. For perspective, prior to half way through this year, I always called Powderfinger my favourite band, this is even though they haven’t featured in my top played artists since about 2011. Today, however, Portugal. The Man is my favourite band.
OneRepublic and Coldplay have always been favourites of mine, and again solidified their positions. I envisage that Portugal. The Man will join these bands at the top for many years to come.
Birds of Tokyo is my new Powderfinger. Well, not quite—nothing can replace Powderfinger 8, but in the sense that they’re my top Australian band. Birds of Tokyo are amazing, and again, they’re going to feature for a long time.
Lastly, Echosmith is new and could go either way. I thoroughly enjoyed their debut album, but their sophomore album will determine their position in my top artists of all time.
Interestingly, compared to last year, my top artists this year are far more ‘commercialised’. Last year all of my top artists were independent, this year not so much.
For albums, my top albums of 2014:
- Echosmith – Talking Dreams
- Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends
- OneRepublic – Native
- Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
- Matt & Kim – Grand
- The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You
- Portugal. The Man – In The Mountain, In The Cloud
- Birds of Tokyo – March Fires
- Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
- Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
It’s rather unsurprising that many of the top albums come from many of the top artists. The few standouts in the list are Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Matt & Kim’s Grand, The Naked and Famous’ Passive Me, Aggressive You and Band of Horses’ Everything All the Time.
Daft Punk are always a crowd favourite, similarly with Band of Horses. Matt & Kim’s “Daylight“ and ”Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare“ almost single-handly pulled Grand into the top list. And, with The Naked and Famous, songs like “Punching In A Dream”, “The Sun”, “The Ends” and “Girls Like You” have played on repeat all year.
Really, all we care about is my top songs from 2014. Below is a hybrid-merged-streamlined list of my top songs from 2014. It is compiled through a series of criteria and from both iTunes and Last.fm. The main criteria (not in order) are: play count; length of time in library; rating; and, skip count.
Top Songs of 2014
- Scott & Brendo – West Coast
- Coldplay - Lost
- Coldplay - Life In Technicolor ii
- Daft Punk – Lose Yourself to Dance (feat. Pharrell Williams)
- Echosmith – Cool Kids
- Matt & Kim – Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare
- JAY Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
- Phillip Phillips - Home
- Greg Laswell - Off I Go (2013 Remake)
- Jackie Onassis – Back Home Again (feat. Solo)
- Band of Horses – Our Swords
- Lupe Fiasco – Letting Go (feat. Sarah Green)
- Matt & Kim – Daylight
- Maroon 5 – Love Somebody
- Aloe Blacc – Politician
- Bon Iver – Holocene
- Miike Snow – Devil’s Work
- Family of the Year – Hero
- Daft Punk – Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)
- The Naked and Famous – The Source
- The xx – Reunion
- Jackie Onassis – Juliette
- Chet Faker – Melt (feat. Kilo Kish)
- Echosmith – March Into The Sun
- OneRepublic – Counting Stars
- Scott & Brendo – Avenue
- Portugal. The Man – Sea of Air
- Foster the People – Broken Jaw
- Radical Something – Tomorrow
- Scott & Brendo – Deep Blue
- Lupe Fiasco – The Show Goes On
- Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns
- Band of Horses – Wicked Gil
- Portugal. The Man – Modern Jesus
- John Legend – The Beginning…
- Miike Snow – In Search Of
- OneRepublic – Au Revoir
- Walk the Moon – Next in Line
- Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up
- Echosmith – Come With Me
- Echosmith – Surround You
- Yo La Tengo – I’ll Be Around
- Tweedy – Summer Noon
- The Black Keys – She’s Long Gone
- Frank Ocean – Pink Matter (feat. André 3000)
- Foster the People – Coming of Age
- Sam Smith – Stay with Me
- Cat Power – Could We
- fun. – Carry On
- Echosmith – Bright
- Tame Impala – Music To Walk Home By
- Walk the Moon – Anna Sun
- Portugal. The Man – Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)
- Birds of Tokyo – This Fire
- Aloe Blacc – The Man
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