Music to my geographical ears!
I’m coming up to a four year anniversary. When I started it, I didn’t think it would take up so many evenings. I didn’t think I’d learn so much. I didn’t think the journey would still be ongoing. I am, of course, talking about my ‘Music Map’.
For those who have followed or explored my site, may have noticed my interactive map regarding music artists and the geography of music artists. A brief description of this project is to map where music artists, bands or solo artists have ‘originated’, forming a geographical database which can be used to display and analyse densities and patterns of musical artists and genres.
It can tell stories of growths of genres over time and space, which areas seem to have a strong musical history of success and underachievement. I have discussed in the past, in “Artists Who Love Maps” how while music doesn’t need geography, it definitely influences it.
At the time of writing, despite some lulls in activity, I’ve managed to map almost 2,100 different artists around the world based on my criteria (please see FAQs). I also have a new, exciting new mapping tool to release as well, called Music Map – Search. As you can see below (or for a full screen version click here), instead of just panning and exploring (in the rebranded – Music Map – Explore), you can filter and search by the artist you want to find in the left hand section. Also included is a fancy looking heatmap.
Many a music map
Doing a quick google and you can see a music map is nothing new, and there are some awesome ones out there. We have the non-spatial music maps and infographics such as music-map.com which allows you to search for an artist and then it will map you to other artists who are ‘nearest’ in still. There’s also musicmap.info which provides a map of music genealogy and how different genres are related to each other.
There’s more traditional maps too linked to music, with ones linked to place names mentioned in songs (see Music-Mapped), and those which contain both this and music venues, trivia and festivals, like ST&G Great British Music Map. Even music behemoths Spotify got in on the act with a map produced with Carto, showing playlists of cities around the world of the most played songs by users there.
But I was still yet to find an accurate, interactive, comprehensive music map of where music artists originate from. Something with a large database of music artists mapped and one someone from a town, city, neighbourhood could explore and have pride in the musical history from their area. There have been some beautiful artistic maps which do follow this thread – I particularly love this interactive one called the New York Music Map. It’s informative and gorgeous, and you can have a print made if you so wish.
There’s also this similar, cleverly made infographic map from VisuallyMoney of the UK. However, dig deeper and it’s lacking clarity, and objectiveness (admittedly not easy to do with such a subjective subject as music!) For example, the world famous Ed Sheeran is made to look like he comes from East Riding of Yorkshire. There’s two issues with this – first he was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire; secondly he spent most of his life growing up in Framlingham in Suffolk. This is a subject of his song ‘Castle on the Hill’ (god I’m starting to sound like a fan!) This map from James Chapman is my personal favourite, as well as this one via twitter below, which is notable for meeting style with great accuracy.
— We Are Buzzin (@wearebuzzin_) February 20, 2018
But for all this mapping brilliance, it wasn’t what I was looking for, and next time I will talk about how I took on the task of contributing my own music map.