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What's Michigan's favorite music? Spotify reveals some clues

Jul 14, 2015

Ann Arbor listens to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers more than other cities, according to data from Spotify.
Credit Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 

That's according to data from Spotify, where programmers have made playlists based on music "distinctive" to different cities. Overall, people tend to listen to the same stuff--Uptown Funk is just as popular in California as it is here--but filter out the big hits and you start to hear local differences.

What Spotify has done is list the tracks that, for example, Detroiters listen to more than anyone else.

And what do Detroiters listen to more than anyone else? Detroit hip hop, obviously.  Other metro Detroit cities have similar tastes-- local rapper Eastside Peezy's "Feeling I Get" topped lists in Ypsilanti, Sterling Heights, Warren and Adrian.

Travel west across the state and music preferences change pretty quickly. Grand Rapids' "distinctive" taste is maybe not all that distinctive, with big names like Keith Urban and Sam Hunt filling the playlist.

The outlier in Michigan seems to be Ann Arbor, with a playlist that favors local acts like Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and the University-of-Michigan-born funk group Vulfpeck (but nothing off of their silent album.)

Vulfpeck's Jack Stratton said Ann Arbor's unique list falls in line with its unique music scene. He said it's a small enough place that bands from different genres are all considered part of the same scene, whereas in New York or LA they'd probably never cross paths.

Joe Hertler of the Rainbow Seekers said he's found Michiganders to be supportive of local artists.

"People want to connect with artists that represent them," he said. "I feel at home here. This is my community and I feel embraced by the community."

- Paula Friedrich, Michigan Radio Newsroom