New York Likes James Blake, Vermont Likes Phish: Favorite Artists Across the U.S.

February 26, 2014 | Andy Cush

On the map above, which shows the most distinctive artist in each of the 50 states listening preferences according to Spotify, there are a few surprises. What makes Ciara so popular in Nevada, for instance, and why is Delaware so hot on Rush? Of course, there are satisfyingly predictable states as well, from New Jersey’s Springsteen worship to Vermont’s love of all things Phish.

If you’re surprised at the diversity of artists on display, note that we’re looking at each state’s most distinctive musician, not most popular — that is, the artist with the biggest gap in popularity between that state and everywhere else in the country. Paul Lamere, who created the map, explains on his blog, using the Christian rock band Hillsong United as an example.

Hillsong United is the 97th most popular artist in Tennessee for our sample of listeners. In New England, Hillsong United drops all the way to the 1097th artist, a drop in rank of 1,000. Hillsong United is a Christian rock worship band. Tennessee listeners, living in the heart of the U.S. Bible Belt, listen to Hillsong United much more than their New England counterparts.

Whatever you think of your home state’s pick, just be glad you’re not living in the Dakotas, where beefcake radio rock dudes like Hinder and Stone Sour still rule.