How your iTunes predicts your politics

An analysis of data suggests that music preference may be closely correlated with your political leanings. Yes, if you're a Pink Floyd fan, you must be a Republican.

More for the Strait-laced Republican? GeorgeStrait.com Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I am not entirely convinced about life's alleged correlations.

Just as beautiful people can be entirely unsexy, so too those who shop at Ann Taylor can be very, very wonderful indeed.

Yet some highly intuitive brains are insisting that there is a clear and meaningful link between the music you hold on your iPod, iPhone, or Gramophone cabinet and the political views you hold in your head.

A blog post by Brian Whitman at The Echo Nest offers correlations so startling that I am concerned someone might accuse me of being a Republican for listening to Pink Floyd.

Yes, despite the fact that last year the son of Floyd lead David Gilmour was locked up for rioting against the U.K. government, if you listen to Dad's music you are likely a righty.

On the other hand, if Rihanna is your thing, then you are almost certainly of a more Democratic persuasion.

The Echo Nest is a music intelligence company and Whitman used the anonymized data built within the Nest's twigs in order to find alignments.

Whitman claims that there is "a lot of math and magic" involved here. Which is a relief.

He admits it was harder to find direct musical affiliation with Democrats, far easier with Republicans. His data tells him that the latter listen to a narrower range of musical genres.

"Overall, for every 10 unique musical types Democrats listen to, Republicans listen to just 7," he says.

Perhaps you ought to receive the following information prostrate and with a cold compress on your forehead. However, it appears that the artists most correlated with Republicans are, in order:

Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson, Pink Floyd and that hearty old Republican, Elvis.

I feel sure that some will see a stunning preponderance of country music here. Can it possibly be that songs about Jesus taking the wheel, all one's exes living in Texas and living like you were dying are only embraced by Republicans?

For those born this Democrat way? LadyGaga.com Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Let's move to the Democratic crotchets and quavers. The list is rather different. Again, in order:

Rihanna, Jay-Z, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Usher, Eminem and that hardened anti-pot campaigner, Bob Marley.

Perhaps the first observation some might make is that far more of these artists like to dress up strangely, expose themselves in public and use frightfully risque words and phrases in their songs. Like "a different lover is not a sin." Or "Hoes be coming to my flat so I can tap that ass."

No, that last one wasn't Jason Aldean, it was Snoop Dogg.

Of course there is no way of knowing if, across a greater sample size, such results would be repeated. And they do only include those who expressed some sort of political preference in their profiles.

However, should you wish to maintain a guarded neutrality when revealing your musical tastes, Whitman helpfully created of list of artists who didn't seem to correlate with either party.

No. 1 on that list were the Beatles. Yes, it seems that universally loved music can transcend politics. However, No. 2 on the list surely reveals that the human core is a highly complex thing. For it is Marilyn Manson.

The full list of the politically catholic artists was:

The Beatles, Marilyn Manson, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash (yes, there is politically neutral country), Pantera (yes, there is politically neutral bad taste), Alice in Chains, Paradise Lost, Moonspell, Fleetwood Mac, Tiamat.

If you're into metal, perhaps you need to shake your head violently far more than you need to be of one political persuasion or another.

Now that this information is out, I feel sure that many will rush to edit their musical collections. Otherwise, when their new lovers come to know them, they may get entirely the wrong idea.

 

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