University of Toronto study shows Austinites prefer rock ‘n’ roll

Zach Lozano

“The Live Music Capital of the World” is a title that has belonged to Austin for many years, and a recent study has proven the city is a good start-up location for aspiring musicians in several genres.

Graduate student researchers at the University of Toronto recently conducted a study in which they used Myspace as a way to analyze which genres of music were more popular in certain parts of the country. Austin was included in the study, along with other major U.S. cities, such as Houston, Atlanta, Ga., Memphis, Tenn. and New Orleans, La.

The data indicated that the trending genres in the Austin music scene were folk, country pop and most significantly, rock ‘n’ roll.

In order to determine which genre was popular in a certain city, the researchers from Toronto used five levels of comparison with the help of an algorithm used in another study — which was completed by researchers at The University of Chicago — to analyze music trends. 

“Overall we found that rock ‘n’ roll was the most popular genre across all metros followed by urban contemporary,” said University of Toronto graduate research assistant Garrett T. Morgan. “With the remaining genres composing the remaining share of the market.”

The study showed that many regional stereotypes remained true, Morgan said. The Northwest preferred rock, while southern cities preferred country pop. Large cities like New York and Los Angeles had diverse tastes in music.

“Overall the data shows that Austin’s music scene is centered on folk, rock ’n’ roll, and country pop,” Morgan said. “Reinforcing the city’s reputation as a destination for aspiring musicians keen on breaking into the diverse country music scene.”

However, certain locals feel the study does not accurately reflect the music scene in Austin.

“The categorization misses blues and indie, which are obviously two popular genres in Austin,” said Joah Spearman, vice chair of the Austin Music Commission. “Austin isn’t really limited by genre. Compared to most markets outside of maybe New York or LA, [Austin] has shown itself to have a great ear for talent regardless of genre.”