first, a whole lot of good stuff has been written about why only 12% of responses were from women and why that’s a problem. (rachel maddux, lindsay zoladz, theremixbaby). but i’m more interested in talking about what i saw as a fundamental flaw in this list and lots of other lists - it asked people to describe their music preferences rather than reporting their music listening habits.
for example. i would be pretty unlikely to list a britney spears album in a list of “greatest albums of whatever time period,” for a variety of reasons. rockism/indie-rockism, lady-based blowback for liking “silly” pop songs, my own insecurities as to whether britney is serious enough to include on such a list. but last.fm shows that brit is my #1 listened-to artists. however i would like to describe my musical preferences, whatever picture of myself i’m trying to create with a carefully curated list, britney is what i listen to the most.
the reverse situtation - tori amos would certainly have made it onto any list of favorites or best or most awesome or coolest or superlatives that i ever created, because she is amazing (or at least was up until about 1999, that’s another discussion). but last.fm shows that she’s only 16th on my top artists list, and i’ve listened to her about a third as often as i listen to britney. in fact, i can’t remember the last time i listened to a tori song - something off of from the choirgirl hotel might be in a mix i play sometimes, but nothing off little earthquakes or BfP in perhaps years, because they break my heart.
i think there’s value in those superlative lists, i think tori amos is important to me and i value her even though i don’t listen to her very often, but i think there’s a lot of those lists floating around and the aggregate of people’s carefully-crafted self-presentation through curated lists isn’t something that interests me all that much. (i refuse to believe very many people are regularly cruising around listening to radiohead’s kid a.) i think there’s much less focus or discussion of what people actually listen to on a day to day basis - that’s why the music week diaries fascinate me so much.
so it’d be great if someone could get a gender-balanced (and, as a number have pointed out, race-balanced) sample of folks together and figure out what they’re acually listening to and report that.
(my last.fm, if you want my details, is here.)