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Exploring London's Music Scene with Numbers

DevRW Mon Sep 28th

Last week's Forest City London Music Awards was a big hit. If there was one thing that it showed us is that, London is known for its rich and varied music scene. Being the nerd that I am I decided to explore the music scene through numbers. After some digging around with a music api and data wrangling (see methods), I was quite pleased to see what showed up. Scroll below to take a look yourself!

Make Some Noise!

Looking at the loudness scale, the Forest City's diversity of music is evident. London is home to bands like Kavara (Death Metal), Heart Attack Kids (Punk), and Single Mothers (Punk Rock) who routinely peak the levels but, one can also get the smooth kinds of Westminster Park, Carly Thomas, and Yessica Wohneil.

London's Least Favourite Scale?

For some reason, London bands seem to stay away from the key of D# when composing their songs. While I haven't looked into whether this is common across Canadian/North-American music genres, if anyone has an explaination do let me know please!

Simple vs Complex

After looking at the above plot of keys I was curious how many keys do artists usually use when composing a song? Below is a chart that depicts the number of keys that each artist most commonly used in their songs. While most artist prefer to stick to 3 or 4 keys in a song, techno artist Jesney and alt-rock Whoop-Szo tend to change it up quite a lot. On the other end of the spectrum, some artists like the hugely successful Texas King, prefer to use just 2 keys usually . Indeed, simplicity is key.


To acquire the data, I used Spotify's API that labels tracks with metrics such as loudness, key, and tempo. These metrics are based on Spotify's algorithmic analysis of the individual track and may be subject to some error. I then cleaned up the data and used relevant slices of it using Python. Finally, for visualization, I used the D3 Javascript library. Visit here for the full source code.