If you check out Spotify’s Nashville Top 100 playlist, you’ll find Elliot Root, an alternative band led by frontman Scott Krueger in the top spot.
"Doesn't mean he's getting more plays again, than anyone in Nashville, but you could say he's the 'Nashvillist' artist right now,” said Eliot Van Buskirk, Data Storyteller and editor with Spotify.
The online streaming service has started compiling playlists for cities across the world. They’re meant to identify songs that are distinctive to those towns.
Here’s how its done: let’s say a superstar like Miranda Lambert gets 500,000 listens on Spotify in Nashville but that number represents only a small portion of her worldwide listens. The band Elliot Root, on the other hand, may have only a fraction of Miranda numbers, but the majority of that group’s listeners are here.
“The way it’s all set up is to only show you what people listen to in a city and they don’t listen to anywhere else,” said Van Buskirk.
As a result the list features a lot of local bands and deeper cuts from albums by more well-known artists like Kacey Musgraves and Jason Isbell.
In Memphis, the playlist skews toward hip-hop and rap while Knoxville is mainly country, with a splash of alternative.
Nashville has a good mix of everything. Well, almost.
Dan Keen, who teaches music publishing at Belmont, says he notices one genre that is underrepresented: Christian music.
“We are the world’s center of Christian music here,” said Keen. “We’re not satellite offices from some office in New York or LA. Christian music is centered here”.
Nashville’s Spotify playlist isn’t completely void of Christian artists. There’s Erica Campbell and her mix of gospel and hip-hop at number 86. A bit higher on the list: the gospel-inspired soul of Leon Bridges.
1. Punks & Poets, Elliot Root
2. Chemical Sweat, Elliot Root
3. High Roller, Sugar & The Hi Lows
4. Young and Golden, Smooth Hound Smith
5. Lil’ Homie, Don Trip
6. Eviction Notice, Don Trip
7. Waiting Room, Don Trip
8. Great Divide, Kacey Musgraves
9. Fine, Kacey Musgraves
10. Good Ol’ Boys Club, Kacey Musgraves
*as of July 31st (Spotify updates the list twice per month)