Using geocoded data from YouTube, the New York Times released 50 heat maps on Monday that it says illustrate “the contours of music fandom and culture in the United States.”
To save your eyes an onslaught of Pepto-Bismol and pinot noir-colored maps, we dissected each to see what they illustrated about Philly and its suburbs. Keep in mind, the Times only looked at the top 50 artists on the Billboard Top 100 this spring who were the most watched on YouTube. (And note that YouTube users are also a younger-skewing sample to begin with.)
Popular in Philadelphia but not the surrounding suburbs were Future, Beyonce, Drake, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, J. Cole, DJ Khaled and Philly-based rapper Lil Uzi Vert, who was also very popular in South Jersey and Delaware. Michael Jackson made Philly’s list, too, even though he’s been dead for eight years and hadn’t put out a new video long before that.
The vibe was different in Philly’s suburbs, where artists like Justin Timberlake, Sia, Ed Sheeran, and Ariana Grande were most popular, as were the bands 21 Pilots and the Chainsmokers. In an unexpected twist, Coldplay seems to be extremely popular in Delaware County, but nowhere else in the region.
Aside from the Coldplay outlier, the maps held few surprises. Pop was more popular in the suburbs, hip hop and rap more popular in the city.
Not popular in either Philly or its suburbs were Justin Bieber, the Weeknd, Adele, Panic! at the Disco, Lady GaGa, and Luke Bryan. Other artists like Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, Lil Yachty, and K-Pop band BTS ran pretty middle-of-the-road in Southeastern Pennsylvania.