14 Jan 2016

Hello Kaiapoi! London's your musical twin, says Shazam survey

12:07 pm on 14 January 2016

Beyonce is big in Sudan, Leo Sayer is popular in Peru, and it turns out that the people searching online for music in London have musical tastes most in common with ... Kaiapoi.

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Adele's Hello was apparently unfamiliar to millions. Photo: AFP/FILE

Those are the surprising results of a project looking into the music people search for on their phones.

The data was provided by Shazam - a company that helps its 100 million users to identify any song they hear by playing an excerpt on their phone.

Overall, Adele's Hello was the most-searched for song globally.

The track made it into Shazam's top 10 in 2,578 cities last November - more than half of the 4,900 locations sampled.

Perhaps as a result, Lionel Richie's track of the same name was also being looked up in Angola and Iran.

The BBC used the data to discover musical "twin towns" - far-flung places with similar tastes in pop.

The data vividly illustrates the global influence of Western pop - with people in Bangladesh, China, Kazakhstan and Peru searching for artists like Meghan Trainor, Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Drake.

The data also throws up a few bizarre anomalies. Why was Leo Sayer's More Than I Can Say the most sought-after song in Cerro de Pasco last November? How to explain the surge in interest in Aaron Copland's 1944 Orchestral suite Appalachian Spring amongst the citizens of Waycross, Georgia?

And why are so many people unable to identify Adele's Hello?

Not only do Kaiapoi residents share the musical tastes of Londoners, so do Wellingtonians.

Aucklanders have most in common with the citizens of the Belgian city of Ghent, favouring Be Right There by Diplo and Sleepy Tom, Sugar by Robin Schulz, and Higher Place by Dimiti Vegas.

The musical tastes of Christchurch and Dunedin have most in common with Cardiff.