Top 10 festivals to find the fastest growing stars of 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012
by graham
filed under Trends and Data and Design
Comments: 9 can already recommend the most compatible festivals based on your current music taste, but what about discovering new music? We decided to use a bit of 10% time* to see if listening data could be used to recommend the best festivals for seeing the future stars of summer 2012.

If you want to see a bigger version of this image, click it or click here.

Omar started by looking at new artists playing in festivals this summer to see which have a high “hype score”. Hype is our measurement of how fast an artist’s audience is growing over a short period of time. Then Omar looked at historical data for all festivals over the last few years to see how many artists had become successful (i.e. grew in audience) directly following the festival. This gave us a ranking of how influencial festivals were in growing new artists. We pulled out the top 10 for our infographic, and then highligthed the artists with the most hype.

As we tend to call artists that have big audiences “stars” I thought I would use stars in my infographic (I find these dazzling leaps of lateral thinking exhausting). The hype scores would be represented as the brightness of the star. However, when I tried to convert the hype scores into percentages to scale the circles in my infographic, some were massive and other came out microscopic. So I called Omar over and he said “ah yes, skewed distrubution. Just use log or square root”.


It must be strange for Omar to be working so closely with an idiot. A short math lesson later and I had a nice range of percentages to play with (and I felt a bit smarter, almost ready for my own PHD ;).

* staffers are given 10% of their time to work on self-driven projects, providing the work is related to music data (I have been told off for spending too much time working on a diorama of Jabba’s palace for my Star Wars figures)


  1. Tecfan
    29 May, 10:18

    Interesting! One comment though, Alt-J (△) is now redirected to simply Alt-J on, so maybe fix that in the image? :P

    love this project Omar.

    Tecfan – 29 May, 10:18
  2. John Power
    29 May, 11:48

    interesting idea, always fun and useful to indulge in a spot of number crunching

    only thing i would say is if you really want to check on ‘new’ or ‘rising’ stars then it’s probably worth removing from the equation the many acts on that infographic who have been around for years and years and in several cases released lots of albums.

    John Power – 29 May, 11:48
  3. Kimiko
    29 May, 15:11

    Why are the stars at the Summer Sonic festival in Japan so tiny compared to the other festivals? Do they just happen to be in a less popular genre, or is it because Japanese artist & listeners are in general underrepresented at

    Kimiko – 29 May, 15:11
  4. Omar
    31 May, 13:59

    Tecfan: glad you like it!

    John Power / Kimiko: there are a number of things we considered to determine the best festivals. Hype is one (both long- and short-term), as is overall popularity.

    So while most score highly due to new and/or hyped artists, some have done well due to having a simply stonking great lineup. That’s why some old names are in there, and why Summer Sonic made it into the rankings.

    In terms of visualisation, we decided to focus on the artists that are hyping.

    Hope that clears it up for you,


    Omar – 31 May, 13:59
  5. sean
    31 May, 14:39

    very interesting, good job Omar!

    sean – 31 May, 14:39
  6. Thomas
    1 June, 20:03

    Please, what do you use to make those fantastic images? I’m a music researcher by trade, but can only make lists of stats and crummy Office suite graphics. Please please, tell me a book to read or some starting reference point.


    Thomas – 1 June, 20:03
  7. Graham
    7 June, 16:25

    Thomas: Thanks very much. I mainly used Adobe Photoshop, using circle vector shapes for the stars. The swirly “nebula” lines in the background were done in Adobe Illustrator using the blend path tool.

    Graham – 7 June, 16:25
  8. Psychic
    11 June, 11:47

    I agree with Thomas these images are beautiful. There some really nice design working going on over there are Last.Fm HQ! Keep it up guys!

    Psychic – 11 June, 11:47
  9. Graham
    12 June, 12:17

    Thanks very much Psychic, and Thomas ;)

    Graham – 12 June, 12:17

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