Machine Shop: Hype Machine Team Blog

Hype Machine 2009 User Survey Results

Our annual user survey went over really well this year. Over 2600 of you responded and we gave away some great prizes. Below are some highlights, but check out our demographics page for the full stats and charts.

Our audience

  • 51% are 18 to 24 years old
  • 35% are in college, 30% are college grads
  • 69% are male
  • 73% spend money on concert tickets
  • 46% spend money on MP3s
  • 30% spend $21-$40 per month on music
  • 31% spend $41+ or more
  • 61% attend 1-2 concerts every month!
  • 20% are music bloggers
  • 20% are DJs
  • 24% are musicians

For the first time we asked a series of questions to better understand how and why you use The Hype Machine. Thanks to Dave Stanton at Eikos Data for helping us interpret this data!

Cluster A (52% of total respondents)
Males who use music sites to:
1. Find new music in familiar genres
2. Find music before it’s popular
3. Find music they don’t already know

Cluster B (21% of total respondents)
Females who use music sites in the same ways as Cluster A plus:
4. Find bands recommended by word of mouth

Cluster C (27% of total respondents)
These are male and females have even, heavy reliance on the above four uses plus:
6. Want to see what people are saying about music
7. Share music

How would you describe The Hype Machine to a friend?

  • Great place to find music by artists you haven’t heard of yet
  • the most awesomest awesome music site on the Internet
  • Love in a jukebox on the internet
  • The collective consciousness of the online music world.
  • This website has psychic abilities, it knows which tracks are going to be hits before anyone else…and its easy to use.
  • The Hype Machine is the most user-friendly MP3 blog aggregator and a fantastic tool for both bloggers and fans.
  • A fine place to find new songs for an ambitious music taste.
  • A place where you’ll always find what you never knew you’d like.
  • The best thing the internet has ever seen, not counting porn.
  • Omy freak leak loop amazingness you gotsta check out this whip snippy doodle doo music site I found. It goes by the name The Hype Machine, and they have uber huge no splooge amounts of brain tuck duck muck fuckingly spec music. Check it out, if not for the sake of friendship, at the least to braingasm spasm love happiness yourself into audible epiphany!
  • Eclectic and eye opening.
  • Imagine Google Reader as a playlist. Now imagine it comes ready with all the best music blogs you don’t even know exist.
  • Way more fun than watching your itunes visualizer after snorting Columbian nose candy.
  • If you’re into music, there’s no way you can miss this.
  • HM = real time information about the music you like and will like

Connect your Hype Machine account to Twitter and Last.FM

Some of the benefits of having a Hype Machine user account are cool new ways to share the music you discover.

Connect your account to Twitter and the machine will auto-tweet your favorite songs. Connect to and you’ll be able to keep track of everything you listen to on your profile! Here’s how:

step1 Step 1: After you are logged in, hover over My Profile, then click on Settings.

Step 2: Click the External Services tab and sign in to your Twitter or account. We use OAuth for authentication, so you do not need to enter a password. Do make sure you’ve checked the “Enable” box for each service you want to use, and click Save.

Step 3: You’re done! The Hype Machine will now automatically post tracks you’ve loved to Twitter, and track songs you’ve listened to on your profile.

The Interactive Twitter Music Chart

We’ve been frustrated by a few things about music charts recently.  One is the issue of chart integrity, the lines between manipulation & engagement and how to keep such a system honest while rewarding the right people.  Another is the terrible quality of most music services powered by Twitter.

Most of them have serious problems.  Some don’t reveal the methods or sources in which they’ve gathered their data, just publishing the chart and hoping people would buy it.  That prevents the web at large from auditing and finding errors in their methods and work.

Others don’t tell us anything new and don’t account for the social and interactive nature of Twitter, lumping it all together as ‘activity’.  So we end up with U2 as the top artist (or Michael Jackson, for the foreseeable future). Finally, the remaining set of tools just implements a file sharing layer on top of Twitter, then allowing others to search for uploaded media.

Given all this, we did what we usually do when there is music/web stuff out there that sucks: we built our own!

Check it out here: Twitter Music Chart

How does it work?
We monitor Twitter for links pointing to tracks on the Hype Machine.  We then give each of those tweets a number of points based on the number of followers (and the ratio of friends & followers) that person has. Finally, we add up all the points and figure out which tracks are tweeted by either the most influential twitter users, or by the largest group.  Simple.

Just tweet a link to any track on the Hype Machine and it will alter that track’s position in the chart. You can also check your Twitter score on the page to see how many points your tweet would add.  Try it!

How is this chart different?
Our interactive Twitter music chart addresses the problems we discussed above.  It’s easy to audit as you can see how many points were added by what users and when.  It also accounts for the social nature of Twitter by carefully weighing more influential users vs. groups of less influential users.  Finally, it presents an easily digestible overview of what’s going on in an interactive way. We welcome everyone tweaking and changing the chart with their tweets – that’s the point!

How is the Twitter user score determined?
We use a formula designed to spotlight tracks tweeted by influential Twitter users as well as those tweeted by groups of people overall.  Here is the actual formula:

round(( 1/3 * (twitter_followers / 10) ^ 0.5 ) * (twitter_followers / twitter_friends) * 10))

The follower/friends ratio in this case has a floor of 0.25 and a ceiling of 3.0 to limit certain extremes.  We really like the results we’ve been seeing with this approach, but we also know there are many serious math geeks out there.  If you have comments on creating a better formula that would better capture the different kind of tweeting activity, let’s chat.

Oh yeah, and one last thing: @hypem will now tweet whenever a new artist or track makes it to the top of any of our popular ranks, so follow us to stay in the loop.

Would love to know what you think!

More on Integrity and Promotion

In just over a week, our post, “On Chart Integrity,” has attracted a ton of attention from bloggers, artists, and magazines.  I am excited that we could start such a conversation about music, marketing, and integrity on the web.

To move it in a new direction we’ve removed the list of artists in the earlier post.  Even though we’ve made it clear that it was impossible for us to identify the people creating the accounts & favoriting the content (nor was it possible to determine the relationship that those people have with the artists), it was still tempting for some readers to jump to conclusions.

Discussing such conclusions distracted us from the real question. Neil Cartwright, who works with Master Shortie, refocused the conversation by asking: What is the difference between hype & promotion, when is it marketing or manipulation and where is the balance?

Judging by the responses we’ve received to our earlier post, there are many answers to this question, some of which we seriously disagree with.  We think the answer is simple: make great music and do the right thing.  Work with people who will do the same.

Quality is hyperefficient, so much of the marketing will happen on its own.  The rest will be about getting your amazing music out there in a way that’s consistent with you and how you work.

Where is that line for you? What is promotion and what’s manipulation?


Hype Machine indexes hundreds of music sites and collects their latest posts for easy streaming and discovery. We're here to help you find the best new music first.

Read more about the projectContact us