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Playlist Analysis (For Listeners)

Compare My Radio gives listeners a way to search the playlists of 20 U.K. stations to see which is playing their favorite artists most often.

Like it or not, data is a big part of modern radio. Music is researched and tested; PPM offers minute-by-minute audience reactions. Now, Golden Square Labs is giving listeners a way to find the station that plays their favorite artists.

Compare My Radio, which opened in beta last week, tracks now-playing data from 20 stations across the United Kingdom. Listeners can search for artists or specific tracks and see which stations have played what how frequently. A “variety gauge” for each station helps visualize the ratio of total tracks to unique tracks played over the past 30 days (week or fortnight comparisons can also be made). It’s also possible to compare two stations directly in terms of total tracks played, overlap in playlists and most-played tracks.

For example, a Beyoncé fan can quickly see that 11 stations have played 17 of her tracks over the past 30 day with a total of 1,837 tracks played. Choice FM and Capitol FM are the top two players of Beyoncé, but they only have a 40% overlap in their playlist. So a Beyoncé fan who also likes Lady GaGa and La Roux might find more music they like more often on Capital FM, while those who like to intersperse Beyoncé with Jay-Z and Keri Hilson might want to choose Choice FM.

A Frightened Rabbit fan, on the other hand, has slimmer pickings with only eight track-plays over the past 30 days — hopefully when the new single drops next month that’ll increase — six on NME Radio vs. two on BBC Radio 6.

The stations tracked have an aggregate audience of more than 27 million, about 53% of the U.K. population, according to the RAJAR second quarter of 2009 audience report.

It’s an interesting way to breakdown playlists and is likely to cause a few users to reëvaluate their station choices as they look more closely at who plays who and how often. Of course, even Compare My Radio helps a listener see if one station plays a greater variety of favorite artists or tracks, its playlist analysis can’t account for how often a presenter talks (or how entertaining, engaging or annoying he or she is).