December 12th, 2008 5:33 pm | by NILINA MASON-CAMPBELL Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns

Google Trends: Portland Music Edition

trendssss This week Google released its 2008 Year-End Google Zeitgeist, a list summerizing the year's most popular searches. In the matter of "Top Sources for Political News," Fox ranked number one in searches this year. Scary! Let's move on to fluffier stuff: Twilight was the third fastest rising image search term of the year, no doubt fueled mostly by newly minted heartthrob Robert Pattinson [or those pesky Twilight moms -Ed.]. Disney queen Miley Cyrus came in next on the list. In the matter of most popular searches prefaced with "who is..." 20-year-old rap sensation Dolla ranked at No. 6. I myself asked "Who is Dolla?," promptly googled him (no doubt adding to his ranking) and that is why I'm able to tell you he is a 20 year old rap sensation. He has a track with T-Pain. How come I'm only hearing about him now?

Moving along, I got inspired to have some fun with Google Trends in correlation with Portland music. Just who is searching them? What cities? I gathered up a dozen local acts and musicians and typed the names in the Google Trends search bar. These are the results:

The top cities googling Starfucker are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Brussels, Belgium
3. Berlin, Germany
4. Budapest, Hungary
5. Seattle, WA, USA

Google Trends: Starfucker

The top cities googling Stephen Malkmus are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. New York, NY, USA
3. Chicago, IL, USA
4. Seattle, WA, USA
5. Boston, MA, USA
6. Philadelphia, PA, USA

Google Trends: Stephen Malkmus

The top cities googling Beth Ditto are:
1. Manchester, United Kingdom
2. Poplar, United Kingdom
3. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
4. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
5. Thames Ditton, United Kingdom
6. Birmingham, United Kingdom

Google Trends: Beth Ditto

The top cities googling Dead Moon are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Oslo, Norway
3. Athens, Greece
4. Seattle, WA, USA
5. Melbourne, Australia

Google Trends: Dead Moon

The top cities googling Decemberists are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Seattle, WA, USA
3. Austin, TX, USA
4. Boston, MA, USA
5. Chicago, IL, USA
6. Philadelphia, PA, USA

Google Trends: Decemberists

The top cities googling Adrian Orange are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Los Angeles, CA, USA
4. New York, NY, USA
5. London, United Kingdom
6. Madrid, Spain

Google Trends: Adrian Orange

The top cities googling Shaky Hands are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Auckland, New Zealand
3. Seattle, WA, USA
4. San Francisco, CA, USA
5. Chicago, IL, USA
6. Toronto, Canada

Google Trends: Shaky Hands

The top cities googling Horse Feathers are:
1. Prague, Czech Republic
2. Portland, OR, USA
3. Tampa, FL, USA
4. Toronto, Canada
5. Seattle, WA, USA
6. Chicago, IL, USA

Google Trends: Horse Feathers

The top cities googling Blitzen Trapper are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Minneapolis, MN, USA
3. Seattle, WA, USA
4. Austin, TX, USA
5. New York, NY, USA
6. Washington, DC, USA

Google Trends: Blitzen Trapper

The top cities googling the Thermals are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Seattle, WA, USA
3. New York, NY, USA
4. Chicago, IL, USA
5. San Francisco, CA, USA
6. Philadelphia, PA, USA

Google Trends: the Thermals

The top cities googling Glass Candy are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Seattle, WA, USA
3. Irvine, CA, USA
4. San Francisco, CA, USA
5. Los Angeles, CA, USA
6. Chicago, IL, USA

Google Trends: Glass Candy

The top cities googling Floater are:
1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Seattle, WA, USA
3. New York, NY, USA
4. San Francisco, CA, USA
5. Toronto, Canada
6. Houston, TX, USA

Google Trends: Floater

How do we explain Prague besting PDX in the googling of Horse Feathers? Seriously, please enlighten me if you have the answer. I mean I know the band shares its name with a Marx Brothers film, but that doesn't strike me as overly Czech. And Beth Ditto. No American city even cracks the top 10 in her searches, let alone Portland. No wonder the trio never plays here. Number three on Starfucker's list gives me hope the group may have a David Hasselhoff-esque crossover in its future! Yes, please. Of course the reason Berlin searches "Starfucker" so much could be because of the Belgian group who share the same name or the Nine Inch Nails track "Starfuckers, Inc.," but wouldn't a career trajectory on par with the Baywatch star be so much more awesome?

On the other end of the spectrum, there were no results for the Builders and the Butchers, Super XX Man or Fist Fite. Faux-Frenchman Benoît Pioulard returned a list a single city long (New Yorkers love googling him).

For the image header at the top of this post I typed "Portland Music" into the trend bar. Apparently the search term has been on the decline since a high in 2004. What gives? Is Portland music just so much more accessible now that you need not search such a blanket statement? Troutdale and Beaverton are the top two cities to search it out. Read into that information what you will.

So what other Portland bands shall we feed into Google Trends? What results are you getting back? Is Portland still the top city to beat when it comes to our own resident musicians? And how about some of the more vulgar non-music search terms—why does Portland still rank high in some of those?

Google Trends
OhNoTheyDidn't (the site to initially bring my attention to this year's Google Zeitgeist and spark my curiosity about Dolla)

All photos by Nilina Mason-Campbell except Floater's, which is courtesy of the band
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