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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Wisdom From Neil Young Fans: Confessions of a Data Geek

Neil Young Fans Demographics
Male, Married, Middle Aged

OK. So we admit it.

We're just a data geek.

On occasion, folks will ask us "So Thrasher. What's the deal with you and this whole thing about Neil Young?"

Well, we've attempted to answer this over the years (see here, here, here, here, or here), but really as much as we love Neil and music, we love data almost as much.

And with data comes wisdom.

And here's some wisdom on Neil Young fans. These graphs and analysis are based on data compiled on Wisdom, which is a social intelligence application for Facebook.

So, here's some insights on Neil Young fans followed by some observations on the implications of how this data is compiled and used by corporations and government.

Neil Young Fans Favorite Music
Bob Dylan, Beatles, Johnny Cash

Neil Young Fans Favorite Albums
Grateful Dead, The Band, Dylan

Neil Young Fans Favorite Authors
Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, Noam Chomsky

Neil Young Fans Favorite Books
On The Road, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Shakey

Neil Young Fans Favorite Movies
Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather

Neil Young Fans Favorite Comedians
Lewis Black, Lenny Bruce, Kids in the Hall

OK, so what's point of all these random data points. Why does this matter?

Well, from a Neil Young fans perspective knowing that other Neil fans like Bob Dylan isn't exactly earth shattering news. Or that Neil fans tend to be Male, Married, and Middle Aged isn't too surprising.

Or Neil fans like authors Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, and Noam Chomsky?

Obviously from a marketing standpoint, these are highly important insights in order to target your audience in order to raise product awareness, maximize advertising campaigns effectiveness and generate revenue.

From our blog's perspective, these monetization goals are rather meaningless. It's kinda interesting and mainly just confirms a lot of suspicions over the years without hard data. The correlation between Neil Young and Bob Dylan fans has long been a firm belief but it's nice to finally confirm that the facts support our thesis.

Lastly -- and really this is the point here -- many folks are quite oblivious to the amount of information that is gathered about them constantly. Data that is crunched, analyzed, bought, sold and profited upon.

Would anyone have imagined that we would ever know what Neil Young fans religious preferences would ever be quantified?

Neil Young Fans Religion
Church of the SubGenius, Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism

The concept of privacy know longer exists. Just a quaint little memory.

People's behavior and thinking has been reduced to discrete data points.

Who said numbers add up to nothing?

Finally, if The Powers That Be know everything about you -- what you buy, what you do, what you like -- then they know how you think.

And with these powerful demographic and psychographic insights into the population, future behavior can be predicted...

... and controlled.

And that, our friends, is just so Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Good night Winston.
Good morning Big Brother.


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At 1/17/2012 06:19:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

hmmmm,inneresting..oh to be a data geek! lol

At 1/17/2012 08:37:00 AM, Blogger Powderfinger said...

Geez, I don't fit into a single one of those data points. Should I doubt my love of Neil?

Not going to....

At 1/17/2012 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Birds of a feather that flock together? Safety in numbers?
It certainly explains the love all you have for Crazy Horse.

But what is the benefit for gathering information about religious "preference" for Buddhism? How much weight can we put into "preference" over "practice." People are more likely to buy stuff with buddhism symbols and sentiments?

It sounds like collecting information can be inconsequential, too. It's like gathering information from people while they're on "vacation" at a destination where they're most likely to congregate.

Not much information there except for lot of superficiality and speculation. I'm with you Thrasher, it's fun to look at but not much there to go on except what is the most obvious.

Anyone experiencing unusual weather conditions today?

At 1/17/2012 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Whoooahhh! Powderfinger, come back here. What do you mean you don't fit into any of the data points? You're at least in a few of the demographics like gender, age, relationship, or philosophical preferences, no?

I'm also surprised to see that "Philadelphia" or "Dead Man" aren't among the movies listed among Neil fans.

At 1/17/2012 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I also do not fit very well into this data. Don't know what that means, but I kind of like the idea that I'm a harder target for Big Brother. Although as Thrasher says, there's no real escape, they know exactly who I am- just not through 'ole Neil.

A Friend Of Yours (but not of theirs)

At 1/17/2012 12:01:00 PM, Anonymous crazyhorse said...

Wow i cant believe how spot on some of this data was,first off i am from liverpool england and my favourate ever band is the beatles
my favourate solo artist is john lennon just ahead of the mighty neil young,very very close indeed!
then comes the man in black the one and only johnny cash who i love to bits,i also grew up loving pink floyd who remain one of the greatest bands and one of the greatest bands i have seen live,close live just behind is david bowie who i also saw in the early 1990s in liverpool,and of course anyone worth their salt loves bob dylan,one band not in this list is a irish/scotish band call the waterboys the singer mike scott is a unknown legend to many people and i really reconmend you
check this band out if you like folk rock,also i forgot to mention i am a 44 yr old male.

At 1/17/2012 12:14:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

I happened to see the Waterboys when they were in town long ago.

"Fisherman Blues" is one song that I will never forget, it's a great song.

At 1/17/2012 12:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did see the Waterboys opening for Neil in 2008... yep.
But having said that I am not a Neil Young fan according to this post... although I do like the fact that the Big Lebowsky is on the list.... BSM

At 1/17/2012 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

I saw them in NYC in 1990.

At 1/17/2012 01:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People my age
They don't do the things I do
They go somehwere*

At 1/17/2012 02:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone have any info on these releases American Stars 'n' Bars, Comes A Time, Zuma and On The Beach
All seem to have a release date of January 24th 2012. Second phase of Original Release Series?

At 1/17/2012 02:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only in Canada?
I don't know but I was thinking abut this recently....
Where's Archives Guy when you need him?
Really have to talk to him. Hope he hasn't been fired by Neil after the Treasure Leaks. Things are going just a little bit too far with Neil on vinyl nowadays. Maybe Archives Guy is the one who has to do the remastering of Everybody's Rockin. Too bad if that's true. Neil is just writing a book.... that's okay.

At 1/17/2012 06:38:00 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I love a bit of data myself.
It seems based on these statistics that the only remaining stat is that over 90% of Neil fans must be over 55 (based on their taste in other artists, writers, books and films). LOL

Bukowski rules BTW.


At 1/17/2012 07:05:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Wow, fascinating. I'm particularly surprised at the religions... though I suppose I shouldn't be.

It's interesting to think that this kind of incorporeal data can be so incredibly harmful to civilization.

It is like a really cool window into... something... however, and lots of fun to look at.

At 1/17/2012 08:29:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

LPs are between $3 & $10 at flea markets and second-hand stores. There is absolutely no reason to pay $42 for "Stars & Bars" or "On The Beach." That's crazy. Most of the records I find are in excellent condition & play beautifully.

At 1/17/2012 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Untitled I said...

Mathematically, the religion section of the statistics can't be accurate. About 75% of America is still predominately Christian, and the fact that Jedi was on the list and Christianity wasn't just seems like a result of someone having a beef with certain religions. I know plenty of Neil Young fans who are Christian.

Not really necessary, but I am an existentialist.

At 1/17/2012 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Untitled I - good point.

This might not have been clear but these rankings are based on "affinity", ie the attachment of Neil fans vs. the average facebook user.

So that's not to see that lots of Neil fans are Christian or Muslim or whatever, but that there's a lower correlation.

Kinda surprised no one's saying what the heck is Church of SubGenius?!

At 1/17/2012 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you're a female Neil fan?

At 1/18/2012 09:33:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Anonymous said...
"What if you're a female Neil fan?"

Well, women are certainly welcome and 31% of audience. If you're curious for more insights like what are female Neil fans favorite book, anyone can access the Wisdom app with a FB account.

Let us know if you see anything interesting.

At 1/18/2012 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

It looks like 30% of Thrasher's friends on Facebook are female according to Wisdom. So? Guess what, I'm not Thrasher's FB friend!

To track gender "attitudes and preferences" for Neil's music specifically, a little more digging is required using psychographic research.

"Wisdom" is nothing more than a device to track "potential" interests in products. It's a joke! For example, people can be interested in something but that doesn't mean they're going to buy it. They may be visiting out of curiosity or not have the economic means to purchase it. Results here are purely speculative.

Another example; people demonstrating an interest in Jack Kerouac by "liking" the FB page does not mean anything. Again, results are entirely speculative.

At 1/18/2012 09:38:00 AM, Blogger TomCrac said...

Numbers do add up to nuthin' ... Try as they might, you still can't fit people in to neat and tidy little packets of data. Looking good on paper and real life can be worlds apart. Collect away.

At 1/18/2012 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Tom, I disagree. Numbers do add up to something if it's done correctly. Afterall, in life one and one don't make two, it makes one.

At 1/18/2012 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

LOl Thrasher, do YOU notice anything in particular?

How about Serge Gainsbourg?

At 1/18/2012 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@MNOTR - Your points are well taken. That said, marketers, etc, do take take this stuff quite seriously. If you use FB, ever notice how well targeted all those ads seem to be? It can be downright eerie so this data is being heavily exploited.

Now maybe some advertiser is wasting their ad $$$'s trying to sell you a Chevy Tahoe pickup truck, but hey.

So people demonstrating an interest in Jack Kerouac by "liking" the FB page does mean something to someone.

Can't say we ever heard of Serge Gainsbourg?? So we did some googlin' and came up with:
Serge Gainsbourg was the dirty old man of popular music; a French singer/songwriter and provocateur notorious for his voracious appetite for alcohol, cigarettes, and women, his scandalous, taboo-shattering output made him a legend in Europe but only a cult figure in America, where his lone hit "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" stalled on the pop charts -- fittingly enough -- at number 69.

Neil fans?!
So who says #'s add up to nothin'?!

At 1/18/2012 12:28:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

I think "Serge Gainsbourg" implies many of your fans are from Eurozone or France b/c I doubt many Americans ever heard of him.

I say you get what you pay for when it comes to cheap marketing ploys. And most of the advertising directed my way on FB is way off base. Just like the guy who assumed I wanted a red car because I was wearing a red leather coat.

At 1/18/2012 09:25:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Interesting list of Favorite Albums, with two Stooges classics in a virtual tie...Neil fans split evenly between Team Ron and Team James. Wonder what's the Beta Coefficient for Fun House?

Thanks for sharing this cool information...sorry I mean data!

At 1/19/2012 07:36:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

Think I'll roll another number

At 1/19/2012 11:37:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

LOL, Sony. The only REAL number that ever added up to something?

But don't color by numbers. Or that's what I found in this little ditty Neil wrote. I think we know a few of the "Johnny" types that Neil is writing about. Not a knock here on Vietnam Vets. Just a few that we keep in our prayers everyday that they'll find one more thing to live for each day they wake up.

Here's the song, "Color by Numbers" by Neil Young (or maybe an imposter)

Someone wants to blow up the planet
Johnny wants to find out why
Johnny did a show in St. Louis
Love came through the sky.

Oh yeah, they were camped out,
Waiting for the sun to rise
Oh yeah, Johnny sang out
Love into the sky.

Johnny found a place out in Texas
Waiting for him to come
Made himself a reservation
And hope came, in the gun.

Oh yeah, he was flying,
Waiting for the sun to rise
Oh yeah, color by numbers
Waiting for the sun to rise.

Johnny did some time in the army
Johnny did a stint in Vietnam.
Now he can't forget it,
His mind is confused,
slipping from his twisted hand.

Oh yeah, he's still back there
With one hand on the gun
Oh yeah, he's still back there
Waiting for the rising sun.

Now Johnny
likes to go down the highway
The wind singing in his ears
Right up as
most things go whirring by
By day everything looks clear.

Oh yeah, Johnny ride on
Gonna find a special home
Oh yeah, down the highway
Looking for the rising sun.

At 1/19/2012 04:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MNOTR - what album is 'Color by Numbers' from?

At 1/19/2012 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Uh....How did you get that information??

At 1/20/2012 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Sandy- happy new year! Fair question. Its from a FB app called Wisdom. Really shouldnt read too much into. The data has lots of problems. Check it out and run some queries.

At 1/22/2012 05:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill hicks!! Bill hicks!


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