Influential musical cities…

Is Liverpool the Mecca of music? Is Nashville, Tennessee really where music’s born? Richer Unsigned takes a close look at the most influential bands, to find out which towns produce the most important music for today’s new bands.

We have taken recent charts, published by top sources, to create a “super list” of the most influential bands today. The Guardian, NME, MOJO and Planet Rock have all published their own lists. We gave points to each band in the list, to determine a total score, based on results from all four charts.

It is easy to say, “without doubt, the most important band ever are The Beatles, and that any list without them at the top is clearly rubbish.” We understand this initial scepticism, however bare in mind these lists are designed to show bands that are important today. It’s easy to see their importance to bands following the Fab Four, however are they as important today as they (undoubtedly) once were? Which bands are having the biggest influence on current music?

Most Influential Musical Artists

1)        David Bowie

2)        Radiohead                              230

3)        The White Stripes

4)        The Velvet Underground

5)        Bob Dylan                              181

6)        Black Sabbath

=7)      Kraftwerk

=7)      Led Zeppelin

=7)      Nirvana

10)      Nick Cave

The overall most influential artist on today’s bands is David Bowie. With 25 albums stretching back 47 years, it’s difficult to argue with the quality of his back catalogue.

There doesn’t appear to be a specific genre running through the top 10. What does appear to be a very important factor is the quality of the songwriting. Even though trends in music change often, what seems to last the test of time is producing a quality song, with thoughtful lyrics and solid musical composition.

When plotting the location of these 147 bands, we can see patterns occurring. Certain cities and states, such as Massachusetts and Washington, Sheffield and Manchester, have a strong output stretching over many years, and more interestingly, not in any specific genre of music. These cities, along with the big hitters of London, California and New York, show that musical culture seems to run deep. The success of a band does not pivot around where they come from, but the evidence does indicate that certain areas are more likely to produce important bands. This study does not guarantee the relevance of all bands from these areas. What it does show, however, that there is something special about these places; whether it’s a vibrant live scene, a hub of musical journalism to give movements exposure, or a certain importance that’s placed on music in these areas, and allows it to evolve.

The chart by country:

1) USA – 4826

2) UK – 3504

3) Australia – 293

4) Ireland – 167

5) Germany – 160

6) Canada – 126

7) Iceland – 110

8) Jamaica – 104

9) Sweden – 68

10) Senegal – 56

11) New Zealand – 46

12) Denmark – 4