Now Playing? The Most Played Music At The Discogs Offices

If you work for Discogs, you have to like music. More accurately, you have to live and breathe music. Even if this sounds like a cult requirement, this is true and we think it makes a lot of sense, given that all employees are exposed to music in the office at all times. Unsurprisingly, the music channel is one of the most active channels in the Discogs company chat. It is the place to play your latest finds, share your passions with your colleagues, show off your exquisite musical knowledge and preferences and (playfully!) mock your coworkers for their terrible taste.

But while the channel is interesting in the day to day, there was no way to get a historical overview of what music was getting played the most at Discogs offices. I thought it would be interesting to dig into this data so I parsed through 49.114 messages from our music channel, starting on March 2014 and ending on May 14th, 2019.

I found 3,306 messages about what people were playing or listening to at that given moment. For each of those messages, I called the Discogs API for the relevant release information and based on this data I compiled some statistics on that music, the results of which you can find below.

There’s a couple of caveats. There’s no standard to whether or how people announce what’s currently hitting their eardrums. Some of my colleagues are very good at telling their colleagues what they are playing in a standardized format, while others are terrible at announcing what they are playing at all. I also only included Discogs release or master links, so there’s no Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud or livestreams in there. But with those disclaimers out of the way, let’s dig into the data1.

Artists and labels

All in all 2,498 artists have been mentioned in the channel, with an average of 1,37 plays per artists, a fairly long tail distribution. Coming in at first place, with 96 plays we have the legendary various, but excluding that placeholder, below are the 27 artists that have received more than 5 plays (the number of plays is the number after the artist names):

An eclectic mix for sure, some jazz and rock classics along with newer more electronic fare. You can view the rest of the artists played (and all the other data) in this spreadsheet.

For labels, we’ve played releases on 964 of them, with an average of 1.66 plays per label. I think we get a bit of music nerd cred from the fact that Blue Note and Warp Records have been played more than any of the major labels. Here are the 33 labels that have received more than 5 plays:

Styles and Genres

Electronic and rock are by far the most played genres. Coming in close but with more than 4 times as many plays as Pop, Jazz, Funk/Soul and Hip Hop which are the next genres on the list.

For styles, we seem to like our music Experimental. We’re also into Ambient, Indie Rock, Downtempo and Techno.

Time keeps on slipping

We seem to play mostly new music, music from the 2010s features way more than any golden oldies:

And if we look at when we’ve played the most music, it seems to be ramping up all the time. This makes sense, there are more people working at Discogs and more and more communication on the music channel.

Broken down by month, we play noticeably more music in the months of October and November. I can’t think of why this is, happy to hear your theories about it!


Emoji reactions to messages feature on 1,378 of 3,306 music messages (around 42%). These are the top 10 most used emojis:

  1. ❤️ – 749
  2. 👍 – 327
  3. 👏 – 102
  4. 😍 – 75
  5. 👍🏾 – 66
  6. 👌 – 65
  7. – 62
  8. 💯 – 56
  9. 🔥 – 52
  10. 👍🏼 – 44

Again you can find the full list of most used emoji reactions in the data spreadsheet. I hope you enjoyed these findings and that you know more about the soundtrack to the Discogs office.2

  1. The message matching was simple, I looked for messages that contained links to Discogs releases and phrases like “now playing”, “now spinning”, “currently listening to” and so on (42 phrases in total). It is very likely that I missed some messages and got some false positives, but I think this is probably a representative sample none the less. The code I wrote is a mess that I’m too embarrassed to share, but do reach out if you want to hear about the details, I am happy to discuss further.  
  2. Photo credit Adrian Korte, Unsplash 

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1 Comment
  • Aug 24,2019 at 12:03

    Hi. First and foremost, a very impressive research! Of course there are always biaz in such work, but it seem to me its pretty far ok, of course, taken in to mind, that i dont know wich method used to collect the data. It s a couple of things I want to make comment on, which i find a little bit strange, that has to do with the findings, and not the collection of them.Taken for granted that the discogs personnel consists of people with high interest in, and knowledge of music. First, the absence of curiosity to be able to listen to a wide variety of different genres.Considering that virtually all music genres in modern music have influenced each other.For example, it seems to me a great paradox that so many listen to electronic music, and so few listen to reggae.Reggae music, mainly dub reggae, has had a huge impact on many sub genres in electronic music. Another genre that has had a great influence on electronic music, represented by techno, and which is well known, is funk music.In this context, it is also strange that so few listen to music produced before 2010.In this context, too, the absence of listening to blues is striking, when there is hardly a genre that has influenced rock more than blues …On the other hand, if we take a look at which artists the personnel are listening to, there is, from my point of view, a large selection of artists representing great quality. In particular, in rock and electronic music, which corresponds to the fact that most listen to those genres.I would like to emphasize that these are just my considerations and that it may provoke some, and I will take great care to conclude a particular cause of the findings. But I had thought beforehand that there was a greater openness to a more versatile music view, from people who are so dedicated to music. All the best wishes for the future, with the hope of greater versatility in the future. Sven

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