Harkive Survey Data – Encoding & Visualising Using R

Introduction

In this blog post and accompanying video I will attempt to explain the process of performing some basic encoding and visualisation on survey data using the R package. The data and R scripts used in this example post are available to download via the Harkive GitHub repository.

I hope to show how survey data can be relatively easily visualised using the R package in order to help deliver potentially useful insights. In the example image below, generated using the scripts and data provided here, responses to questions about the importance of Cost when choosing regularly used formats for listening to music are plotted against the importance of Convenience.

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What is perhaps unsurpising is that the majority of the people in the random sample set consider both to be important. Perhaps more interesting, however, and certainly in terms of selecting subjects for further analysis, are those who appear to consider neither as important. It leads us to ask further questions as to why that would be the case, and what are important factors to those people. The broader point here being, these are observations and questions that a relatively quickly constructed visualisation can afford us – it would be extremely difficult to observe what we can see here from simply looking at the original data set.

The intention of publishing this data/code is thus twofold:

1) As I have benefitted hugely in my own learning from the culture of sharing data and code that surrounds R, by sharing this code and data I hope to provide some assistance to researchers seeking to analyse their own survey data but who are, like me, new to R. The scripts provided here should be relatively easy to adapt to a different data set, if that is your aim.

2) I also share the data I have gathered in the hope that more experienced researchers and/or those with an interest in popular music may develop their own analyses and share their results/code with us. There are responses to 90 different questions related to popular music listening within the data set – offering the possibility for a huge number of ways in which the data can be analysed. It would be very interesting to see what others come up with using this data. Please do feel free to adapt, create and share your thoughts.

Background

Harkive has been collecting stories from people online about their music listening experiences on single days in July since 2013. Stories are collected from various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr) and also via email and through a form on the project website. In order to assist with the analysis of these stories, a Music Listening Survey was devised in 2016 that aimed to gather additional information from participants. This survey was open to both participants and non-participants of the story gathering element of Harkive. Analysis of the data gathered by the survey is intended to:

  • provide insight into the experiences of popular music listeners
  • contextualise the individual text-based stories gathered by Harkive
  • enable the sub-setting of the entire corpus of stories based on observations gleaned from the survey data

The survey is still live and responses are still be collected, so if you would like to participate you can do so by visiting http://www.harkive.org/h16-survey . It would also be hugely appreciated if you would share this link with other music lovers.

The Data

The Harkive Survey was created using the JotForm service and then hosted on the Harkive site. After providing their informed consent and some demographic information, participants were then asked whether they had participated in the story gathering element of the Harkive Project (those who indicated that they had were then asked to provide further information about this). Participants were then asked to respond to 86 questions/statements regarding their music listening. In the main, these required responses along Likert Scales. For example, participants were asked to rate whether they Strongly Agreed or Strongly Disagreed with a statement along a 7-point scale.

Data was downloaded from Jotform in CSV format, and a sample of 100 anonymised responses are used here. This sample is comprised of 50 responses where people had indicated they had participated in the story gathering element, and a further 50 where respondents indicated that they had not. Other than that, data was selected at random.

The R Scripts

There are two R scripts that accompany this post. The first takes the ‘raw’ data downloaded from JotForm and converts text-based responses into numeric values. Using these newly created numeric responses, additional variables are created that provide summaries of sections. The second script uses the numeric values created in the first to create some basic visualisations that enable some initial analysis of the data within the survey. By following through both scripts you will be able to replicate the image displayed at the top of this post, and by adapting the code provided in the script you will be able to visualise and explore the rest of the dataset.

What You Will Need

In order to replicate the work in this post you will need:

  • R and R Studio installed on your computer (Help videos for: Windows and Mac)
  • The data from the Harkive GitHub repository (Intro video for GitHub)

For new users this may sound daunting, but the video links above are very helpful and should have you up and running in a few moments.

The Video

Here is a 30-minute screencast in which I walk through the two R scripts provided. Hopefully those of you who are new to R will find it useful in terms of adapting the scripts, and those of you interested in performing your own analysis of the data will get a feel for what it contains.

Discussion

I am by no means an expert when it comes to creating R scripts, or in Statistical Analysis. More experienced R users may indeed find the way in which I have structured these scripts to be cumbersome and inefficient, and there are probably mistakes in my descriptions and scripts. I am still very much in the early stages of learning R, and as such these scripts are presented in much the same way that I am attempting to develop my skills: through a process of trial and error, one that is iterative and exploratory.

What is useful about that, from the point of view of my own research, is that it has necessarily forced me to break down analysis into discrete component parts. I have learned one step at a time. This not only makes the research replicable both for me (once I learn how, for example, how to visualise one set of data, I can quickly apply that to another) but also potentially others (in that fellow researchers using their own Survey Data may be able to build on this work) but, perhaps more importantly, the assumptions inherent in each step are revealed more clearly.

The act of assigning numeric values to Likert Items, such as I have here, is a case in point. This is heavy with a number of assumptions: that Person A meant the same thing as Person B when both said “Strongly Agree”; that the distance between “Often” and “Very Often” is exactly the same as that between “Rarely” and “Never”, and so on. Further to that, once data of this kind is visualised in a coherent form (as I have attempted to do here), then inferences and insights are ‘revealed’ more starkly. As we will see in later posts, where I will take the insights revealed from survey data and apply them to the corpus of Harkive stories, the research process itself thus becomes a creative act just as much as it is a logical, empirical one. One should always remember, then, to consider both the provenance of the ‘raw data’ (a questionable term, as Gitelman argues) and the process through which that data has ultimately led to insight. As numerous scholars working in this area have argued, reflexivity is as crucial an element as the technical skills required when undertaking work of this kind.

The beauty, then, of an R script and other computational analytical processes, is not only in the efficiency and logic they afford, but in the way they isolate and force us to confront the assumptions inherent in our work.

Data Collection: Multiple sources/Single database.

Introduction

In this blog post I’m going to attempt to explain the process I use to collect data for The Harkive Project, and how collecting it in the manner that I do considerably helps reduce the amount of time required in organising and cleaning data ahead of analysis. The resulting database created by this process is organised according to the principles of Tidy Data, principles that are extremely useful when using the R package (as I am) as the primary means of data analysis. Hopefully you may find this post and the accompanying video useful if you are considering using social media and/or other digital data in your own research projects.

It should be noted at the outset that Harkive as a project has specific needs in terms of data collection, and the process I will describe has been devised with those in mind. This necessarily means that the process I use may not be entirely replicable for your own needs, so I will instead attempt to explain in terms of general principles and tasks so that it may be useful to you with some minor adjustments.

Before I begin, and for those of you reading this who may be unaware of The Harkive Project, I will provide a little context and background that may be useful. Following an explanation of the process, I have included some general discussion about the process and its limitations.

Background

Harkive is an online research project that seeks to gather information from people about the detail of their engagement with popular music on a single day each year. Since 2013 the project has operated on a day in July, and participants are invited to tell the ‘story’ of their music listening day by either posting to social media platforms using the #harkive hashtag, emailing the project directly, or by completing an online form. When the project ran in the years 2013-2015, I used a combination of different techniques to get the data from various sources that resulted in several different databases, each organised according to different schema. I was particularly grateful to Martin Hawksey and his work on TAGS, which enabled me to gather data from Twitter. By using GoogleDocs I was able to create and embed a simple Form on the project website to capture ‘stories’ there, as well as through emails sent to the project. For most other services, I used a combination of IFTTT recipes.

Whilst these separate collection techniques all worked well in isolation, it left me with data in several separate spreadsheets, each of which were organised according to different schema. This meant that a period of data sorting and cleaning was required to get data from different sources into a single spreadsheet before analysis could begin. This was time-consuming and error-prone. Following discussions with my BCU colleague, Nick Moreton, we began to investigate the Zapier service as a means by which to collect data in a manner that also sorted and organised it, thus making the entire process more efficient

Video

Here is a video that walks through the process described below.

General Overview of Process

As with a number of other services, Zapier will enable you to connect to the APIs of a number of different 3rd party online platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and then collect data from these based on a specified searches, or other conditions. Zapier can also be used to extract data from emails, forms and other online media.

In order to do this via Zapier you create a separate ‘Zap’ for each service/place that you wish to collect data from. During the creation of ‘Zaps’ you are be able to specify which elements of the third party APIs to collect data from, which means that you can discard elements you do not need.

Each Zap can be augmented by adding additional steps that allow you to write the collected data to a specified location within a database of your choice. Common elements from different services (for example, usernames) can thus be written to a single username column in a destination database, even though the naming conventions and/or data formats of those datapoints may differ from one API to another.

Adding a fixed variable to each ‘Zap’ – such as one that specifies the source of each entry (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) in the example below –  will write a separate column in the destination database that records this fixed variable in each row.

Likewise, fixed variables denoting NULL values can also be added where the API of one service does not provide an element that is present in another. For example, Tumblr and Instagram provide tags (hashtags) added by users as elements of their APIs, yet Twitter does not. By giving a NULL value to the tags element of the Twitter Zap, whilst adding the relevant tags elements to the equivalent variables in the Instagram and Tumblr Zaps, the column in the destination database is populated with either a true value, or a NULL value.

These NULL values become useful when a present variable in an API is not populated by a user. For example, if a Twitter user does not add an image to their post, but you are collecting that element, the Zap will populate the database with a blank value. Blank values (not present) can thus be differentiated from NULL values (not available).

Additional steps can also be added that can pre-process certain data before it is written to the destination spreadsheet. This is particularly useful in terms of Date and Time stamp formats, which often differ from service to service.

The process will involve some trial and error, but eventually you should end up with a single spreadsheet of data collected from numerous sources that contains data organised and formatted according to a schema of your choice.

What You Will Need To Get Started

  • An account with Zapier.com
  • Accounts on the Social Media channels you wish to collect data from
  • A Gmail account

For ease of set up I recommend that you log in to each of the relevant services above, and have each open in separate tabs within your browser before proceeding with this workflow.

For the purposes of this simple example we will collect data from Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, and will limit our collection to just the usernames of posters, the text of their posts, and date/time stamps. Adding additional variables is simply a case of extending the process described below.

Step 1: Creating A Schema

Within GoogleDocs (or similar) you need to create a blank spreadsheet into which Zapier can write the data collected from different services. The aim here is to create columns within this sheet into which common data points can be written. For the purposes of this example, create four columns and call them serviceuser_name, text, and date. Name your new spreadsheet zapier_test.

Your new, blank spreadsheet should look like this:

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It may sound slightly counter-intuitive to suggest creating this step first, since you will not yet know what data are available from the different services that you wish to collect from, or where commonalities occur. This is where the Trial and Error element comes in and you may need to add or remove columns until you get the right API elements into the right columns.

Step 2: Creating A Zap

You now need to create separate Zaps for each of the three services (Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram). Let’s set up Twitter first.

Click on Make A Zap on the main dashboard, search for and select Twitter as your Trigger App, and then follow through the steps prescribed by Zapier to authorise it to access your Twitter account. After that, specify your search term. Finally, test the collection of Twitter data based on that search. If the test is successful, you will be able to view the different elements of data returned from the Twitter API. The elements that we want to capture in this instance are: user__nametextcreated_at, which are those that correspond to the user_name, text and date elements of the destination spreadsheet, zapier_test. Make a note of these as you will need them in the next step.

Next, and still within the Make A Zap window, you need to add the step that will write data to your newly created GoogleDocs sheet, zapier_test. Select ‘GoogleSheets’ from the available dashboard, and then the radio button for ‘Create Spreadsheet Row’, and (after authorising your GoogleDocs account) you should select zapier_test and Sheet 1 from the pull-down menu. If it doesn’t appear, use the search option to find it.

You can now add the elements from the Twitter API to the required fields in the spreadsheet, like in the image below. Note that we have added twitter as a ‘constant’ entry.

NB: The first time you set this up you will need to follow the instruction that allow Zapier to write a test row to the spreadsheet before continuing. This is to test Zapier’s ability to write to the spreadsheet. You will only need to do this once.

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Once completed click ‘Finish’ and then ‘Name Your Zap’.

You can now repeat this process for Tumblr by returning the beginning and selecting to Make A New Zap. After selecting Tumblr as your Trigger App you will notice that the option to search on a specific term is not available in the same way as it was through Twitter. The closest equivalent in Tumblr is to search for tags added to posts. This is will be discussed further in the discussion below, but it is an inherent flaw in collection methods of this kind and ultimately relate to the fact that you can only perform tasks that are permitted by the 3rd party concerned.

The elements of the Tumblr API that match those that we want to gather from the Twitter API are as follows: blog_name; body; date. As before, we also add tumblr as a constant on each entry.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-20-02-03Repeating this step for Instagram (which like Tumblr requires that you search on tags, rather than search terms) results in the following:

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Once you have completed the process of setting up this third Zap, and depending on the frequency with which your search term is used by posters to theses three services, you will then begin to see your zapier_test spreadsheet begin to update with new entries.

Pre-Processing Data

You may wish to add some pre-processing to the steps you add to your Zaps in order to render data in a united format. The collection method described above is collecting Date/Timestamps from each service. However, these appear in different formats.

Twitter API date/time format: Fri Jul 09 09:51:53 +0000 2010

Tumblr API date/time format: 2015-10-27 07:13:17 GMT

It is therefore useful to convert these to a common format before writing to the zapper_test spreadsheet.

NB: You may need assistance from someone versed in javascript to achieve this.

To change date formats to a common one, revisit your zaps individually to add an additional step between the existing steps. To do this click on the + icon between the Twitter and Google Sheets elements. Once you’ve clicked on the + icon, select Action, then Code by Zapier. Finally, select that you wish to add some Javascript. Your screen should resemble this:

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This next step is the Edit Template, which will apply the necessary changes. We’re applying the javascript to the created_at element, which converts Twitter’s API date format.

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You will need to apply this step to your other Zaps (for Tumblr and Instragram), using amended javascript each time to alter the date/time formats to your desired format. This function, of course, can be applied to other elements your Zaps collect.

 

Discussion

I am by no means an expert when it comes to either tutorial production or social media data collection. However, I have found that this process is suitable to my own research needs (although not without issues – which I shall highlight below). If you have any questions, corrections or other comments about this post and/or video, please do get in touch and I will attempt to assist you. If you have found it useful, please also feel free to share, adapt, build upon or otherwise repurpose elements of it.

You should be aware that Zapier offers tiered subscriptions based on usage. Although the free tier may be suitable for your needs, if your research project has the potential for the collection of a large amount of data, you should consult their documentation on pricing before proceeding.

The process described above contains within it the potential for fragility because it relies on the availability of data from the owners of 3rd party platforms. As boyd and Crawford observe, ‘data companies have no responsibility to make their data available, and they have total control over who gets to see them’ (2012). The data available via APIs is thus limited and subject to change at any moment, and as such you are advised to monitor the collection regularly to ensure that you are capturing what you expect to see. As boyd and Crawford also observe, it is not clear and indeed largely impossible to discover, whether the process described above is capable of capturing everything posted, or just a sample. Tweets, for instance, from accounts where users have instigated privacy settings (known as ‘protected tweets’ in the language of Twitter) are excluded from searches of this kind and so will not be collected. Therefore, data collected in this way can only ever be described as a sample, rather than the entirety of posted data. This issue highlights the caution that many scholars have in terms of using Social Media data as representational of human behaviour and experience.

In addition to the fragility of the API-derived data, there is also an issue with the manner in which the availability of data necessarily directs the methods by which researchers are able to collect data. This is evident in the workflow above, where the manner in which data is searched differs from service to service. The Facebook API, not covered in this post, is also a case in point. This will only collection of data that is posted by a user to a specific page. Anything posted to the user’s own timeline is not collected. This clearly differs from the main means by which many users engage with Facebook – i.e. through their own feed, not the pages of others. As such data collected from Facebook (and other sources) needs to be considered in terms of its limitations, and not just affordances of the relative ease by which it can be gathered.

Closing Remarks

I’ve been meaning to post this workflow for some time, but a couple of things have made it expedient to do so now. In the first instance I’ve recently completed a first draft of the methodology chapter of my PhD thesis, so this (and other) practical elements of the project are the things I’m currently thinking through in detail. The word-count constraints of a PhD thesis do not really allow for the inclusion of finer details about processes such as that being described here, so this and subsequent posts are intended as appendices of sorts. Further to that, next week I’ll be part of a panel at an event at The British Library that is looking at how non-text outputs of PhD and other academic research projects can be helpfully made available via the EThOS system. Although this post is quite clearly predominantly text-based, I would nevertheless include in the general category of non-text outputs that I am producing through my research, alongside such things as datasets, visualisations, R scripts, and other elements that do not necessarily fit into a ‘traditional’ format of a thesis. Finally, a group conversation that recently took place on the emailing list of the AOIR, of which I’m a member, suggested that sharing this workflow may be useful to others. This, I feel, is an important point more broadly and relates to my interest in the ETHoS project: the results or outcomes of research (commonly referred to as Impact in academic circles) have the opportunity through mediums such a blogs and other digital repositories to be potentially useful outside of the context of the original research, particularly when elements of a larger methodological processes can be isolated and presented as general guides. Sandvig and Hargittai have argued recently that the ‘workaday’ practice of the humanities/social sciences research process needs to be highlighted, particularly in areas of work that look at digital media and the Internet, because these are producing ‘new methods, new opportunities, and new challenges for understanding human behaviour and society.’ As such, this post will be the first in a series of ‘practical’ posts that I hope will make a small contribution to that and may prove to be useful.

Harkive 2016 – Thank you!

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Harkive day 2016 has now ended. Thank you to everyone who told their music listening stories and to those who so kindly helped to spread the word about the project. As has been the case in previous years, it was a hugely enjoyable day for us, and we hope you enjoyed taking part. We’d like to ask one more thing of you before you go….

The 2016 Music Listening Survey

We’d like invite you to complete the 2016 Music Listening Survey.

It takes around 5-10 minutes to complete, and asks questions about your music listening generally and your participation in Harkive. The data gathered by this survey will be crucial at the analysis stage of the project as it will provide important contextual data for the stories you told. Please do take a look:

SURVEY LINK: http://harkive.org/h16-survey/

What Happens Next? 

The stories gathered yesterday will be collated, the data will be sorted and cleaned, and we’ll then have a better idea of the amount of stories received. We’ll post details of those numbers in the next week or so, but a conservative estimate at this stage is that their would appear to be in the region of 1,000, coming from places such as Australia, India, Japan, the UK, Germany, Spain, Norway, USA and others. Once the data is cleaned and sorted, and the results are gathered from the Listening Survey, the analysis stage will begin. Details of how that is progressing will be posted to the blog and links will be shared on Twitter and other social media channels about that. If you’d like to be involved with the analysis, or collaborate with the project in some other way, please do get in touch.

You can still tell your story

If you didn’t manage to tell your story yet but would like to, remember that you can still email it to us, or use the form on the project site. Have a look at the instructions on the How To Contribute Page for more information. Story entries will be accepted until midnight (GMT) on 28th July 2016.

Without whom..

A huge thanks to Nick Moreton for all of his amazing work on the Harkive API and Data Visualisations. For the example stories that were posted to the blog in the countdown to Harkive 2016, a big thanks also to Rebecca Garnham (CarBoot Vinyl Diaries), John Jervis (WIAIWYA Records),  Johnny Doom (Kerrang! Radio), Andy Inglis (5000 Management), Claire Gevaux (Help Musicians UK), William Doyle (Your Wildernes Revisited), Kath and Giulia and the staff at Key Production, Colm Forde and Vanessa Lobon (Doc ‘n Roll Film Festival), James Cherry (Sentric Music), and Juice Aleem. Thanks to Jamie East and team at Virgin Radio UK for having Harkive on the show and to Sarah Lay and Coral Williamson for the press articles. Thanks to Profs. Gebhardt, Wall and Long for their supervisory guidance, to BCMCR colleagues for support and encouragement, and to M3C for their support of this project. Finally, of course, a big thank you once again, to all the people who told their stories.

and finally

Harkive 2017

Harkive will be back again next year, on another sunny day in July, for what will be our 5th year. Please do join us again. In the meantime, Harkive will be posting stories throughout the year here on the project site and will be releasing new episodes of the Harkive Podcast.   If you’d like to suggest stories for the site, or themes for the podcast, drop us a line or say hello on Twitter. Stay tuned, in other words.

Thanks!

Harkive 2016 – The 60-second guide

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Harkive is an annual online research project that gathers stories about How, Where and Why people listen to music across a single day.

The project this year takes place on Tuesday 19th July –  We’d love to hear your story.

You can join in by adding the #harkive hashtag to your music-related posts on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Alternatively, you can email your story to us, or send it via this online form. Stories are also accepted as posts on the Harkive Facebook wall.

You can write as much or a little as you want, and send as many entries as you like.

There will be some live Data Visualisations on 19th July, powered by Harkive’s API. You’ll be able to see the number of stories told, and where in the world they have come from.

Harkive is part of a PhD research project. You can read more about the background of that here, and find more detailed information about our research ethics here.

To further aid this research, we invite you to complete our 2016 Music Listening Survey. It takes around 5-10 minutes, and will help us produce data that looks like this.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email info@harkive.org or say hello on Twitter (@harkive)

Finally, please do consider joining in on Tuesday 19th July by telling Harkive your story.

(You can read a longer version of this Harkive 2016 guide here.)

Harkive API and Data Visualisations

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One of the main challenges of the PhD project that Harkive is part of, is the need to devise a means by which the insights held within the stories people have told the project since 2013 may be revealed.  The largely text-based data collected represents a huge challenge in that regard, leading to a methodological focus on collaborative and experimental analytical methods. Such an approach is by no means unique to this project. Academic researchers in a number of disciplines have been embracing new methods and experimental approaches for several years, leading to the genesis of entirely new fields: Social Computing; Digital Humanities; Cultural Analytics. At the same time, barriers to entry and access in terms of data collection, storage and analysis, are falling, enabling people to critically and artistically engage with data in interesting ways. Think of terms such as Citizen Data Science, or movements such as The Quantified Self.

Harkive and the doctoral research project that underpins it, resides somewhere within the broad and emerging area described above. What makes this exciting for the project is that, just as the landscape of modern popular music is a fascinating and dynamic space, so – increasingly – is the field of human-data interaction.

To put all of this another way, just as the stories Harkive collects are ‘crowd-sourced’, one avenue this project is keen to explore is to see if perhaps some of the analysis may come from a similar method. What questions would other people like to ask of this data? What could be built with it? What would it sound like as a piece of music? These are the questions that come from having an inquiring mind and an interesting data set! There are more possibilities and questions than there is time, however, and it is with this in mind that we have created the Harkive API, full details of which are provided below.

For those of you reading who may be unaware of the function of an API (Application Programming Interface), in simple terms it allows access to data in a structured, reliable way, so that applications, visualisations and other online tools (and even pieces of music) can potentially be created by making use of the data. The crucial point is that although the data held within an API may change over time, the structure the data is held within remains constant. This means that anything built upon an API is able to change dynamically in line with changes in and to the data, without necessarily having to change its own structural dynamics. APIs are thus powerful tools for developers and, increasingly, academic researchers.

Data Visualisations created with Harkive API

A better way to understand the above is to look at the small number of visualisations that have been built by Nick Moreton using the Harkive API. These are being hosted on a dashboard at www.harkive.com and relate to the Harkive 2016 data. This data is and will be dynamic – as people tell their stories, they will generate more data – but the structure of the API remains the same. Because the visualisations on www.harkive.com are built with the API, they will change as more stories are gathered.

Here are some examples:

Story Sources: will display the ratio of total stories according to the various submission methods. For a full list of the available story-telling methods, please visit the How To Contribute page. From the screenshot below, it is easy to see the dominance of Twitter in terms of conversations about Harkive, but these ratios may change on 19th July as stories begin to be posted elsewhere.

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Harkive Around The World: will display details of Tweets sent with the #harkive hashtag, where Twitter users have enabled location settings.

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WordCloud: Following automatic removal of Stopwords and other phrases (incl. the word Harkive, which features prominently in collected posts), this visualisation will produce a Wordcloud based on the content of Harkive stories. As the screenshot below shows, ‘tell’ is a prominent word at this point in time, and this is because of the promotional posts (and shares of those posts) encouraging people to ‘tell their story’ to Harkive.

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The basic examples above demonstrate some of the many ways that different levels of insight can be derived from data. They represent, however, only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible.

Shortly after the 2016 story-gathering element of the project ends next week, we will begin the process of sorting, cleaning and analysing the data. For the purposes of the immediate concern of the PhD project Harkive forms the basis of, this analysis will proceed according to three broad themes: Formats and Technology; Data, Privacy, Identity and Ownership; Recommendation and Discovery.

If you would like to get involved with this process please do contact info@harkive.org. There are already a small number of academic researchers, analysts and data scientists working on ideas for the data, so please do consider collaborating with us.

If, on the other hand, you would simply like to play with the API and the data it contains in order to create something cool – perhaps even a piece of music? – then please do so. Just remember to let us know what you come up with so that we can share it with the wider Harkive audience.

Have fun!

Further information on the Harkive API

Documentation is available at http://developer.harkive.com.

The Harkive API allows developers access to limited elements of the data collected by The Harkive Project. In particular, and based on the Research Ethics underpinning the project, the API does not provide access to personal information gathered by the project.

The API currently contains only stories collected by the 2016 instance of Harkive. Stories from 2013-2015 will be retrospectively added shortly after Harkive 2016.

The automated collection methods that place new data within the API structure at present capture everything related to Harkive, so will necessary include tweets (and other types of posts) that mention the project. Although tweets sent from the official @Harkive twitter account have been excluded from certain counts in the visualisations, anything posted by others online ahead of Tuesday 19th July will be displayed. This data is included at this stage primarily to demonstrate the API and visualisations. Shortly after 19th July, data contained within the API will be sorted and cleaned, leaving only stories.

 

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 1 day to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story. You can read our quick guide to the project here.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 1 day to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today, for our final Harkive 2016 example we welcome Juice Aleem.

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A mainstay of the UK hip hop scene, Juice has released singles and LPs on NinjaTune and Big Dada, collaborating and touring with the likes of Luke Vibert and Coldcut along the way. He returns with a new LP in 2016, “Voodu Starchild”, featuring contributions from Mike Ladd, Roots Manuva, Blackitude and more. Lead single “Warriors” is available as a free download from label Gramma Proforma here.

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Juice kindly agreed to tell Harkive the story of his music listening day, and here it is.

Music is a thing that has always been there for me.

Certain feelings and memories of mine are placed in the context of songs or genres that have moved me. Moving me.

Preparing to move house again brings on a lot of reflection. And in that sense, there are tunes that will always transport me to other places, reminding me of friends, family and lovers.

Gil Scott Heron’s ‘The Bottle’ will always take me the ‘Rare Groove’ era of places such as West End Bar in Birmingham. Searching for these records and really having a ‘discovery’ of artists that were not only as exciting as the current scene but also had immense amounts of back catalog was really a joy.

The joy would make us feel connected to a deeper history of popular culture, like we were more clued up than everybody else. That special energy of youth is fueled by secret knowledge. Further into my Hip Hop awareness I’d see more and more of the records that my parents owned. That was and is still a real special thing that cannot be replaced. My parents aren’t here anymore, and the knowledge that all I need do is put on a Dennis Brown or Ijahman record to help bring good thoughts of my mother is a real jewel. My father passed a longer time ago in the States, but a few James Brown songs fire the memory cards up nicely. I imagine how the both of them would react to me playing their music and smile.

Over the last few months I’ve become a lot more pro with my collections. Through the years, thousands of comics, mixtapes, soundtapes, books, films and records have been crammed into very small spaces for the sake of future entertainment. And to show my now full grown adult responsible self I decided to take the strain off of a few of these tiny black holes and buy decent containers for all these records.

Pretty much every record I own has meaningful history attached to it. I don’t own as many as sum but as they line up in boxes across the wall, I tend to think of a different future where tech didn’t get smaller with CDs and MP3s but a place where the USB keys are these 12 and 7 inch records. The times and the emotions etched into the records are so much bigger than can be contained and I still love allowing them to roam through the air every now and then.

They have earned the release because they have always been there for me.

This isn’t the place I was born or where I spent the most time but it is where formative years were grown. It means sumthing to live in a place, have to leave, and only have these reflections as reminders.

Even once I finally leave the bedroom I grew up in, these special memories will still be here, at home.

If you enjoyed Juice’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 1 day away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 2 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story. You can read our quick guide to the project here.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 2 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome James Cherry, Broadcast Manager for independent music publisher Sentric Music.

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Based in Liverpool and with staff across Europe, Sentric provides artists with a variety of music business services connected to rights management, including royalty collection and synchronisation. Alongside his role of Broadcast Manager, James also focuses on content management, giving artists the help they need to establish themselves in an increasingly competitive market. You can find out more about Sentric Music on their website, or you can follow them on Twitter.

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James kindly agreed to keep a record of his music listening for Harkive, and here is his story.

7.16 – I’m up and out to the gym early, my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify refreshed so I throw that on. It usually provides a few gems, and this week is no different. Zibra’s ‘Flat in Dagenham’ and Gordi’s ‘So Here We Are’ are the standouts.

7.41 – I arrive at the gym, removing my headphones Jess Glynne’s ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ is playing over their internal radio as I head to the changing room.

7.47 – Heading into the actual gym I put my gym playlist on through Spotify. It’s one of my oldest playlists that I’ve curated over five years, a solid blend of high tempo pop, heavier indie rock mixed with traces of hip-hop. Duke Dumont’s latest ‘Ocean Drive’ transitions to Talib Kweli’s ‘Get By’ to Spring King’s ‘City’. It might not be for everyone, but it works for me.

8.50 – Discover Weekly is back on for the 20-minute walk to the office, not too much to report here I skip quite a few of the tracks. I’m not overly impressed with this second listening session , so I eventually turn it off and remove my headphones.

9.10 – Stop off at the local spar to pick up some milk for the office. Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop This Feeling’ is on the radio, that’s a track I’ve heard played to death over the last month so I let out a sigh.

9:46 – We’ve made it to work, and as I’m out for the afternoon I’m keen to crack on with my backlog of emails. It’s headphones on and hit play on Spotify’s ‘Music For Concentration’ playlist. As I get older I’m finding myself listening to more and more music designed for focus.

10:42 – Emails completed we are headphones down and back in the room. What I find out to be Spotify’s One Week One playlist is on the Office Sonos. Can’t say I take much interest but Kant’s ‘Close to the Wire’ and Bob Marley & the Wailers ‘Is This Love – Remix’ perk my ears.

13:48 – It’s our regular A+R meeting at Sentric where we run through all of the latest exciting artists and bands that have joined recently. We have over a hundred to run through, so there is no messing about. We skip between Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes to listen to the latest offerings. Standouts came from Litany, Old Sea Brigade, Mullally and Benedict Benjamin.

16:38 – Back in the office for the final part of the day and Nancy Sinatra’s album ‘Nancy & Lee’ is on the Sonos.  I only catch the final track ‘I’ve Been Down So Long’.

17:05 – The office is starting to thin out so I put my ‘2016’ Spotify playlist on the Sonos. I’ve created a yearly playlist since 2010, it’s a great way to track the evolution of my music taste, and pinpoint the key tracks in my life’s soundtrack. A track qualifies for the playlist if I listen to it over three times and still like it. Basic I know, but it works for me.

Xam Volo’s ‘Rescue Me’, Stealth’s ‘Judgement Day’ and St. Lucia’s ‘Dancing On Glass’ kick things off.

17:11 – Still in the office, I notice a former Sentric band The Hunna are playing a Facebook live stream for Billboard in New York so I pop my headphones on to catch ‘Bonfire’.

17:36 – Still in the office, I realise I’ve been listening to silence with my headphones on, so I take them off and catch Chairlift’s ‘Polymorphing’ and Kano’s ‘This Is England’ off my 2016 playlist before calling it a day.

19.57 – Back home, I stick the telly on to catch the Italian football team singing their national anthem.

20.34 – While watching the football my girlfriend, Louise walks in from the kitchen and proceeds to serenade me with Craig David’s Live Lounge cover of Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’.

If you enjoyed James’ example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 2 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to James for his story. If you’d like to follow his activities, you’ll find him as @JamesHCherry on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 3 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 3 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome Vanessa Lobon and Colm Forde, the good people behind Doc’n Roll Films.

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Doc’n Roll Films was set up in 2013 to build a nation-wide platform for the distribution and exhibition of alternative music documentaries. Focused primarily on first and second time filmmakers, Vanessa and Colm provide support and guidance through the industry’s maze. Based in London, with an annual autumn festival of premiere films across the city’s independent cinemas, they are gradually branching out to the regional cities with weekend editions in Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool.

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After meeting with Harkive at Liverpool Sound City earlier this year, Vanessa and Colm kindly agreed to keep a record of their music listening day. Here is their story.

A regular day for the core Doc’n Roll team – Colm Forde (Programmer) and Vanessa Lobon (Artistic Director)

Alarm goes off, it’s 8:15

Another hectic day ahead, as we’re entering the build up period to our annual festival in November.

First thing,…on with the radio – Shaun Keaveny’s 6 Music show.

He sounds little bit grumpy today but good tunes to start the day, Roisin Murphy’s “Ten Miles High”, The Smiths “What difference is it makes”, White Denim “Had 2 know”…

Breakfast, showers and we are ready for work,….from home today.

Sifting through and answering emails we’ve still got the radio on 6, with Lauren Laverne,….ESG’s Erase You a particular favourite,…‘til 12pm….when we start to listen to a great show off RTE Radio 1 player. The South Wind Blows, from Philip King of Other Voices festival, is a weekly Saturday evening show broadcast from Dingle, in Kerry,….well worth exploring!

His one-hour programme has a great selection of folk/rock tunes,.. Bob Dylan, The Waterboys, The Beatles, Lisa Hanigan. A cool mix of old and new bands. Where I was first exposed to The National, Laura Muluva, Villagers…

Colm is the cook, so while he is prepping he’s got 6 Music on the kitchen radio in the background.

I’ve decided to listen to one of our recently acquired albums as I’m still working in the office, Car Seat Headrest –Teens of Denial,… American indie rock. It’s a grower, been hearing a lot recently about these guys.

Once lunch is over, we’re both back to researching and sorting through social media leads on docs being released in 2017. One of these ‘in-production films’ profiles the early days of the UK Hip-Hop scene,….so for a change of mood, out comes my Gangster’s Chronicle: Best of London Posse album for some good witty early 90’s street poetry.

An email update on the progress of a great doc on the horizon called Northern Disco Lights: The Rise and Rise of Norwegian Dance Music, inspires a search through our vinyl for a taste of Röyksopp’s Melody AM album.

The latest draft of our festival poster design arrives, so we consult via Skype with our designer on what’s good, what needs tweaking…..

Another quick search through Mixcloud for a soundtrack to this task and where off with a classic Norwegian cosmic disco set, Prinz Thomas’ et al, ending 45 minutes later with an impromptu boogie as Todd Terje’s Inspector Norse hits….

Dinnertime,….radio is on again, prepping to 6 Music, Marc Riley’s selection is a ritual, as his live sessions and general banter shake the evening and mood up a little.

As evening tilts towards night, we pick a new music doc from our to-watch list. It’s almost a nightly occurrence these days, as we’re currently swamped with a backlog of 11 films waiting in-line.

This is a great opportunity for us to discover new bands, broaden our knowledge and learn about some music genres that we are not overly familiar with, like jazz or metal. This exposure to new sounds often leads us to new album discoveries via Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify….etc.

We end the day listening a few albums on our record player.

A good selection of down-tempo tunes from Bill Wither’s Greatest Hits, The Shins’ Wincing the Night Away,,..closing with Yo La Tengo’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside (over and) Out….

If you enjoyed Vanessa and Colm’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 3 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Vanessa and Colm for their story. If you’d like to follow their activities, you’ll find them as @docnrollfest on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Welcome to Harkive 2016

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Harkive is an annual online popular music research project that invites people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year. The aim of the project is to capture for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today.

On Tuesday 19th July Harkive is returning for its fourth year. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive the story of your music listening day.

In this quick guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about joining other music fans around the world on 19th July. We’d like you to help us add to the 8,000 stories gathered by the project since we launched in 2013.

Why tell your story? 

Millions and millions of people will be listening to music on 19th July, but no two people will listen in precisely the same way, or for the same reasons. That makes you interesting.

You might use certain products, services, formats and technologies that are common to many others. You might spend the day listening to the same radio station as millions of others. Or you might listen to one song via headphones. You might go to a gig, or hear music in a restaurant. Whatever your experience,  your motivations and the situations you find yourselves in as you listen, will be unique. It is the unique nature of your story that we are trying to capture.

How, Where and Why you listen to music is fascinating: We’d like you to tell us all about it.

How to tell your story

We’ve aimed to make the process of telling your story as easy as possible, and you can tell it in a variety of ways. Hopefully there is one that suits your habits already, and you won’t need to go too far out of your way to do it.

You can post to social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, simply by adding the #harkive hashtag to your posts. Or you can ‘like’ the Harkive Facebook page and post something to our wall. You can post as many times as you like across the day.

If you’d like to take your time and write something a little longer, you can email your story to us, or post it via our online form.

A full list of the ways you can tell your story is available on the How To Contribute page.

Would you like to see some examples?

Every year, as Harkive approaches, we post some example stories from people involved with popular music. These have included stories from musicians, journalists, technologists, DJs, label owners, academics, and record collectors. Have a look back through the blog to see the example stories posted this year, or look at the examples page to see stories from 2013 onwards.

Another way of looking at past contributions to the project is through the Harkive Explorer, an interface that shows contributions from Twitter. You can search through this by looking for particular keywords (names of artists, places, and so on), or through selecting different formats and services.

Remember, though, that there is no right or wrong way to tell your story. You can write as much or as little as you want, and send as many entries as you like.

There are prizes…

As an extra incentive to join us on Tuesday 19th July, we have a small number of items donated by record labels and other organisations to give away. These include CDs, t-shirts and vinyl records. Once Harkive 2016 is over, we’ll draw names at random from a hat and winners will be announced here on the site.

…and live Data Visualisations

Throughout the day on Tuesday 19th July, you can see how things are shaping up by looking at our new Data Visualisation Dashboard. Here you’ll be able to see information about the stories as they start to arrive on Harkive day, including a story count, timeline, word cloud, and other insights, all powered by the Harkive API.

Can you tell us more?

For 2016 we also have a Music Listening Survey. This takes around 5-10 minutes to complete, and will provide the project with some additional context about your music listening that will be crucial to the research that underpins this project (more on that below). Whether or not you intend to join in with Harkive 2016, please do take a moment to complete the survey.

By way of background, we road-tested the survey with a UK-based vinyl and CD manufacturer recently. Their staff completed the survey and produced this beautiful infographic. We’d love to include your responses in something similar.

What happens after Harkive 2016?

Harkive forms the basis of a PhD research project at Birmingham City University by Craig Hamilton. Shortly after Harkive 2016, the stories and other data collected by the project will be analysed and will inform the completion of Craig’s thesis. Information about any publications or conference papers that emerge from this research work will be posted to this site, and via the Harkive social media channels. Harkive will return in July 2017 for it’s 5th year.

What happens to my data?

This project has been approved by Birmingham City University’s Research Ethics Committee, and for more information on that please see our Research Ethics statement. None of the personal information (email addresses, etc) provided by you to the project will be made available to 3rd parties without your consent. Elements of the data will be made available via the Harkive API research tool.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions related to this.

Please help us spread the word 

We’d love to hear from as many people as possible on Tuesday 19th July, so if you think the project is interesting, please do tell your friends about Harkive and encourage them to join in. You can share this post with the following link: http://www.harkive.org/h16

Ask us anything

If you have any questions about Harkive, or would like some guidance about how to tell your story, please feel free to email us, or say ask us on Twitter, where we are @harkive

We’d love to hear your story on Tuesday 19th July. Please do join us by telling Harkive your story.

 

 

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 4 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 4 days to go. For the past few days we’ve been posting example stories from interesting people involved with popular music – check back through the blog to see these – but for today we’ve got something slightly different for you, from the good people at Key Production.

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Key Production is a well-established music & media manufacturer. They have been manufacturing CDs, DVDs, vinyl and print for over 25 years, specialising in bespoke packaging and project management for the music industry. If you’ve bought records, CDs or DVDs by UK artists at some point over the last decade or so, there’s a fair chance it was made by Key Production.

Harkive originally approached Key in order to see if someone at the company would be interested in writing a Harkive story for the blog, much like the ones you’ve been reading here this week. Key thought it would be interesting, however, to see how the company’s employees as a whole enjoy music in and outside of the workplace.

This development was good news for us, as for 2016 we have an additional element to our research process. Alongside gathering stories on Tuesday 19th July, we have also devised a Music Listening Survey. The data gathered by this survey is intended to augment the stories gathered on 19th July and provide additional context for the analysis stages. The survey is now live at http://www.harkive.org/h16-survey and takes around 5-10 minutes to complete. Whether or not you intend to take part in Harkive 2016, we hope that you will take the survey, and also hope, of course, that you will enjoy completing it.

Working with Key has allowed us to road-test the survey. They took elements of it – specifically the sections on General Music Listening, Technology & Formats, and Recommendation & Discovery – and circulated it amongst their staff, which has led to the following infographic that provides a fascinating insight into the listening habits and practices of a group of people who work with music on a daily basis.

By completing the Harkive 2016 Music Listening Survey, we hope you will help us to produce similarly interesting insights into the practices and opinions of the those contributing their stories to Harkive.

There are just 4 days to go until Harkive 2016, and we do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. You can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

If Harkive sounds like something your friends may be interested in, please do help us spread the word by telling them about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Thank you to all at Key Production for working with us on this element of our research. You can follow their activities on Twitter, where they are @keyproduction, or visit their website to find out how they can help with your physical product needs.

We’ll have another story tomorrow as the countdown to Harkive 2016 continues.

[Download Key Production Harkive Infographic – PDF – 6.8MB]

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Methodological notes / statement from Key Production:

29 people within Key Production completed the survey anonymously via Survey Monkey. The data was then analysed with the aid of Survey Monkey reports and Microsoft Excel, then translated into graphs enriched with artworks in order to create the infographic above. Not all the 42 questions were included in the analysis. Upon request, will be happy to provide you with the full questionnaire and statistics.

Moreover, with recorded media being our focus, we can now gladly back up with data that our staff not only works to deliver to clients the best products, but also has a real passion for the physical format. We definitely love what we do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 5 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 5 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome musician William Doyle.

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After releasing two acclaimed albums as East India Youth, William is now heading up your wilderness revisited, a multimedia art project that looks at how we interact and engage with British post-war suburban environments, specifically new places built in the last 30 years, while also considering the challenge of their designs for the future. The project focuses on the questions and concerns of human individuality within the suburban built environment, and how the development of these places affects the harmony – both socially and ecologically – that is sought within them. The work of your wilderness revisited will eventually be compiled into an audio/visual exhibition that will include photography, video art and music working together to create a unique look at our surroundings, and to inspire discussion to help people better engage with their own.

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William kindly agreed to keep a record of his music listening one day earlier this month, and here is his story.

I start every morning by doing around 20 to 30 minutes meditation, and then will often sit afterwards and listen to one or two songs on headphones and just focus on them, letting them help the day begin. This morning I listen to ‘Blackpool Late Eighties’ by James Holden, from his album The Inheritors, an album which only seems to improve upon each listen. It’s really one of the greatest released in the last decade, and I find the spaciousness and depth of the production on it to be transportive and inspiring.

I then head downstairs and do the washing up. This is a routine I’m enjoying at the moment since the washing up is fairly low concentration job and so I can really hone in what I’m listening to. Today I opt for the radio. I’ve been a big BBC 6 Music listener for the last 8 or 9 years now, although my frequency of listening habit will fluctuate. Starting the day listening to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show is almost guaranteed to make me laugh or smile and you can’t really ignore the positive effect this has on the rest of your day.

This morning’s highlights over an hour of listening are ‘Customer Service’ by Jurassic 5 (which I’ve heard twice recently so I’m guessing it’s new?), ‘Silvering’ by Lonelady, ‘Here Comes The Breeze’ by Gomez (which I don’t really enjoy, but I do when impersonating the singer with the higher-pitched bluesy voice), the new Róisín Murphy tune ‘Ten Miles High’, and ‘Life Itself’ by Glass Animals (which has some really strange lyrics.) The last tune I leave on is Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve’s ‘Black Crow’ featuring the wonderful Holly Miranda on vocals. It reminds me that I need to listen to the BTWS album as everything I’ve heard so far has been brilliant, and so I decide to set aside time later to dive in. My good friend Hannah Peel contributed vocals over this album and ‘Diagram Girl’ is one of my favourite songs in the last year.

Next I finish watching ‘I Often Dream of Trains In New York’ which is a live recording of Robyn Hitchcock playing his classic album ‘I Often Dream of Trains’ accompanied by guitarist Tim Keegan and multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards, who seems to be cropping up a lot in my musical thoughts lately (I’m a big fan Terry, if you’re reading!). The reason I’m watching this is for research as I want to do a piece of writing on this album. It’s been hugely influential to me over the years and it has been even more so recently. I think it’s a generally overlooked wonder. The film is great as well, with interview snippets in between some songs that shed some insight into the history of the album.

The most music I listen to after this point is all of my own. I’m working on a lot of music at the moment and try to dedicate 7 or 8 hours daily to this. This doesn’t sound like much time but with some focus over 2 hour increments, you wind up getting a lot done without becoming tired and frustrated. Tiredness and frustration lead me to tinkering and making useless changes, listening to the same part over and over again, so a concentrated period is better than an endlessly sprawling one.

Today the results of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war are published. I listen to ‘Harrowdown Hill’ by Thom Yorke. Chills. Through the filter of everything that’s been going on, the song’s tone of an acknowledged darkness feels strong even outside of the context of the lyrics. This feeling catches me off-guard for a moment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowdown_Hill

I listen to Beyond The Wizard Sleeve’s album The Soft Bounce in the bath. Slightly misjudged the setting for it, but the sound of it is incredible. Going to give it some more goes tomorrow, but I think they’ve made a winner.

Today, after recalling some kind of industrial dub atmosphere lodged deep in my memory and after a bit of searching, I remember that producer Adrian Sherwood had something to do with a track that had an effect on me at some point. I’d only heard it once but remember it vividly for some reason. This is quite a common occurrence for me, however I rarely note things down at the time as I prefer them to be held in that moment as much as possible, and if they return to me later then it’s a fun experiment to try to uncover it. It takes me a while to search through Sherwood’s massive discography but the track turns out to be ‘Fade Away’ by New Age Steppers, which was the first single released on his On-U Sound label. I then spend 45 minutes listening to the self titled album that it features on and I’m pleased to have uncovered this right now. I think I’ve been unconsciously adding dub-like effects to drum machine parts in some new songs I’m working on, so it’s nice to hear some sonic ideas in this context that I could perhaps go further on.

Finish the day, as I often do, with a play on Brian Eno and Peter Chilver’s Trope app. Final thought: We need more generative music.

 

If you enjoyed William’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 5 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to William for his story. If you’d like to follow his activities, you’ll find him as @your_wilderness on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 6 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 6 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome Claire Gevaux, Creative Director of Help Musicians UK.

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Help Musicians UK is the leading UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement. They help at times of crisis, but also at times of opportunity, giving people the extra support they need at a crucial stage that could make or break their career. You can find out more about their work by visiting their website, or following them on Twitter.

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Claire kindly agreed to keep a record of her music listening on Thursday 7th July for Harkive, and here is her story.

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Waking up in a hotel room in Liverpool, the morning after the night before, and the strangely appealing Paranoid Android from the Radiodread album by Easy Star All Stars is still floating around my head. There aren’t any clever devices for playing music in the room, so I resort to Radio 6 Music on the TV – I wonder if Shaun Keaveny would like my earworm this morning.   First Aid Kit starts my day with a silver lining and a decaf coffee.

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Leaving the Albert dock, I walk across Liverpool listening to Mendelsohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as I had the privilege of sitting in on a rehearsal with the Hallé Orchestra and I was fascinated to hear and watch Sir Mark Elder’s precise direction of the whispering passage in the first movement. It also brings to mind the recent celebration of Shakespeare’s death and the relationship between music and other artforms and in telling the stories of our lives.

11.01

By late morning, I arrive at my destination, Milpafest, Britain’s leading Indian Art Development Trust, based at Liverpool Hope University. Alok Nayak, Artistic Director, tells me about his organisation which educates, promotes and trains people of all ages in Indian arts. Although based in Liverpool, it is national in its reach and international in its outlook, and can take credit for creating its own sub-genre influenced by film and other artforms as well as contemporary life in Britain. We talk about the challenges for artists to achieve long term, sustainable careers in Indian Music, with few making it as international soloists but that there are routes to performance and orchestral careers thanks to the work he has championed. On leaving, Alok gives me a CD of Tarang, the UK’s Indian classical music ensemble to listen to when I get home.

12.04

My next destination is the regenerated Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool, where the Community Interest Company landlords are ensuring a thriving creative industries hub whose tenants benefit from lower rents and opportunities to collaborate which are fundamental to their success. As I walk past posters advertising the next Biennale and public art celebrating the city’s heritage, I’m reminded of the incredible journey Liverpool has been through, particularly in recent years. Not only of heartbreak and tragedy but also how the people of Liverpool embraced the importance of the arts and, in particular, music which gave them pride in themselves and their city. I am reminded of the commission that Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra undertook to commemorate the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. Working with composer, Michael Nyman, Symphony No.11: Hillsborough Memorial includes the names of all those who died in 1989 and was performed in Liverpool Cathedral in 2014 as part of the Biennale.

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My first meeting in the Baltic Creative Campus is with Liverpool Sound City, and Becky tells me about their plans to enhance the network of festivals in the North West and to tackle the lack of appropriate industry support for emerging and diverse talent who can develop into the status of festival headliners.

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Over a quick lunch in Unit 21 (which reminds me of the similar spaces that popped up all over Hackney in the past 8 years) I listen to my playlist of artists we’ve been able to support through organisations such as Merseyside Arts Foundation. She Drew the Gun has been working hard since they were given support from Merseyside Arts Foundation for much needed studio time and mentoring. Since then, the ‘dreamy lyrical psych-pop band’ has gone on to win Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Contest. Check out ‘If You Could See’. Another great Merseyside achievement has been The Lottery Winners, who were successful through our Emerging Artist Fund with PledgeMusic and who we showcased at The Great Escape. After my meeting with Peter Shilton, I listen to their debut EP with indie pop greats like Elizabeth and Young Love I can’t wait to hear their first album, now possible with the recent signing to major label Warner Bros.

15.23

Leaving the creative industries quarter, I switch my playlist and listen to the new release from Perhaps Contraption playing at the Manchester Jazz Festival at the end of July. As a group they are certainly pushing boundaries and creating a unique musical experience. Check out their second album, Mud Belief but also watch them live as they’re great performers too.

I’m meeting with Yaw next, Creative Director of ‘Nothin but the Music’ an academy for young talent in Liverpool to be empowered to have successful careers in the music industry. Yaw brought some of his recent graduates to a showcase in Camden where I met the incredibly talented Jalen Ngonda. After our meeting, I listen to Jalen’s ‘You Deserve What You Got’ on my final walk across the city to Hope Street and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

19.23

My day ends with a wonderful concert celebrating 10 years of conductor Vaisly Petrenko’s tenure at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. An evening of Elgar’s interpretation of the Italian Riviera ‘In the South (Alassio)’, Shostakovich’s very modern Cello Concerto No1 in E flat and ending on Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.3 in A minor which, although didn’t have many contemporary admirers, is a wonderful homage to Russia, its history and his devotion to his homeland.

22.14

On my wander back to the Albert Dock, I’m back in contemporary mode, and reflecting on my love of northern cities and their relationship to the people who live there. Liverpool particularly reminds me of home, of Newcastle, where I grew up and discovered punk, goth and was influenced by my mum’s love of Stan Getz and Motown. Musing on the thoughts of home, I listen to Samantha Whates ‘Granny’s House’ in which she explores what makes us think of home and, for her, in this song at least, it’s a cup of tea. We helped Sam when she was injured on tour and we were able to, literally, get her on her feet again. She generously support Help Musicians UK in our recent Musicians Against Depression #MAD campaign (musicanddepression.org.uk) and talked openly of her own experiences with mental health as a professional performer.

As I walk around the docks, it occurs to me that I should end my stay I Liverpool with another childhood influence, this time from my sister. We spent many happy hours listening and playing Beatles songs so my final choice of the day is the album, Revolver. With its ambitious diversification sparking new musical subgenres, its eclectic nature feels an appropriate place to conclude my own diverse musical journey of the North West.

If you enjoyed Claire’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 6 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Claire for her story. If you’d like to follow her activities, you’ll find her as @ClaireGevaux on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 7 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 7 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome Andy Inglis, owner of renowned Artist Management company, 5000.

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Andy is an Artist Manager, Tour Manager, Mentor and Lecturer in the Live Music Industry. His career started in Scotland in 1990, DJing and running raves around the country. He began managing bands and small electronic labels, moving to London in 1997 to continue the work. In 2005 he co-founded The Luminaire which won London Venue of The Year and UK Venue of The Year in the first two years. He booked Quart – Norway’s biggest and oldest music festival – and spent two years travelling the world with Savages as their Tour Manager. He now does the same for Mercury Prize-nominated artist William Doyle (East India Youth) on XL Recordings, whom he also manages, alongside rapper/producer Denzel Himself, improvisational pianist Tom Rogerson, composer John Uren and artist and sound designer Novo Amor. He is International Advisor for artist Jenny Hval and has co-founded up a mentoring initiative to help young women into the music industry. If he had his way he would ban guest lists, encores, cover versions, jazz-funk and Nestlé chocolate.

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Andy kindly agreed to keep a record of his music listening on Thursday 5th July, and here is his story..

For someone whose life revolves around music, I don’t always have time for it. But it’s been my life for twenty-six years and it will continue to be until my life is over. A privilege I’m unable to articulate.

I love all the music I work with and return to it often. And I get a lot of demos. It doesn’t leave much time for new music, and since I stopped promoting shows (at a venue I used to co-own in London) in 2008, I no longer seek it out. Enough seems to find me and let’s face it, at forty-three I’m no longer the target market for the majority of the world’s musical output. As I look at the clock, it’s gone 1535 and I’ve not played a note. It’s unlikely I will all day.

Tomorrow morning I’ll visit Liverpool to appear on a friend’s radio show. We’ll play music and talk about the music industry. He’s just sent me a list of fifteen artists he’ll play. I recognise seven, have an opinion on one. He asked me to play five tracks. I’m going with the work of Julia Holter, Grimes, Glen Campbell, Paula Temple, Pete & Rock and CL Smooth. Holter’s latest album is, without a word of hyperbole, a masterpiece. Grimes’ ‘Art Angels’ from last year is the best pop album I’ve heard in maybe a decade. Glen Campbell speaks to the romantic in me, Paula Temple is producing some of the most compelling, brutal, industrial techno right now and Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s ’T.R.O.Y’ is without question one of the greatest Hip-Hop tracks of all time.

In a couple of hours I’ll go for a run. I don’t play music when I’m running; the cables and player and earphones are physically encumbering. After dinner I’ll have a Skype call with a friend in Montreal, get to bed early for an 0500 start. After Liverpool it’s London, Cardiff, Mallorca, Las Vegas, and into the desert for a drive across America. That’s where music makes sense to me, where I’ll fall in love with it all all over again, not through laptop speakers, or in the clubs and bars we shoehorn musicians into and hope their art somehow makes sense over the clatter of glasses and voices raised, but breathing and soaring through open windows, beneath huge skies, into a burning desert sunset.

If you enjoyed Andy’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive across the day, by posting to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to each of your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 7 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any question about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Andy for his story. If you’d like to follow his activities, you’ll find him as  @5000mgmt on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 8 days to go!

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 8 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we welcome radio DJ, TV presenter and musician, Johnny Doom.

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Johnny has been working for the rock station Kerrang! Radio for the last 12 years, recently started the Amp’d TV show for local station Big Centre TV, has written for various rock magazines, and has released albums with bands such as Doom, Sore Throat, Cain, Haxan, Police Bastard and Rainbow Grave.

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Johnny kindly agreed to keep a record of his music listening for Harkive on Monday 27th June, 2016, and documents his experience below:

9am – Sit down with a cuppa and start work. First job on Monday is to add new songs to my Kerrang! Radio playlist. Although some of my show is scheduled automatically in Selector, I also have a list of 26 songs which are chosen, rotated and updated by myself. For this I make a folder and over the previous week, download various tracks from PR company emails, dropbox links etc. All songs have to be listened through for texture, variation or quality and also to see that they are lyrically clean. This week I listened to and added Every Time I Die – The Coin Has a Say (which is some new fast abrasive hardcore), Greywind – Car Spin (a melodic rock brother / sister duo from Ireland) and some heavy chuggy goth tinged metal from Motionless In White – 570 (a fresh track from their new unreleased album). The tracks are then sent down to London via We Transfer to the Head Of Music, Loz Guest who uploads them to the Kerrang! System and sends out the weekly playlist.

10am – Once the tracks are sent over, I then start to write the script for my Amp’d TV show which I film on Monday evenings from 6.30pm until 7.30pm at the Goldmine Centre in Walsall, the headquarters of Big Centre TV. Script wise, I have to fill 11 minutes of airtime (part one of the show) with news stories, videos, gig guide etc. As I am scouring the internet for new music videos to show, I usually browse the Kerrang Magazine webpage and link the content into the script as Youtube links. The videos can then be downloaded and placed in to the show. This week I was given an exclusive first play of a new video / track from The Dead XIII called Daemons, a new band called Cane Hill from New Orleans who are making waves, with a track called You’re So Wonderful. For the gig guide section of the show I just chose two of the touring bands and again put the relevant Youtube links into the script. I always watch the video and check for offensive content or swearing. This week I chose The Dead Daisies – Midnight Moses (some modern classic rock) and an older track from hardcore veterans, Sick Of It All with Take The Night Off. Once the script is finished, I email it over to my producer Des Tong, who will transfer the text onto the autocue and download all the videos to be inserted into the show.

12pm – Start recording my 3 hour Kerrang! radio show for Monday evening , 7pm -10pm. For this I usually have my playlist ready and just record the 18 voice links around that, from my desk at home. Sometimes I will add a fresh track (or spotplay) that isn’t in the playlist, to add something new. This week I didn’t add anything so, I just worked faithfully from the playlist. When doing this I don’t hear the music, but have to gauge the style of track in terms of how I go into or come out of it. When all links are recorded, they are then sent down to London to be scheduled into the show.

3pm – School run. I usually drive to the school, so I’ll have my stereo on. Today I’ve been listening to some grime from a young artist called JME. His album Integrity has been on in my car for a few weeks as a break from guitars. It’s full of dark basslines and clever lyricism and good for driving.

5pm – Drive over to Walsall to the TV station. This can be quite a perplexing journey with heavy traffic, so i always take a pile of CD’s just in case. It’s a good chance to listen to some new albums in full. This time I listened to the new album by French prog metal band Gojira – Magma and little bit of Letives new album – If Im the Devil

8pm – Usually get back home and feel content at getting everything done and completed. This often prompts me to buy a few ciders and sit and unwind in front of the TV watching various Youtube videos, listening to music and watching films on the computer through the television. This week, I ended up listening through some new tracks we recently recorded for my punk band. These are four rough mixes, without vocals, so it’s a good chance to listen for mistakes, mixing issues and developing how lyrics will fit over the tunes. I also usually end up listening to full albums using Youtube. Tonight, it was a mixture of Black Metal from Darkthrone – Panzerfaust, some electronics avante pop from Grimes – Halfaxa and some noise rock from Brainbombs – Urge To Kill. At some point I usually awake on the sofa, the music still playing or rotating on Youtube and go to bed.

If you enjoyed Johnny’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive, posting something to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 8 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any question about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Johnny for his story. If you’d like to follow his activities, you’ll find him as @johnnydoom on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown – 9 days to go

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of HowWhere and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

We’re now on the final countdown to Harkive 2016, with just 9 days to go. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening. Today we’re pleased to welcome John Jervis, owner of Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records (or WIAIWYA for short).

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The intro on the label’s Facebook page says it all: “daft ideas, ridiculous concepts, incredible records… lots of incredible records” – John and team are arguably one of the most prolific and consistently entertaining independent record labels in the UK, with a beautifully curated 7″ single series and a fine line in compilations, including this superb collection of James Bond theme covers. Added to that, WIAIWYA also release singles and albums by the likes of Darren Hayman, David Tattersall, Woodpigeon, The Leaf Library….the list goes on. Whilst reading John’s story below, head over to the label site and Bandcamp page to have a listen.

John kindly agreed to write the story of his listening day on 7th July, and here it is..

Most mornings I wake up with an unexplainable ear worm. Yesterday it was I’m Gonna Get You by Bizarre Inc, this morning it was Celebrate Summer by T Rex (specifically the Summer is Heaven in ’77 bit) – I looked it up on Youtube, so I heard it properly too:

I get ready for work with the radio on – 6Music – not enough songs, too much chat – anyway, I bought the song I didn’t already have, so that’s pretty good:

Creation – Beyond The Wizards Sleeve
My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
Return Of Django – The Upsetters
Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell

For the commute I set up a playlist of songs i hadn’t played before (I’d forgotten tracks would be on compilations as well as proper albums, so i skipped a few other ABBA songs… that Barbara Howard song is a belter, so i played it twice)

After Last Night – the A’s
Mamma Mia – ABBA
Octagon – Anton Barbeau
The Weight – Aretha Franklin
Wayside – Artful Dodger
Somewhere In My Heart (12″) – Aztec Camera
Come And Get It – Badfinger
Since You Caught My Eye – Banner Barbados
I Don’t Want Your Love – Barbara Howard *2
Girls (DLake remix) – Beastie Boys

Other people listen to music at work, but I find it hard to concentrate on the spreadsheets, and the questions, so the only music I hear during the day is hold music, humming or the occasional song chat. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but after one person has hum/sung, a song others tend to sing it too… today was:

Einstein-A-Go-Go – Landscape
Indiana Jones Theme
Letters – Abel Korzeniowski (from the W.E soundtrack)
something by Katy B that no one could name
I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Rod Stewart
Wild Thing – The Troggs
Rock the Casbah – the Clash
Soul Limbo – Booker T and the M.G.s
Live It Up – Mental As Anything
I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons

(there was more Mumford and Sons, as a few people are going to see them tomorrow, but one is enough for this i think… )

Some of these songs are easily explainable (there was cricket chat, so Soul Limbo cropped up, someone asked “when’s Caz Back?”, Rock the Casbah followed) but i have NO IDEA where that Mental As Anything song came from.

The journey home was one of the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders releases – The Whole Burbank Catalog (1972)… I’m playing records at a gig in a couple of weeks, so was looking for suitable things to play – the Jerry Garcia, Seals & Crofts and Todd Rundgren songs are on the list:

Sgt Preston – Funky Fruit
The Wheel – Jerry Garcia
It Hurts To Want It So Bad – Arthur Alexander
Fingers and Toes – Allen Toussaint
Lavender Dream – Jackie Lomax
Eagle Rock – Daddy Cool
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round – Heavy Herbs
Memphis – Faces
Nena – Malo
Show Me A Smile – Fleetwood Mac
Sweet Dream – Jethro Tull
Be My Lover – Alice Cooper
Inner Sanctum – Wonderous Weeds
Get It On – T Rex
Click Clack – Captain Beefheart
Biology II – halfnelson
Sudan Village – Seals & Crofts
A Long Time, A Long Way To Go – Todd Rundgren
Sandman – America

Back home to get promos ready for a couple of forthcoming releases. Listened to the Nancy Sin record (the next single from the 7777777-2016 series) a few times before burning CDs for radio, also Pete had sent me one of the tracks from the new Great Electric single, and Matt had posted a new Leaf Library remix

Room For Rent – Nancy Sin *2
Again and Again – Nancy Sin *2
Top of the Tower – The Great Electric *2
Marsangst (The Leaf Library remix) – Hologram Teen *2

and then to write this, i put on the soundtrack to Rollercoaster, i’ve been listening to it a lot lately – creepy fairground funk is my jam

Prologue, Montage – Lalo Schifrin
Magic Carousel – Lalo Schifrin
Portrait of Harry – Lalo Schifrin
Movement from String Quartette – Lalo Schifrin
Penny Arcade – Lalo Stiffen
Cotton Candy – Lalo Schifrin
One Track Mind – Lalo Schifrin
Merry-Go-Round – Lalo Schifrin
Calliope of Death – Lalo Schifrin
Rollercoaster – Lalo Schifrin
Children’s Ride – Lalo Schifrin
Another Side of Harry – Lalo Schifrin
Apple Turnover – Lalo Schifrin
Magic Carousel – Lalo Schifrin

And now, as it’s 10pm i’m going to make some tea, and watch an episode of Buffy. Without any doubt, this is the song i have heard most this year

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Theme – NerfHerder

If you enjoyed John’s example and would like to tell your own Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive, posting something to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive to your posts. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 9 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any question about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to John for his hugely detailed and interesting story. If you’d like to follow his activities, you’ll find him as WIAIWYA on Twitter. We’ll have another story for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown -10 days to go

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of How, Where and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

Today we’re starting the final countdown to Harkive 2016. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening.

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Kicking things off for 2016 is Rebecca Garnham, aka CarBootVinylDiaries, a music-obsessive who loves looking for vinyl bargains at the car boot sales and charity shops along her local Suffolk coast. Rebecca blogs and tweets her experiences with vinyl hunting, and also uses the records she buys as the basis for her regular Mixcloud podcasts, during which we find out a little more about where each record came from.

Rebecca kindly agreed to write an example story for Harkive 2016 by keeping a record of her experience on Sunday 3rd July. Having done so, she then emailed the story to us, which is one of the many ways you can tell your own story on 19th July. Here is her story.    

It’s the best day of the week: Sunday, which means it’s car boot day.  Radio 2 is on in the car as we set off (there’s not much point having an in-car DAB radio here in the sticks or it’d be 6 Music) and Claire Balding has gospel singer Carroll Thompson as a guest, who sings something called When We Are As One.  As we arrive at the first boot sale Claire’s playing Jason Donovan’s Any Dream Will Do, which remains stuck in my head as we go round.

It’s a sunny July day and there are plenty of sellers.  A guy has a load of LPs priced at £4 each.  I fancy a few of them but their condition is only VG (Very Good i.e. with light marks) and he agrees to sell me three for a tenner.  I come away with albums by Ian Dury, XTC and the Doors, two of them doubles.  A great start.  He also shows me a few albums he has for £10 but I’m not interested as they’re pretty common and rather overpriced for what they are.

Next I visit the stall of a chap I buy from regularly, earning me a nice discount on my purchases, which today include albums by the Stones, Van Morrison and Traffic.  He chucks in an Elton John one I’d passed on due to a couple of scratches, saying I can have it for nothing to tide me over until I find a better copy!  He also tells me that the £10 LPs being sold across the way by the previous chap were his; he’d sold them to him earlier in the day for £2 each!  Car boot sales are full of chancers like this, especially since the recent ‘vinyl revival’.  At another stall there’s a box of records with a sign saying “Half marked price”.  The one at the front is a cheap 1980s Otis Redding compilation, which is easy to find for 50p or a pound, but this is labelled £38!  Even with half off this is crazy.  I take a quick lookthrough the rest of the box, only to see common Madonna 12” singles priced £19.  Bonkers.  I’m willing to bet that the stallholder took the whole lot home at the end of the morning.

We buy a set of brand new Coke glasses for two quid, then head north up the coast to the next sale, passing the Latitude festival site, where signs for production staff and those warning of queues next week have appeared along the roadside.  On the radio Jany Lee Grace is filling in for Steve Wright on the Love Songs show, but it’s still the usual bland mix of Luther Vandross, Wet Wet Wet and Emeli Sandé.

Another bustling boot sale, and I grab a few more records, including a Wombles Christmas LP and an Ink Spots 78rpm.  By now the sun is high and there are plenty of records gently warping in the heat, especially those spread out on the ground – a nice way to display them, but terribly damaging.   In the car on the way home I can’t help singing along to Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb’s duet Guilty from the album of the same name.  The LPwas a huge seller in 1980 and is a car boot perennial; indeed I spotted a copy this morning.

Back home I quickly tune in to the remainder of a great show called Charity Shop Classics on Manchester’s community station All FM, which I listen to via the internet with my laptop connected to the living room stereo.  DJ Gavin has a couple of young guest presenters with him, and they play their favourite charity shop finds including the Damned’s Eloise and Cocoanut Woman by Harry Belafonte.  I played a 78rpm of the latter a few weeks ago on my Mixcloud show, Car Boot Vinyl Diaries.  I enjoy a post-car boot bacon sarnie and cuppa while Gavin finishes his show with one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs; Black Diamond Bay from Desire.

I don’t file away records I’ve bought until I’ve listened to them three times, and I’ve a bit of a backlog to get through, so I put on a compilation called Sound D’Afrique II – ‘Soukous’while I write down the day’s finds and take some pics of them for my blog and Twitter.   Thelovely shimmering guitars and effortless polyrhythms are perfect for this summer day.  The sun promptly goes in.  After this I clean a few records in the kitchen whilst listening to some of the new Bat For Lashes album on Spotify via my tablet.  The rest of the afternoon is spent lounging around and listening to some more of the vinyl backlog; Deep Purple’s Machine Head and Disc 1 of Derek and the Dominos In Concert.  After a nap I have a quick soak in the tub, with 6 Music on the solar DAB we keep on the bathroom window sill.  Leila Moss is filling in for Jarvis Cocker on the Sunday Service, and in the space of 15 minutes I hear Rocket From The Crypt, Alice Coltrane and Cass McCombs, and it dawns on me that this diversity is what I crave, perhaps explaining why I like the randomness of car boot record-hunting so much.

There’s time for a record before dinner, so I play my new Ian Dury LP, New Boot & Panties.  At VG it sounds a million times better than the 50p copy I had to throw out recently, which turned out to be SLAB (Skips Like A Bastard).   After dinner I listen to Beyoncé’s Lemonade, on headphones from a file on my laptop ripped from the CD.   I’m definitely an album person, not a playlister or shuffler.  I tweet my day’s finds and have a few related chats on Twitter, then listen to Dylan’s Street-Legal album, also off the laptop through ‘phones.  I’d seen a vinyl copy this morning, but sadly it was STF (Scratched To Fuck), along with several other great albums including a horribly warped Harvest.  Heartbreaking!

Before bed I play the last track from Street-Legal again – the magnificent Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat).  Despite this, it’s Babs’ and Barry’s Guilty that’s whirling through my head as I fall asleep.

If you enjoyed this example and would like to tell your Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways too, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive, posting something to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 10 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any question about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Rebecca for her fantastic story. We’ll have another one for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.

Harkive 2016 – Tuesday 19th July – 2 weeks to go

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will once again be collecting stories from music fans around the world. This will be the fourth time Harkive has run, and 2 from weeks today we hope that you will get involved.

Since launching in 2013, the project has gathered over 8,000 unique stories, creating a unique snapshot of how, where and why we listen to music. We’d like Harkive 2016 to be the biggest one yet, and you can help us do that over the next two weeks by spreading the word, on and offline, amongst your family, friends and colleagues. More importantly, you can help by telling us your story on 19th July.

If you’re new to Harkive, here are some of the things you need to know….

How, Where & Why

The project aims to collect stories about How, Where and Why you listen to music on a single day. We’re interested in the places and situations you find yourself in, the technologies, devices and formats you use, and the way that music makes you feel. It’s quite hard to describe all of that without telling us What you’re listening to, so please do include that also, but remember that it’s more about telling us your experiences than providing a list of songs.

Contributing Is Easy

We’ve aimed to make the process of telling your story as easy as possible, and because everyone is different you can contribute your story in a variety of ways. Hopefully there is one that suits your online habits already, and you won’t need to go too far out of your way to tell your story. You can post to social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instragram and Tumblr simply by adding the #harkive hashtag to your posts, or you can email your story to us. A full list of the ways you can tell your story is available on the How To Contribute page.

Prizes

Just as in previous years, we’re really grateful to a number of record labels, artists, festivals and other organisations and individuals who have kindly donated items to the Harkive prize draw. Anyone contributing their story on 19th July will be automatically entered and the winners will be chosen at random shortly after Harkive day.

Example Contributions

Each year, in the run up to the big day, we post example contributions from interesting people working in and around music. In the past we’ve had musicians, journalists, technologists and academics, and you can read some of these over on the Examples page. This year we have some really interesting people lined up, and we’ll start posting these here to the blog from next week, so stay tuned.

Explore The Data – Real-Time Visualisations – Harkive API

New for Harkive 2016 is our API. This provides developers with access to elements to the data collected (NB: personal information is excluded from this), allowing for real-time data visualisations on 19th July and beyond. More info on this very soon, but we’re quite excited by this. In the meantime, if you are curious about the things people said about their music listening in previous years you can search through the Tweets from 2013-15 using the Harkive Data Explorer.

Ask Us Anything

If you have any questions about Harkive, or would like to get involved in any way, please do drop a line to info@harkive.org and we’ll get back to you. You can also find out more on the About and FAQ pages.

If you’d like to talk to us on social media, or share information about the project that way, you follow us on Twitter, or Like our Facebook page, or search find us on a variety of other platforms.

On Tuesday 19th July 2016 the world will be listening. Do join us by telling Harkive your story.

Thank you!

Harkive 2016 – Tuesday 19th July – 4 weeks today

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Harkive 2016 will be taking place on Tuesday 19th July, which just is 4 weeks from today. We do hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive the story of your music listening day.

After gathering over 8,000 stories from music listeners since launching in 2013, Harkive will be returning for its fourth run and will once again attempt to mobilise music lovers around the world by inviting them to share the story of how, where and why they listen to music on Harkive day.

Over the next 4 weeks we’ll be posting some example contributions from a variety of interesting people who work in and around popular music. There are some fascinating people lined up this year, and we hope you’ll find the stories of how they listen to music as interesting as we have. Hopefully these stories will inspire you to tell your own on 19th July.

By gathering yours and others’ stories Harkive hopes to capture for posterity a global snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. You will be able to contribute your story to Harkive on 19th July in a number of ways: You can email the project directly, or post to social networking sites such as Twitter using the #harkive hashtag, or on the wall of the Harkive Facebook page. A full list of the methods of how you can contribute are listed here.

We also have some new developments for 2016, including the addition of real-time, interactive data visualisations on the day itself. More details on that very soon. In the meantime, why not have a listen to the brand new Harkive Podcast, which features in-depth individual listening stories from many different corners of the fascinating universe of popular music.

Harkive 2016 is just four weeks from today, so make a note of the date. If you would like a gentle reminder nearer the time, please do join the Harkive mailing list by entering your email address into the field on the top right hand corner of this page.

Finally, and if you can, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends, on and offline, and encourage them to join in.

On Tuesday 19th July the world will be listening…again: we do hope you’ll get involved by telling us your story.