Harkive 2015 – The Numbers


On 21st July 2015 The Harkive Project ran for the third time and once again invited people across the world to tell the story of How, Where and Why they listened to music on a single day.

This post is intended to give you a quick, initial overview of how Harkive 2015 went. I’ll provide some basic numbers before sharing some thoughts on how I thought Harkive 2015 panned out, before closing with some information on what happens next.

The Numbers

In total 536 people contributed to Harkive 2015, posting a combined 1,446 contributions.

75% of those responding did so via Twitter, with 403 people sending 1,229 tweets with the Harkive hashtag, which accounted for just under 85% of all responses.

In total there were 2656 Harkive tweets from 673 different accounts, meaning that around 270 accounts tweeted about Harkive without contributing to it. These non-contributory tweets mostly took the form of promotional information about the project (909), retweets of other peoples’ contributions (151), automated tweets from bots (32), or tweets from the Harkive account (335), which were either promotional or Retweets of interesting contributions.

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The remaining 15% of responses (217 in total) came from 25% of contributors. The new Harkive Platform provided 40% (87 in total), with Facebook, Email and contributions via the Submit form on the Harkive site providing the majority of the rest. Interestingly there were no video or audio entries this year (although there had only been a handful in previous years).

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In total 50,395 words were contributed to Harkive 2015, which is just under 35 per person. Stories posted to 3rd Party sites (such as blogs, etc) averaged at around 750 words per story, with the average Tweet being 16.5 words.

Below is a Word Cloud of those 50,000 words, excluding words used in almost every entry, such as ‘Harkive’, ‘Music’, Today’ and variations on the word ‘Listening’. This is a randomly generated cloud based on instances of words and is presented here as an interesting snapshot, rather than as anything conclusive. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to see that certain words appear with some degree of frequently; the word album appears more than the word song, for example, and certain music services and formats are more prominent than others. Beware of reading too much into this, however…it’s just a glimpse.


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Exit Survey

Of the 536 people who contributed stories to Harkive 2015, 105 have completed the Harkive Exit Survey, which is just shy of 20%, This is a great response and this additional information will really help us when it comes to the analysis stage.

If you did contribute a story in 2015 and haven’t yet completed the survey, please do take a moment to do so. It takes around 2 minutes, and includes space for you to include some optional feedback about the project, which will also be really helpful. We’ll post the results of this survey shortly.

You can complete the survey here: http://www.harkive.org/exit-survey


Now that we have an idea of numbers, and who contributed stories, we’ll be drawing names out of a hat next week to find out who has won. The winners will then be announced here, and on Twitter, and if you’re a lucky winner we’ll be in touch to find out how to get your prize to you. We’ll contact you via the method you used to contribute your Harkive story.


Some quick thoughts on Harkive 2015 ahead of a longer, more detailed reflective piece to come in the next few weeks…

Although overall numbers are down on previous years, this year has perhaps been the best Harkive so far. In 2013 there was a huge ‘spike’ in attention around 11am on the day of the project, where lots of people sent a few tweet and then didn’t engage with the project  further.  By late afternoon on Harkive day 2013, activity had slowed to a trickle. This happened again, to a much lesser degree, in 2014. This year, however, traffic on the Harkive site, and the flow of stories, was much more steady throughout the day.

This ‘trend’ towards a deeper engagement with the project can also be seen in the numbers – the average number of contributions per person (e.g. Tweets, Facebook posts, etc) was 1.98 in 2013, and 2.8 last year. This year that number held reasonably steady at 2.7, but there were considerably more ‘longer form’ respondents, with 15% choosing to use from places other than Twitter, compared to 8% last year. On Twitter itself, the average number of tweets per person contributing continues to rise year on year, from 2.07 in 2013, via 2.89 in 204, to just over 3.05 this year.

What happens now.. 

The 2015 stories will be added to those collected in 2013 and 2014. Some of the previous entries are already available in the Harkive Data Explorer, although at this stage we are only displaying tweets. The 2015 tweets, along with stories from all three years collected via other methods, will be added to the data explorer shortly. There are now 3 years’ worth of stories in the Harkive, and we’re beginning the process of building a mechanism for analysing these. We’ll keep you posted on how this progresses.

The Harkive Platform will increasingly be used as a means of disseminating findings and data – we hope to build in some nice features over the coming months that will enable you to engage with the Harkive data in interesting ways. You can, if you wish, continue to use the Harkive Platform throughout the year, recording any thoughts or observations you have about your music listening. You’ll find it at www.harkive.com

..and in addition to all that, we’ll shortly begin recording a series of Harkive Podcasts. These will feature interviews and reports on the progress of the project. Hopefully you’ll find these interesting. Again, more news on that shortly.

Any questions?

As always, if you have any questions about Harkive, or would like to get involved with the project, please do drop us a line: info@harkive.org

Thanks once again to everyone who told their story.