If you’re thinking about music recommendations a lot, the latest blog post from Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest is well worth a read. In it, he explores the idea of ‘gender specific listening’ – “If we know that a listener is male or female does that increase our understanding of what kind of music they might like?” Lamere analysed the recent listening habits of about 200k randomly-selected listeners who’d identified as male or female, drawing up charts of their most popular artists. “No matter what size chart we look at – whether it is the top 40, top 200 or the top 1000 artists – about 30% of artists on a gender-specific chart don’t appear on the corresponding chart for the opposite gender,” he writes. And this means? “If we happen to know a listener’s gender and nothing else, we can improve their listening experience somewhat by replacing artists that skew to the opposite gender with more neutral artists,” he explains, while warning that this is only really useful when someone first starts listening. “After a new user has listened to a dozen or so songs, we’ll have a much richer picture of the type of music they listen to – and we may discover that the new male listener really does like to listen to One Direction and Justin Bieber and that new female listener is a big classic rock fan that especially likes Jimi Hendrix.”

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