This Project..

When people think of Texas music the first thought that comes to mind is country. However, there is not one, two or three genres of music, which could describe the state. Texas is the birthplace of Western Swing and Tex-Mex. Texas Historical Association says the state's music is also influenced by Czech and German settlers. We thought what better way to understand the kinds of music coming out of Texas, than by looking at artists who are playing in Austin. We looked at Spotify's API to understand how Texas artists compare to other artists in the U.S. We wanted to know whether their popularity reached beyond the state's border. We also went to performances in Austin to capture some of the city's live music scene. Here is a link to performances we saw in Austin.

We interviewed artists and asked them what would they describe as their sound. Even though each artists' style was different from one another, they all said growing up in Austin or in West Texas influenced their music. This is where they found inspiration, soul and self-expression. We hope you learn a little bit more about Texas music. Enjoy.

We were able to gather information from Spotify’s API to to show listeneners' preferences from about a quarter million listeners that have a zip code associated with their Spotify account. We compared the regions by looking for the most popular artists based upon listener plays in each region. We looked for artists that have a substantial change in rank between the two regions. We compared Texas to the United States and found the top 500 artists listened to in Texas and saw which artists fell the furthest on the United States chart. Of the 500 artists, we found the top 25 artists and of those we graphed the top 12 Texas artists. We wanted to show how popular Texas artists are in the United States and what kinds of Texas music is heard throughout the country.

# Artists Rank in Texas Rank in U.S.A. Delta
1 Randy Rogers Band 369 3438 -3069
2 Lil' KeKe 422 3203 -2781
3 Josh Abbott Band 251 3041 -2790
4 Robert Earl Keen 398 2196 -1798
5 Selena 475 2029 -1554
6 Duelo 173 1738 -1565
7 Pimp C 54 1612 -1258
8 Intocable 141 1560 -1419
9 Z-Ro 87 1528 -1441
10 Paul Wall 436 1477 -1041
11 Slim Thug 228 1350 -1122
12 Bun B 325 1115 -790

A Night Out In Austin

This slideshow is a glimpse into some of Austin's music venues. We took photos of people and artists having a good time.

Malford Milligan

Malford Milligan, 55, is originally from Lubbock, Texas. He started singing when he was about 28. His family followed cotton from southern Texas up to west Texas. "I was beyond dirt poor. I didn't have lights until I was six," he said. Milligan said coming from Central Texas has definitely influenced his voice. He sings different styles of blues, soul and rock. He draws a lot of his inspiration from Otis Redding, a soul, rhythm and blues singer-songwriter, who is also from the country. "He wasn't a pretty singer; he just came out and grabbed you, but he always had so much soul," Milligan said. Milligan said being from Central Texas, chopping cotton and working hard has shaped his music.
Milligan said he wouldn't describe himself in a specific genre. "I'm just an old gravelly singer right now," he said.

Other Lovers

Lead singer Megan Fowler, 24, captures the audience with her sass and bluesy rock-n-roll voice. Fowler works at a pizza parlor to pay the bills, but she's an Austin artist. Fowler said it would be hard to describe the band's sound. "It's blues and rock-n-roll without it being country rock," she said. The five members who are all from Austin started the band three years ago. "Everyone in this town is in a band or plays an instrument. You have to bring your own shit to the table," Fowler said.


Spencer Alvis Cornett, 26, from Round Rock, Texas, described his music as very stripped down country with a little bit of blues. Cornett lives in the woods in an RV, to keep true to his authentic country sound. "I write more than I can think," Cornett said. Cornett, who started school in the fifth grade and dropped out by ninth grade, said growing up in Round Rock did inspire his style of gritty county music. Also being raised by a single mom with seven siblings and going in and out of jail did inspire his writing. Cornett started Boomswagglers seven years ago and writes all the band's original music. The Boomswagglers were nominated for an Independent Music Award for best song in alternative country. "He's the real deal," Boomswagglers guitarist Kyle Coroneos said.