Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to Audioscrobbler. Using an audio player plug-in, your music choices are collected and compiled into an overview of your musical taste, accessible from the Audioscrobbler website. The website also displays a list of neighbors--users with statistically close musical tastes. Friendster for music.

Groups are another interesting feature of Audioscrobbler. By joining a group (voluntarily), my music taste is combined with other members to create an aggregate musical profile of the group. Curious, I decided to look at the musical tastes of three groups--Mac, Windows, and Linux--to see if I could learn anything about the psychology of their users.

Presented with the top 50 favorite artists for each group of Mac, Windows, and Linux users, I first removed artists common to all three. For the record, those were:

Radiohead
U2
The Beatles
Modest Mouse
Pink Floyd
Coldplay
Metallica
Nirvana
Depeche Mode
Green Day
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Muse
Evanescence
Led Zeppelin
Franz Ferdinand
Tori Amos

Second, I looked at the top 10 remaining artists in each group. This should give us a good profile of OS users' musical tastes:

Mac

Windows

Linux

David BowieBushidoIron Maiden
BeckAlexisonfireRammstein
PixiesIron MaidenNightwish
周杰倫RammsteinEels
AirLinkin ParkNine Inch Nails
BjörkIn FlamesLloyd Banks
Death Cab For CutieElliott SmithDream Theater
菅野よう子NightwishBlind Guardian
Bob DylanIncubusPlacebo
R.E.M.Foo FightersDream

As somewhat expected, the Mac group features a definite indie streak. Many of these artists blaze their own paths, such as Bowie, Beck and Björk. After all, aren't these people who think different? Also not surprising is the political rebelliousness symbolized by Dylan and R.E.M. You think they voted Bush? Hell, no. And I'm willing to bet neither did your average Mac user. It seems anime is popular, too; Kanno Yoko (菅野よう子) is apparently a famous anime soundtrack composer. I have no idea why Jay Chou (周杰倫) has such a strong showing. I've never even heard of the guy.

Windows and Linux users seem to be pretty angry people, Rammstein and Iron Maiden being highly ranked on each list. Who can blame them? Linux folks like to claim moral superiority, and this irks Windows users. On the other hand, Windows users don't care about command prompts and compiling kernels, and this irks Linux users ("they should care dammit, freedom of humanity depends on it!"). But certainly their musical tastes must differ somehow. With so many artists in common I couldn't detect a difference, so I went back to the original top 50 lists and selected the top uniquely-occurring artists. What remains is the true "essence" of the groups' musical tastes:

Mac

Windows

Linux

David BowieBushidoEels
BeckAlexisonfireLloyd Banks
PixiesIncubusDream
周杰倫Foo FightersGrandaddy
Death Cab For CutieBlink-182梶浦由記
Bob DylanPapa RoachGoo Goo Dolls
R.E.M.KornA Perfect Circle
The CureAvril LavigneBen Folds
DJ ShadowRage Against the MachineMotorworks
The ClashBad ReligionStyles

The Mac group retains its indie rebelliousness (note inclusion of The Clash and The Cure). They probably have a hard time getting along with people outside of their "in-group". The Windows and Linux tastes are still hard to differentiate, so I looked up the "mood" of each artist at allmusic. If mood is any indication of the disposition of listeners then the results are oddly appropriate. Windows users are hostile, raucous, confrontational, nihilistic, angry and angst-ridden. On the other hand, Linux users are messy, cerebral, quirky, earnest, greasy and menacing. Well I guess that settles that.