Spotify has curated playlists reflecting the local flavor of each stop on HuffPost’s “Listen to America” tour using location-based data to find out what people are really listening to in 20-plus cities. Check back for more from Sept. 12 through Oct. 30.
Kansas City may not be at the exact center of the 48 contiguous states ― that distinction is claimed by the tiny town of Lebanon, Kansas ― but it still has a lot of heart. The city known for its barbecue, beer and bargains isn’t short on culture: It claims a sleek new opera house, a jazz museum and its own ballet company.
A rich musical history here produced old-school stars like the jazz pianist Pete Johnson, singers Big Joe Turner (who famously didn’t really need a microphone) and Chris Connor, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and composer Burt Bacharach. But the city’s talent spans genres ― the rock group Puddle of Mudd came out of Kansas City in the early ’90s. Songwriter Jessica Harp, one-half of the country duo Wreckers formed with Michelle Branch, hails from here, too, along with singer-songwriter Jeff Black, ’80s rockers The Rainmakers, the cellist Melora Creager and a couple names in rap: Tech N9one and Kriss Kaliko.
But people in Kansas City love their U2. A Spotify analysis also found more than average listeners of a few indie groups ― Glass Animals, Marian Hill, Sylvan Esso ― along with The Lumineers and Blake Shelton. A handful of Top 40 songs that are popular here completes the list:
Spotify playlists for the “Listen to America” campaign were created by looking at each location’s most popular songs (streaming in the highest numbers at time of publication), distinctive songs (currently being streamed more in this city compared to all other cities in the world) and tracks from local artists. While many picks are data-driven, some songs are handpicked from data lists to assure the playlists reflect a variety of genres and decades, as well as a healthy gender balance.