I love Google trends, Google's shoddy beta pop-statistical tool. It's unreliable, worthless for actually measuring anything, fails to pick up small things... and absolutely marvellous.
Just like with the last two ERMs, its mainly useful for discovering new scenes. How you do that, though, tends to be a tad different.
Being a geek I'm a bit mesmerised by graphs and tables. Maybe that's why I like this service so much - I get stuck for hours putting in words to see what sticks. See The White Stripes' popularity slowly decline, intermittedly punctured by ever-diminishing album releases. Watch Bing Crosby, reduced to nothing more than his seasonal material. See the popular comebacks, the very brief trends, where international artists are most popular (Austria?).
Closer to the topic of this blog, it's brilliant to see exactly when trends and genres first explode. Take, I dunno, novelty dances. Or little regional genres. See the January spike in interest in Baile Funk? Or the seasonal nature of Manele interest? Investigate! I suspect they're both false alarms, but it's this kind of thing that can provide a good road towards a story or idea.
But the area I like most is the country table below the main chart. It's great at picking up regional scenes where you don't expect them. Do a search for hardstyle, for instance, and you can go on to search for the Estonian scene or the Malaysian one (see next post). And I must say I'm quite intrigued by the interest in electro house from Morocco. Wow.
This is exactly the kind of thing to get you kick-started. In fact, I just found this genre I simply just need to look up...