Music Machinery takes a look at the coolness factor. Normally “coolness” is something that teenagers are concerned with, but I think the factor is inescapable even in other demographics perhaps excepting seniors. At least I’ve never seen my grandparents, and others over the 65 mark, embarrassed by their musical tastes. I don’t even think that having “musical taste” is part of their vocabulary, but that’s probably more a generational thing.
But we all know coolness when we see it, specially what’s uncool musically. From Music Machinery:
“It may be too hard to tell whether an artist is cool, but we have all sorts of ways to tell that an artist is definitely not cool. For instance, if lots of listeners really don’t want people to know that they are listening to a particular artist, then that artist is probably not too cool.”
What’s interesting is that when looking at the list of Last.fm’s most unwanted scrobbles and the music artists tagged as “guilty pleasures”, all are artist you would expect to see in such a list. This is of course very subjective, but it’s hard to ignore the consensus to what is agreed as uncool.