Finally, A Concrete Definition of What Constitutes “Hipster Music”

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You can find out what the hippest band is, but then you'll be a hipster.

Hipsters. We all hate them, but none of us can precisely describe who they are. The most agreed-upon, uncontroversial definition is "they like obscure music and bands I've never heard of" (except when they ironically like popular things, or unironically like popular things, because hipsterism is impossible to define). Pricenomics, because they are both hip and unhip, as we all are, quantified what makes hipster music. First, they determined if an artist received a positive review from Pitchfork, because Pitchfork is music's foremost arbiter of hipness that true hipsters hate. Second, they looked at how many Facebook likes the Pitchfork review of that band received. The hypothesis: hipster bands can be identified by a high Pitchfork score (8.0+) and a low number of Facebook likes (<5000). They came up with this graph: 

The most hipster musical act? Electronic musician The Field (who is terrific). The least? The National (who are terrific). This is a very, very interesting result, because The National score high amongst other (unscientific) hipster signifiers (beards, Brooklyn, complex instrumentation, tasteful graphic design, indie label, etc.), but are too popular, which is also interesting, because "The National" is no one's answer to "What's a mainstream rock band?" 

Other hipster acts include Fuck Buttons and Deafheaven, who are both terrific. Unhipster acts include obvious nonhipsters like Justin Timberlake and Daft Punk, who are terrific, as well as surprises, like Deerhunter, who used to be better (outing myself) and Chance the Rapper, who is just great. Haim, on the other hand, is just plain unhip and unterrific (according to me). 

The study was inconclusive on Vampire Weekend, who straddled the hipster/unhipster line, as they do in life. 

Image via rodrigoferrari.

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