Watch Springsteen Go Viral (For 40 Years)

What does it look like to go viral before humans could cut-and-paste links? Bruce Springsteen seems like a pretty solid case study. A Denver-based geographer, Brian Timoney created an animated heat map of the last four decades of the Boss’ touring history for his blog, Mapbrief: it shows how the touring radius ebbs and flows relative to record sales. He explains the visuals thusly:

Each red dot is a performance (data courtesy of the Killing Floor database) the intensity or “heat” generated is a function of the location of a show, the size of the venue, and inversely correlated with the overall population within 40km of the concert location. So for instance, a single arena show in New York City will generate less heat than a single arena show in Omaha, NE

There is a tapering effect applied so returning to a particular area within a few months will reflect a cumulative heat effect (**Click here for interactive map version)

What to make of this? Timoney writes that it shows the advantage of plying your trade diligently in one area for a while: in Springsteen’s case, of course, this was Freehold, the Stone Pony, Asbury Park, the Jersey shore and the New York metropolitan area. And obviously Springsteen’s connection to the Mid-Atlantic went beyond where he was booking shows, something that Timoney says the current Brooklyn band scene lacks. Read the full post for more on the information contained in the map (geographical wonk is fun!).

Via Open Culture.

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