Gracenote Music Maps: the songs that make the whole world sing

Say you happen to be hanging
out at a Starbucks in Turkey and you want to impress the exotic
barista making your latte. Stop for a moment, listen to the music and,
if a woman is singing, ask, "Is that Sezen Aksu?"

Even if it turns out to be Hepsi
instead, the lovely woman behind the counter will be duly impressed
with your knowledge of Turkish music.

The next weekend, you’re off
to Borneo and want to load your iPod with tunes the Malays love. Go
with the top two female vocalists in Malaysia.

I know it’s not a mix tape
made in heaven, but Avril and Mariah are among the top five most downloaded
artists in the country, according to my newest addiction, Gracenote Music
Maps.

You’ve probably used Gracenote if you download music. iTunes and
Yahoo! Music Jukebox, among others, use Gracenote’s CD information database
and software to let consumers look up track listings for recordings.
The company uses the search information to update its Music Map of the
top 10 artists and albums across the globe.

Wandering around the world,
the biggest surprise to me was that Linkin Park is in the top
10 almost everywhere. The grunge guys are No. 1 in the Czech Republic,
India, Bulgaria and dozens more. I’d be much happier in Denmark, where
The Beatles
top the list, or Luxembourg, in which Queen rules.

No, not that Queen. She rules
everywhere. This Queen. (Miss ya, Freddie.)

You can search the U.S. according
to state. As of Thursday night, the battle of the bands is The Beatles
vs. Carrie Underwood. I’m guessing the Fab Four
will recapture the States when the CMA glow wears off, but for now,
Underwood also leads the top 10 lists of albums in every state I searched.
Interestingly, one non-musician appears in most of the top 10 lists — I think
she’s outlawed in Mississippi.

Rowling is No. 1 in Utah, sharing
the list with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
. The whole LDS church is on CD?
Wow.

Fair warning: Once you start
poking around Gracenote Music Maps, time will disappear. But what better
way to spend the weekend than finding a new way to impress women?

What’s No. 1 in your neck of
the woods? Any surprises — or embarrassments?

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