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Did Spotify tell you to move to Burlington, Vermont? You’re not alone

three girls stand in a line with headphones on, laughing
Alessandro Biascioli
You and the girls listening to your Burlington, USA music.

Did Spotify tell you you’d do well in Burlington, Vermont yesterday? Are Noah Kahan, boygenius, The Velvet Underground and Big Thief heavily on rotation for you?

You aren’t alone. On Wednesday, Spotify released its annual Spotify Wrapped, which takes listener data and tracks top songs, minutes spent listening and — for the first time this year — who else in the U.S. is listening just like you.

In this year’s rendition, Spotify sorted listeners into “Sound Towns,” municipalities across the country where your playlists and top artists might fit in.

Hyper-pop and queer-coded hits seemed to send you packing for Berkeley, California. Plenty of indie listeners were sent to fellow New England college town Cambridge, Massachusetts. Some listeners found themselves headed for Provo, Utah; Ann Arbor, Michigan; or Tempe Arizona with their picks.

But if none of those are for you, there may be another option: Burlington, Vermont.

According to the New York Times, Spotify says there were 1,300 “Sound Towns” for the 574 million Spotify users to be sorted into. Apparently, about 0.6% of users found themselves in Burlington — a higher number than if users were sorted evenly.

Do you listen to moody indie and folk hits? Did you used to be on Tumblr? Are you sometimes a little sad? Are you (or your music taste) a part of the LGBTQ+ community?

If so, you’re headed to Burlington, USA (and we are so happy to have you).

Vermont's queer music scene

While examining Sound Towns, Spotify users started to see a trend: Listening to LGBTQ+ artists sent listeners to three popular locations: Burlington, Vermont, Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Indie-folk queer artists like Ethel Cain and Adrianne Lenker got you sent to Burlington. Hyper-pop queer artists like Rina Sawayama or SOPHIE got you sent to Berkeley.

Abbie Morin is a songwriter and frontrunner of the queer band Hammydown and has also toured with lesbian phenomenon Caroline Rose. They are also the organizers of the Burlington music festival Big Gay Block Party and Big Gay New Year.

“When I first got Burlington, I think at the moment it didn't really occur to me,” Morin said. “I was just like, ‘Oh, yeah I live there.’ But, now what I'm seeing is it was more of a coincidental, thematic reason.”

One artist they got on their Spotify Wrapped was Elliot Smith.

It's like some special Vermont sauce that people want to come here and make cool art here. And I think that's the reason why (Vermont) resonates with the people that are here, and especially the people that are queer here, that are like, so responsive to our stories being acknowledged and echoed back to us.
Abbie Morin, with the band Hammydown and organizer of Burlington's Big Gay Block Party

Geographically, Morin believes Burlington is in a unique position. For touring artists, it can act as a pit stop on the way to bigger cities like Montreal, Boston or New York City.

“The music world is a lot smaller than you would think," they said. "And a lot of these folks that are on these big playlists very much played the smallest rooms here in Burlington 10 years ago.”

One of the queer artists that landed many people in Burlington was the Grammy-nominated band boygenius — consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. Around 10 years ago, Dacus stayed in Morin’s house for four days when her van broke down.

“I do think that this is a place where, you know, folks feel at home, like touring musicians especially,” Morin said. “It's like some special Vermont sauce that people want to come here and make cool art here. And I think that's the reason why [Vermont] resonates with the people that are here, and especially the people that are queer here, that are like, so responsive to our stories being acknowledged and echoed back to us.”

Social response

And if you listened to Vermont’s own Noah Kahan this year, or boygenius’ Grammy-nominated album “The Record”, come on over — you’ll be in good company.

Like pop musician Charli XCX, who is (speed) driving over after a year of listening to The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed.

Search traffic for Burlington spiked on Google yesterday in response, with people in almost all 50 states looking into their new Sound Town.

John Flanagan, the communications director of Burlington City Arts, told The Washington Post he hopes this will inspire people to come and experience the inclusive arts community here.

“We’re excited but not surprised to see so many listening habits align with the tastes of Burlingtonians,” he told the Post. “We’re an eclectic and welcoming city that takes enormous pride in our vibrant arts and music scene.”

People also took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to bond with other new Vermonters. Here are some of our favorites:

Music recommendations

If you’re having FOMO from Provo (or another Sound Town), try adding these artists to your rotation so you can join us the next time around:

  • Arthur Russell 
  • Talking Heads  
  • Big Thief 
  • Arlo Parks 
  • Mac DeMarco 
  • Shakey Graves 
  • Sufjan Stevens 
  • The Backseat Lovers
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Julia Jacklin
  • The Strokes 
  • Samia 
  • Caamp 
  • boygenius
  • Indigo girls 
  • Car Seat Headrest 
  • Del Water Gap 
  • Peach Pit

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Corrected: December 1, 2023 at 12:44 PM EST
An earlier version of this story left out Abbie Morin's first name, which has now been added.
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