As they say, the last week of the calendar year is the most wonderful time of year to engage in the age old Stereogum tradition of finding out which compressed music files you most prolifically snatched. They are always saying that, every year, right around now. And we oblige: This is a purely data-driven rundown of our “most popular MP3s,” based on download counts, aside from our original tribute to Is This It, Stroked, which we are no longer hosting because we ran out of licenses. (If you missed it, go hit up the internet and see what happens — it might be worth, ahem, trying your luck, barely legal as that is this it in this modern age. Soma.)
The spread here says some interesting things about your downloading habits. And since ’tis the season of psychoanalyzing your IRL family for the decisions they made over the course of the year, I don’t expect you to treat your URL family any differently. Have at it! For instance, there are qualitatively great tracks by somewhat smaller artists that performed so well, you probably streamed them and realized this before grabbing; this means you tend to be judicious downloaders interested in preserving your hard drive space and keeping only quality goods. On the flip, there are MP3s here by massively popular artists whose appearance on a list like this was practically inevitable, which means some of you are less discriminating, but also fair enough, as if you weren’t gonna cop a “Ni**as In Paris” remix. There are some buzz acts whose hype probably preceded them, suggesting you nabbed them on the grounds of curiosity; and then there are the more gimmicky stunt tracks, which you probably hit up for their novelty factor, or just because you really love covers of Chris Isaak and/or the prospect of a saxless Bon Iver. In any event, this list has provided an interesting and perfectly respectable take on the Top 10 Tracks Of 2011, and for that, I applaud your use of your WiFi connections this year. As does Zola Jesus. Lo:
Drake and Zola, your Download Prom King & Queen of 2011. Internet, if you are listening, my new year’s resolution for you is that you orchestrate a celebratory photo commemorating this coupling, in real life, sometime very soon.
Thanks for downloading so much stuff, guys. It makes us feel like you really like us/free stuff, and that’s what the holidays are all about.