Anyone who has been on a MARTA train or bus can attest that most of the riders spend their commute with earbuds in, listening to their favorite music.
Now, due to the efforts of a Georgia State University professor of film and media, it’s possible to have a better idea of what other riders are hearing.
The Atlanta Mobile Music Project, created by Ethan Tussey, includes a communal Spotify playlist full of songs contributed by riders. The diverse collection is comprised of artists such as Migos, The Tempations, Hozier, Beyonce and Linkin Park.
Another element is a top 10 genre chart, which shows what kinds of music commuters listen to most. R&B and hip-hop top the list, and more people listen to podcasts than they do electronic or country, the chart shows.
Tussey hopes the project will be a resource “for people who may be feeling alienated or have never thought about what their fellow passengers were like.”
“They can come to this playlist or top ten chart and get a sense of what may be playing in the earbuds of the person next to them,” he said in an email.
The project was inspired by Tussey’s research findings for a book about people's use of mobile media devices. “The Procrastination Economy: The Big Business of Downtime” examines the four main locations — one of which is the commute — where people pull out their phones for a few minutes of distraction.
When his original study began in late 2014, Tussey advertised on MARTA with funds from an internal grant. He received more than 200 responses about people's mobile media habits.
This time around, he’s speading the word about the project through his GSU network, speaking with leaders in the community and by using social media.
On Feb. 9, 2018, the music that’s been added will provide the soundtrack to a dance performance with Storyboard P at MARTA’s Five Points Station. Storyboard P, who does a kind of street dance called “flex,” will discuss his work with professor Thomas F. DeFrantz of Duke University after the performance.
To listen, check out the playlist below.
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