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Rating '80s music for Sirius XM is making $40 the hard way

sirius_xm_first_wave.pngIf you think sitting around and ranking '80s tunes all day is fun and games, Stuck in the '80s Los Angeles correpondent Brad Williams has a story for you. He recently got suckered into ranking tunes for Sirius XM's 1st Wave station. Here's how it all went down:

The subject of the email was "Earn 40 dollars rating music for Sirius XM's 1st Wave." Forty bucks you say? Let's do this thing. I clicked the link and was whisked away to a survey page.

The survey played short song clips, accompanied by the question "Are you familiar with this song?" If I answered "no," another clip started playing. However, when I answered "yes," I was presented with another set of questions:

How do you feel about this song? (I love it / I like it / it's okay / I don't like it / I hate it)

How tired are you of this song? (Not at all / A little / Very tired)

I had been at it for a little while when I realized that the survey "percent complete" bar wasn't moving very fast.

In the end, I spent a couple hours over the next few days plugging through 640 songs, virtually all of which were familiar to me. (I haven't worked that hard for $40 since my days delivering the local newspaper.) As I made my way through the list I started thinking about what combination of answers would cause them to adjust their rotation. I decided that "I hate it" combined with "very tired" meant almost nothing, everybody has songs they don't like and of course they don't want to hear them. I also figured that anything in the "love / like / okay" range paired with "very tired" would get their attention. In spite of this ongoing meta-analysis I tried to answer truthfully - yes, I hate all Culture Club songs, and yes, I am very tired of them.

I also realized I was waiting for "Love Shack" to come up so I could say how "very tired" I was of it. So very, very tired.

After finishing the rankings I got a link to the list of songs, which I pulled down and put into a spreadsheet so I could analyze it a bit. The list contained 640 songs by 207 unique artists. Here are the top ten artists, by song count:

1. U2 - 21 songs

2. The Police - 18 songs

3. Duran Duran - 16 songs

4. (tie) Depeche Mode / The Cure - 15 songs

6. (tie) The Cars / R.E.M. - 14 songs

8. (tie) INXS / Elvis Costello / The Pretenders / David Bowie - 13 songs

(Looks like that turned into the top eleven because of ties. C'est la vie.)

If you're curious to see the full list, a spreadsheet with all the songs and some of my data wrangling can be found here:

Now all that's left is to wait 12-16 weeks for check processing.