While listening cd’s in the pre-streaming era, I noticed that my favorite track was often the fourth. And it wasn’t just me:

‘Track 4. It is usually the one you want.’
– Elvis Costello

Is that really the case? The simply hunch led to some ridiculously subjective research into listening patterns, music production and confirmation bias.

Starting 2004, I began gathering data from my cd-players, aggregating it into a .txt-based db (no sql for real) on php. I tried correlating trends with record label, genre, sleeve color, blood type of bass player, country – to no avail. The data was inconclusive, though it did give some general insight into the original question. The first two tracks proved – as was to be expected – the most popular. But coming in a close third was… track 5, which was 12,4% (adjusted for album length) more popular than track 4.

Shocking. Track four isn’t the one I usually want.