Friday, May 09, 2008

Everybody loves Leo!


I've been spending a fair amount of time using iTunes lately, importing cds to my iPod. For those who don't know, when you click on a song in your library, a window in the bottom right corner shows what people who looked at this song also bought. It's called Listeners Also Bought. Today it occurred to me: I've been seeing the same name show up first in this list, over and over. Leo Kottke. Apparently, everybody who listens to artists I like also buy a lot of Leo Kottke's stuff. I've never heard of him, but he must be very big. Very big.

According to iTunes, people who like Creedence Clearwater Revival also enjoy Steppenwolf, The Steve Miller Band, and...Leo Kottke! Listeners who like swing also buy Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and...Leo Kottke! The versatility of this artist is truly amazing. Today I discovered that people who listen to Claude Dubussy also buy Leo Kottke! And that's not all. Listeners who like Pink Floyd also appreciate The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, and -- you guessed it -- Leo Kottke. This guy is also appreciated by fans of Regina Spektor, Phoenix, Eric Carmen, Dusty Springfield, Corinne Bailey Rae, Kaki King, Arthur Russell, Gotan Project, Scout Niblett, Hoodoo Gurus, Lost Souls, The Go-Betweens, Wolfmother, The Vines, Josh Rouse, Voxtrot, Mates of State and I could go on. And on. And on.

This frequency and utmost popularity of this fellow begs the question: just who is Leo Kottke? I consult Wikipedia: "Leo Kottke (born 11 September 1945, Athens, Georgia, U.S.) is an acoustic guitarist. He is widely known for his idiosyncratic fingerpicking style, which draws on blues, jazz, and folk music influences, and his syncopated, polyphonic melodies. His work is often considered part of the American Primitivism movement, partly because he was signed to John Fahey's Takoma Records label. Kottke has overcome a series of personal obstacles including partial deafness and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage to emerge as a widely-recognized master of his instrument."

I think Wikipedia forgot an important element to the enigma that is Leo Kottke. I'm pretty sure he's a hacker, and he hacked my iTunes so I'd buy his album. Pretty sneaky... .

16 comments:

Brian said...

Hacker? Perhaps. But take it from your guitar nut brother-in-law, Leo is also a 12 string guitar wizard. He mostly does instrumental stuff. Occassionally he makes the mistake of singing. But he's for real. He has been around "FOREVER". He pre-dates the Gordon Lightfoot era. Well worth checking out. Rock on Leo!

monoglot said...

We're so related. Remind me to tell you about my IMDB ratings conspiracy theory at some point. I've got proof!

Abby said...

I am intrigued by your music selection. Have I heard of half of them? No. Leo included.

Emily said...

Ab, I haven't heard of half of them either. But I'm exploring.

Jami said...

Emily,
You always amaze me. I love your blog! Now I have to go find out just who this Leo Kottke is! Happy Mother's Day.

linda said...

You could try listening to him. Here's a couple youtube clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwWBC_ZlLeE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnQTC5ICGik

masaqua said...

hey, i have been having the same ?issue? with leo kottke and itunes. it has become so rampant (i am searching as many different genres/artists as i can think of and leo kottke hits about 80%) that i googled 'leo kottke itunes' to find out if this is some kind of joke that itunes is playing. your blog is the first applicable non-commercial site that i found.
leo might have hacked itunes. or he might play live shows at apple headquarters during lunch hour. you never know. funny.

Emily said...

masaqua, bizarre! Thank you for backing me up on this.

Uncle Monty said...

Funnily enough I noticed the same thing a while ago, having never heard of Leo Kottke it occured to me that I have perhaps been living in a bubble for most of my life. Who is this musical genius that I have never heard of, what have I been missing all these years?? Further proof of an iTunes conspiracy, now playing in my iTunes - Personality Crisis by the New York Dolls. Listeners also bought....you guessed it.

Anonymous said...

You know how some fans are so geeky they take up valuable time with stupid BS to make a mark? This may be something like that.

scott said...

Oh thank you so much. I thought I was the only one who noticed this.

Hacker? Perhaps. My theory is that iTunes makes an extra special cut from sales of this guy's music.

Fans of Anti-Flag, Killing Joke, The Sisters of Mercy, Public Image Limited, and other great acoustical bands all love this guy too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been noticing the same thing and, like another poster, googled "Leo Kottke iTunes" to see if there were some kind of explanation. I'm glad I found your blog. It's nice to know others have wondered about the omnipresent Mr. Kottke. It's reached the point where I'm now alarmed if what I'm listening to DOESN'T bring up Leo Kottke's name.

Jeremy said...

I have noticed the same thing, even stretching into hip hop artists that I like. Weird.

irked said...

same problem. whatever he is someone has clearly bugged itunes. I sent apple feedback and hope you all do the same so they can fix the problem. it's just really annoying.

Thomas said...

thank God im not the only one who found this. it was making me nuts. at first i was thinking i was the only person alive who hasnt heard of him. i figured if this guy is this popular i HAVE to buy one of his cds. after sampling a few tunes i soon came to realized it just wasnt for me. hes talented, ill give him that but im not giving into this Kottke/itunes plot. i say we band together and take this Kottke fella down before he takes over the world, or even worse, the internet.

im pretty sure i can connect Kottke to Kevin Bacon in less than 6 degrees

Anonymous said...

yeah i noticed he was recommended for bright eyes and assumed he was some emo crooner but then his appearance on 'listeners also bought...' for smack my bitch up by the prodigy got me suspicious!
if it was someone better known i would think that the marketing guys had paid a handsome sum to itunes but leo kottke? surely not