Why do "Top Countries" stats include cities?

  • 23 February 2016
  • 4 replies

Why do "Top Countries" stats include cities? For example, Hong Kong and China are both listed in the Top Countries stats. If I look at my all time stats, it says that I have been played in 1,158 countries. There are only 196 countries in the world. therefore these stats are off and not very useful.

4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi Betarock, hmm, can you show us a screenshot where this is the case please? The number next to a city indicated the number of plays / likes, rather then a country count.

Hoping to be able to help with this soon.

Here are 2 screenshots. You'll see in one that "Hong Kong" and "China" are listed are 2 separate countries. Unfortunately, the list is too long to keep the section header "Top Countries on screen, so you'll have to trust me on that one. Screenshot 2 is of my overall stats, showing that I have plays in 50 countries and then "1,186 Other Countries." This is obviously wrong since there are only anywhere from 192-196 countries in the world. It' not like this really matters all that much, but it'd be cool to be able to say that I've had my music played in 170 of 196 countries or something like that. Thanks for the response!

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi there again,

Thanks for sending over the screenshots. The number is indicating your # of plays or downloads from other countries (depending what parameter you're looking at), not the actual number of other countries.
Apart from that, I have spoken to our engineers to get some clarity on how we generate the list of country options on site and can let you know what I have found. It is a little complex, but I hope it helps to shed some light on how this list is generated at this time:

- We rely on querying a database ( for generating the list of countries which we display on our settings pages for users.

- The above database pulls information directly from ICANN (; an organisation which aims to promote the standardisation of naming conventions online. Specifically, ICANN coordinates the efforts of IANA (; the group responsible for codifying data related to local time for locations all around the world.

- IANA relies on pulling local time information for countries which have attained an ISO 3166-1 ( code. Quoting from the ISO ( directly; “The purpose of ISO 3166 is to define internationally recognised codes of letters and/or numbers that we can use when we refer to countries and subdivisions.” That being said, the ISO itself does not define the name of countries; they rely on data provided directly by the UN, which you can see here:

In short, this means that we ultimately rely on data provided by the UN to define the list of options (and the “name”) for each country provided in our list of options on site.

I hope you can understand why we rely on internet standard protocols to provide this list of options for our users. I can certainly understand why you and other users may wish for us to change how we handle this information. I have therefore forwarded your request to our engineers to see if we can consider another option in the future e.g. a free form text box rather than a drop down list.

Hope this helps to shed some light on the matter.

I should have clipped out the number of plays info - that was not part of my original complaint.

This is a very interesting explanation. I compared my original example of "Hong Kong" and "China" being 2 different countries in Soundcloud's stats to this UN list. The UN list does not have "Hong Kong" on it as a country. So I am thinking there may be a glitch somewhere beyond just using this list and or maybe there is an expanded list or a sublist that your system is pulling this data from. (You do also have a "cities" list, so maybe the system is getting these 2 confused or somehow includes some things it shouldn't on the "countries" list?) Otherwise, why would your statistics say that I have been played in over 1,200 countries, if the UN list only has 756 "countries or areas" on it?

Actually, looking at that heading of the list you sent, "Countries or areas" - "Areas" indicates that they are not only focusing on countries. Very interesting. That still doesn't answer why Soundcloud is counting more of these than they have on that list.

Any way you slice it, these statistics that are labeled "Top Countries," are misleading. I am not going to shut down my account or anything. Bugs like this happen all the time. I am very glad to hear that your developers are now aware of the issue and hope that it is fixed some day. It would be nice to know that the stats that I am paying for are accurate.

Thanks for your attention, and timely detailed response.