Algorithm based on Spotify songs suggest February as gloomiest for listeners

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 10, 2020 Published on February 10, 2020

People turn gloomy in the month of February, going by the songs they listen on music streaming app Spotify.

The analysis, done by Economist, was based on how happy a song sounds on a scale of 0 to 100. The study took into account the top 200 songs played on Spotify, which offers 50 million tracks to 270 million subscribers in 70 countries.

The study quantified seasonal misery prevalent especially after new year holidays. The algorithm was designed on ratings of positivity by musical experts, and gives Aretha Franklin’s soaring “Respect” a score of 97; Radiohead’s gloomy “Creep” gets just 10. 

The global top 200 songs, played in February, belonged to the ‘sad and blues category’. The valence of these songs is four per cent lower than the annual average in February.

While in July, it is three per cent higher as the mood lifts. The most joyful range of songs is heard during Christmas.

Country wise preference

The February blues occur in countries near the equator including Singapore and down south-- Australia. While in Latin America, the dip is not evident as Latin music is light and happy.

The Northern Hemisphere shows the biggest seasonal shift in the mood of the listeners. Finland’s mood in July is 11 per cent happier than usual. The study also showed that the overall rate tends to rise by 0.6 per cent when a country gets additional hours of sunlight. In contrast, rainy days add more melancholy to the music list.

The report stated that the shift in mood largely happens because of seasonal change. 

Published on February 10, 2020
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