EntertainmentMusic Streaming Trends from Spotify Reveal the Region is Feeling (a little) Happier

Dr. Upasana Gala: “We listen to music that mirrors our state of mind.”
Ahmed MansourAugust 21, 202017 min

As many parts of the region ease lockdown restrictions, new data from Spotify has revealed that streamers in the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are feeling more upbeat. That’s based on the music they are listening to now compared to a few months ago.

The regional and global figures have also shown that while tie dying, gardening, DIY haircutting, quilting and baking were major at-home activities were popular in the spring, in summer, road-tripping and staycations are keeping music fans in Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia busy with significant increases in relevant playlists created in each market.

Happier vibes…

Music Streaming Trends from Spotify Reveal the Region is Feeling (a little) Happier

Perhaps most interesting from the latest figures is that after lots of time inside and the global climate naturally meaning; less happy vibes for many, Spotify’s latest streaming data suggests feelings could be moving in a more positive direction. The data shows a shift in the overall valence – or “vibe” – of the music listeners are streaming around the world.

In July, listeners were streaming more upbeat music compared to previous months with the valence in Egypt up the most in the region, ahead of the UAE and then Saudi Arabia. If July was the “happiest” month so far in 2020 then we can point to April as the month where listeners were streaming “sadder” or more downtempo tracks.

Commenting on the data, UAE-based Neuroscientist, Dr Upasana Gala, founder of Evolve Brain Training, explained the science behind the latest findings, “A lot of the time we listen to downtempo music when we feel sad. We listen to music that mirrors our current state of mind. Music gives a voice to sad feelings in a healthy and positive way and sometimes can actually trigger happy memories. That in turn can release dopamine, activating the reward pathway in the brain, making the individual feel better.”

Dr Gala added, “The data suggests that a few months ago people were listening to more downbeat music, that would make sense as more people were at home and trying to mirror their emotions. Then as things started going back to normal they were probably feeling better, listening to upbeat music which in turn, is making them feel better still. Upbeat music produces more of the happy hormone, serotonin, in your brain.”

..but still a bit bored!

The easing of some restrictions has meant more opportunity to leave the house for many but with summer temperatures, school holidays, and working from home ongoing, boredom is a clear trend in the data. So much so that more than 127,000 playlists have been created with “bored” or “boredom” in the title between May 5-July 30.

Again Dr. Upasana Gala was able to make a clear connection between music and boredom and explained why so many are turning to their tunes, “Music can change your perception of time. If you’re carrying out a mundane task, listening to music as you do it will make the time go faster and also make the process seem less boring.”

Top tracks added to playlists associated with boredom are:

In search of cures for boredom and to enjoy the newfound upbeat feelings, it appears that music fans are taking to the roads and enjoying journeys away from home. Indeed Spotify has seen a 92% increase in the creation of road trip playlists from June to July.

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    In a similar vein, many people are likely staying close to home rather than traveling for vacations and Spotify has seen close to a 120% increase in the creation of “Staycation” themed playlists from June to July.

        • Finally and also of note, this year has seen many countries adopting quarantine measures including here in the region. Globally, there are now more than 1.3M quarantine themed playlists on Spotify, and some of the most popular track additions between May 5-July 30 include: “Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, “Bored In The House” by Tyga and Curtis Roach, “Be Kind (with Halsey)” by Halsey and Marshmello, “Lockdown” by Anderson Paak and fresh off Taylor Swift’s new album, her track “exile” with Bon Iver. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a special shoutout to those quarantining solo who may have been the ones adding Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” to these playlists — we hear you!

          Check out Spotify’s blog, For the Record, for even more details around the trends, we’re currently seeing on Spotify!

Ahmed Mansour

He's that guy who decided to throw it all and start from scratch! He has a lot of journalistic experience and he plans to pour it all on C-Town Chatter. He "slaps the bass" and his life's motto is "if it's too loud, then you're too old!"

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