Around the world, the most popular tunes this month will be depressing ones [Editor’s note: the link may be paywalled.]. From a report: Residents of the northern hemisphere might think that their moods are worst in January. Christmas is over, the nights are long and summer is a distant prospect. Newspapers often claim that “Blue Monday,” in the third week of January, is the most depressing day. To create a quantitative measure of seasonal misery, The Economist has analysed music consumption. Our calculations use data from Spotify, which offers 50m tracks to 270m users in over 70 countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas. The firm has an algorithm that classifies a song’s “valence,” or how happy it sounds, on a scale from 0 to 100. The algorithm is trained 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.
Since 2017 Spotify has also published daily tables of the 200 most-streamed songs, both worldwide and in each country. We gathered data for 30 countries around the globe, including 46,000 unique tracks with 330bn streams, to identify the annual nadir of musical mood. Drum roll, please. The global top 200 songs are gloomiest in February, when their valence is 4% lower than the annual average. In July, the perkiest month, the mood is 3% higher. The most joyful spike comes at Christmas. Strikingly, this February slump occurs in some countries near the equator, such as Singapore, and far south of it, such as Australia — even though their musical tastes differ. A few Latin American countries lack such a dip, perhaps because the algorithm sees Latin music as mostly happy. The icy north shows the biggest seasonal swings. Finland’s mood in July is 11% happier than usual. Overall, on days when a country gets one more hour of sunlight than its annual average, the valence of its streams increases by 0.6%. In contrast, wet days bring particularly downcast tunes.
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Source: Slashdot – Data from Spotify Suggest That Listeners Are Gloomiest in February