Serendipity Visualizes Simultaneous Listening Worldwide

Serendipity

For the past two months, we’ve hosted Spotify’s very first media artist in residence, interactive artist Kyle McDonald, who has built something truly inspiring. His creation, Serendipity, is an animated world map that shows when two people listen to the same song at the same time.

Yes, it’s a mesmerizing piece of art. It’s also true to life, based on real-time data.

In order to show up on Serendipity, two human beings must have started listening to the same song on Spotify within a tenth of a second of each other — basically, at the same time — in different towns, cities, states, nations, timezones, or even hemispheres.

Although they might not speak the same languages, live in the same climates, or believe the same things, they’re playing the same song at the same time. We’ve always known that music brings people together — and now, we can see that togetherness in real time.

“There are so many ways we’re connected to each other, but sometimes we forget, or we just can’t see it,” said Serendipity creator McDonald. “In person, it’s easy to see the features we share, or when we share stories in online discussions. But we’re also connected in more ephemeral ways, and we can extract these relationships with new tools. Even though listening to music can be a very private experience, I wanted to see how often this experience is shared.”

“I’ve heard estimates that half a million people are in airplanes at any moment, forming a sort of city in the sky,” he continued. “Maybe Serendipity shows a similar sort of never-ending worldwide music festival. I hope that when people watch it they feel something that reminds them of listening to music with friends, and they think about what music can do to connect people.”

Serendipity’s beautiful depiction of musical synchronicity between music lovers all over the planet shows us, maybe, just a little, how shared our experience really is.

This is what it looks like when the world listens together.

Spotify’s Media Artist in Residence program is run on an informal basis, but we might do it again. Interested artists can find out more here.

 

 

Celebrate 45 years of Woodstock and win!

Today marks an incredible milestone — 45 years since the Woodstock Music & Art Fair was held on a dairy farm in Bethel, NY.

Over half a million people came to the 600-acre farm to hear 32 acts play over the course of four days. Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, the Who, Janis Joplin and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were among the epic line-up of leading and emerging performers of the time.

Woodstock is known as one of the greatest happenings of all time  — so much so Rolling Stone hailed it as one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.

To commemorate this legendary event in history, we are giving away a copy of the Woodstock 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Revisited Blu-ray box set. The box set includes Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music, the four-hour Director’s Cut of the 1970 Oscar®-winning documentary about the landmark music event that features some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll performers in history. This Blu-ray box set release contains the complete 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition plus brand new concert footage from Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Santana, The Who and more. There are also new premiums – a reproduction of Woodstock Festival tickets and articles from Life Magazine and The New York Times.

Want to get in on the action? Re-tweet this tweet for your chance to win!

Please see the official Terms and Conditions here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect to some good vibrations.

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We can’t get enough of Libratone’s quirky Scandinavian design and innovative approach to sound.

Their network speakers use acoustic-filtering organic wool to fill any room with good vibrations. And they now feature Spotify Connect. Which, of course, is music to our ears.

Feast your eyes on the Libratone Loop and Libratone Zipp. Look out for the update on Libratone’s iOS/Android app to upgrade the firmware and get one of these beauties playing all your favourite Spotify tunes.

 

Win a Samsung Smart TV!

 

Call yourself a TV fan? Well, you are in for a treat – we have a Spotify-enabled Samsung Smart TV  up for grabs! To make this competition even more epic, the lucky winner will also receive two years of Spotify Premium.

Want to get in on the action? Simply head on over to our Facebook page, share your favorite TV theme with a Spotify link in the comments and you’re in the running!

Please see here for our official Terms and Conditions.

Need some TV soundtrack inspiration? Tune in here:

Emotional Music

musicemotion

We know that there’s always that song that makes us smile, take us back to an exact moment, or bring us to tears… Music can have powerful effects on our emotions and with this in mind, we worked alongside Jacob Jolij, Professor in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Groningen, to reveal some of the songs that trigger the clearest emotional responses.

  1. Happiness – Katy Perry, Birthday

Happy songs are up-tempo, have strong rhythm, positive lyrics, and are typically in a major key. The up-tempo rhythm of Katy Perry’s Birthday will encourage active movement and dopamine release, which is good for your mood.

Furthermore some research suggests that the major key unconsciously reminds you of a falling pitch – a feature which in both human and animal vocalisations asserts dominance and confidence.

  1. Sadness – OneRepublic, I Need

Sad songs have the opposing features of happy songs: they are slower and in a minor key – with the lyrics generally more negative.

The minor key present in OneRepublic’s I Need unconsciously reminds the human mind of a rising pitch, which is associated with defeat and uncertainty.

  1. Optimism – American Authors, Best Day of My Life

Optimism is what psychologists call a complex emotion – it is not ‘built in’ our system by nature, but it is an emotion we learn to experience over time.

Optimistic feelings require happiness, so optimistic songs will share many features with happy songs: major key, upbeat. However lyrics – such as those in American Authors’ Best Day of My Life – are more important here as they provide the additional context to build optimism rather than purely improving mood.

  1. Anger – David Guetta, Bad

Anger is a basic emotion. It is negative, and as such associated with songs in a minor key. However, as opposed to sadness, anger is what we call an approach-emotion: it involves movement, a dimension anger shares with happiness.

Combine these two and you’ve got a recipe for songs that may help in channelling our angry feelings: up-tempo songs with a strong rhythm, in a minor key, such as David Guetta’s Bad.

  1. Overcoming fear – Coldplay, Magic

Fear is a negative emotion, characterised by a stress response that prepares you for a ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction.

In the modern age, we often experience the same stress responses in situations where the ‘fight or flight’ response isn’t beneficial – such as an interview or presentation. In order to overcome fear, the very first thing you need to do is to minimise your stress response, followed by managing your internal thoughts. Music that can help you to overcome fear therefore needs to be slow, relaxing, but have major chords to evoke positive feelings, and lyrics that deal with your negative thoughts, such as Coldplay’s Magic.

  1. Excitement – Avicii, Wake Me Up

The hormones present in the body when we are described as being ‘excited’ – such as adrenalin and endorphins – mean that excited people crave music that is positive, usually in a major key, yet more up-tempo and with a stronger beat than your typical ‘happy’ song.

And when you’re dancing with excitement to Avicii’s Wake Me Up, the lyrics in excited songs aren’t as important as they are to other moods such as anger or nostalgia.

  1. Nostalgia – John Legend, All of Me

John Legend’s All of Me is an example of a song destined to be a nostalgic hit.

For many the sentimental lyrics will remind them of somebody special, improving the probability of linking the song to other senses – such as sights or smells – meaning the iconic 2014 hit All of Me is a reliable track to provoke nostalgia in listeners for years to come.

Take a listen to the top seven emotion-inducing tracks here and check out more of our mood-focused playlists by surfing the ‘Genres and Moods’ section in the Browse feature.

 

For German Music Fans, World Cup Victory Was Cause for Celebration

Yesterday, Germany stunned World Cup host Brazil with a 7-1 victory, breaking records and Brazilian hearts. But for fans of the German side, which will now advance to the World Cup final, the result was cause for major celebration.

And celebrate they did.

As we did for two earlier matches, we looked at how many people were listening to music on Spotify in Brazil and Germany before, during, and after yesterday’s game. The number of listeners in both countries dipped during the action once again, as people tuned in to the big game.

In Germany, we see a big spike in listeners just after the game’s conclusion, representing some late-night celebrating, before listening declined again as the country went to bed.

Even in Brazil, some fans cranked up music on Spotify after the game, as you can see from the rising yellow line after the game ends. However, they listened a lot less than they did the previous night, and several hours passed before Brazilian listening returned to normal.

The following chart depicts hourly listening in both countries, from the day before the match to this morning:

Germany vs. Brazil: A study in listening patterns

See the red spike? That’s Germany celebrating its victory.

Keep in mind that, unlike in our last story about World Cup listening behavior, this one concerns countries in much different timezones, which helps explain why listening drops off in Germany faster than it did in the Netherlands or Sweden following their victories. (In Germany, the game ended at nearly midnight on a Tuesday night.)

It’s also worth noting that the chart shows hourly listening. So while it might appear that the Germans started celebrating before the game was even over, the spike actually shows how much they were listening about ten minutes after the game.

But the takeaway is clear: People in the country whose team won at the World Cup were more likely to listen to Spotify following their victory, while people in the losing country listened less than usual.

To celebrate with the Germans, give our post-game party playlist a listen. Or, to commiserate with the great futebol nation of Brazil after its uncharacteristic loss, try this one.

Update: We’ve also created a couple of new German genre playlists, for those looking to celebrate with some German techno or German metal.

The Most Distinctive ‘Fourth of July’ Songs in 50 U.S. States

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day in the United States, is nearly here. Folks across the country are gearing up for annual barbecues, parties, picnics, firework displays, and, of course, the “American” songs that get queued up more on that day than on any other — although that music can differ, depending on where people live.

As a fun experiment, Paul Lamere, director of developer platform for Spotify subsidiary, The Echo Nest, looked into how the 50 U.S. states stack up in terms of what they listen to on the Fourth of July.

We suspected this would lead to an excellent playlist of the songs that are most core to the concept of Independence Day. But we were also just plain curious about what kinds of music the people in the United States play to celebrate it in their own way.

The following map (larger version) shows the most distinctive “Fourth of July” song for each state. This represents the song out of this playlist (methodology below) that the people in a particular state listened to the most on the Fourth of July in 2013, compared to how they listen on other days (see larger PDF version).

Distinctive Fourth of July Songs by State

Pretty neat! You can find your state (here’s that larger version again), and listen to its song, as well as all the others, in the playlist.

Paul also ranked all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.) by how much each one listened to all of that “Fourth of July” music on last year’s fourth of July.

Here’s how they stack up:

  1. District of Columbia (not a “state,” but scored so high we included it here)
  2. Nebraska
  3. Delaware
  4. Louisiana
  5. Utah
  6. Arkansas
  7. North Dakota
  8. Missouri
  9. Virginia
  10. Tennessee
  11. Massachusetts
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Minnesota
  14. Maryland
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Oregon
  17. Ohio
  18. Oklahoma
  19. Illinois
  20. Michigan
  21. Idaho
  22. Montana
  23. Wyoming
  24. North Carolina
  25. Vermont
  26. Colorado
  27. Indiana
  28. Georgia
  29. Kentucky
  30. Washington
  31. Texas
  32. Iowa
  33. New York
  34. Alabama
  35. Rhode Island
  36. New Jersey
  37. Connecticut
  38. California
  39. Arizona
  40. Florida
  41. Kansas
  42. Mississippi
  43. South Carolina
  44. New Mexico
  45. West Virginia
  46. Nevada
  47. Hawaii
  48. South Dakota
  49. Maine
  50. New Hampshire
  51. Alaska

How it was done:

We started with a big pool of all the music included in the thousands of playlists on Spotify with “Fourth of July” in their titles.

“That set of songs is this really funny mix,” says Lamere. “You get the core patriotic songs like ‘God Bless America’ and ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ but you also get summer songs like ‘Summer of ’69” and barbecue songs like ‘Chicken Fried,’ and then you also get whatever was popular on the 4th anyway, like ‘Blurred Lines.'”

To make the list even more “Fourth of July,” he looked at how much people listened to those songs on Independence Day in 2013, versus during the following week. This isolated just the songs that are really, really associated with just the Fourth of July, to build you this perfect playlist for July 4, 2014.

He also looked at each state’s favorite song, finding 46 of the 50 to prefer Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.”. One often sees monolithic results when looking at a state’s most popular anything, so to create the map, we looked at the “distinctive” song for each state — the one that people in a particular state tended to listen to the most on the Fourth of July relative to the rest of the year.

 

Spotify Loves Football

SpotifyLovesFootball

Music for life. Football for life. Everything you need to soundtrack the beautiful game.

This game is so much more than a sport. Hoping to share our passion for football with our equally-obsessed users, we at Spotify have put together www.spotifylovesfootball.com, a site dedicated to the inseparable relationship between music and the game. We have favorite tracks selected by football superstars like Wayne Rooney, Neymar, Kaká and David Luiz, as well as music superstars like Avicii, Shakira, Jennifer López or the Brazilian legend, Gilberto Gil -among many others. 

We have playlists to help you through moments of anguish, drunken partying, or simply out-of-control, madcap joy. And we have travel tips, music primers, a regularly updated feature section, and playlists for all 32 teams, with songs chosen by you to represent your country in our Spotify Playlist Cup. 

So bring on the national pride, the delirious screaming and the compulsive nail biting. Put on your favorite tracks and follow us all the way to the final. We’ve got a bad case of football fever.

Let the games begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Danciest, Fastest, Most Energetic Summer Jams from Over 5 Decades

Summer Jams 1962-2014

Summertime. The livin’ is indeed easy. And the jams? They come as natural as the ocean breeze.

In fact, people have been listening to summer jams since 1260 A.D., when the first documented summer hit “Sumer is Icumen In” dropped. That’s a whole lot of memories.

So, what makes a summer jam? We tapped into Spotify’s acoustic analysis technology, powered by The Echo Nest to find out. After doing some digging, we identified the most danceable, fastest, most lively summer songs. We created a list of the top U.S. summer hits dating from 1962 to the hottest summer tracks on Spotify today.

Then we ran deep audio analysis on each track, as reported by WNYC Soundcheck. Our technology allowed us to listen to songs on a pure audio level. This let us identify the following summer jam standouts:

All of these summer jams, from 1962 to this summer, share certain traits: They tend not to lean on the acoustic side. Instead, they trend towards electronic rhythms and melodies. Summer, more than any other season, features the most playful tracks. They are energetic and dancey, yet free and breezy.

You can listen to the summer jams from 1962 to 2014 here (special deal for new subscribers):

(Image courtesy of Flickr/befasterblog)

 

It’s a Super Summer of Music! Get three months of Spotify Premium for the price of one.

Spotify Summer Jams Summer. It’s about time.

With our warmest weather comes a hot offer for new subscribers: three months of Spotify Premium for the price of one. Sign up for this limited offer at spotify.com/summer, available now through June 15th.

That’s a full season of ad-free, on-demand music to enjoy on and offline, in the backyard or on the beach. In fact, anywhere that summer takes you! Here are some summer jams to get you started.

Whatever you’ve got planned for this summer, join ten million Spotify subscribers today with this exclusive offer of $9.99 for the next three months.

Get in on the action today and enjoy your Super Summer of Music! (New subscribers, sign up by June 15th for this special deal.)

This offer is available in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.