In February 2020, The Economist Magazine took data from Spotify to find out how listeners' taste in music, from sad to happy, change throughout the year.
How do they do this? Whether a song is "happy" or "sad" depends on it's Valence. Valence is another word for Spotify's algorithm that considers a multitude of factors to score songs from 0-to-100 with 0 being the gloomiest, and 100 being the happiest.
Example: Aretha Franklin's "Respect" gets a valence score of 97, Radiohead's "Creep" gets a valence score of just 10.
With data from over 30 countries, including 46,000 unique tracks with 330bn streams, The Economist's study tracked annual trends in music mood, by country, here are the results by country:
Some key figures to consider from the table above:
- In Canada, February is the month with the lowest average Valence of songs streamed
- On average, the gloomiest month is February, when average valence is 4% lower than the annual average. The chippiest month, globally, is July, when average valence is 3% above the annual average.
- Cultural factors need to be considered. For instance, a large portion of Latin music may be mostly considered happy by Spotify's algorithm.
We often talk about what days are best to release singles, EPs and the sort, but what if it was also worth considering what season to release new music, and what country?