The Mood of Music: Spotify Streaming Trends Reveal the Arab World’s State of Mind

Via Frontiers Blog

There is a lot that you can tell about a person’s mood from the music they listen to. But even though this is not always the case on an individual level, it could be argued that the general shift towards a certain genre in society says a lot about their current mood. If you think this is interesting, we’ve got some interesting insights from the leading music streaming platform, Spotify, that reveal the current state of mind in the Arab World.

As many parts of the region ease lock-down 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. This 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.

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.

“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,” said UAE-based Neuroscientist, Dr. Upasana Gala commenting on the data.

Even though the data suggests that people are feeling a bit happier, other findings reveal that people are bored. As 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 still a clear trend in the data. This summer, more than 127,000 playlists have been created with “bored” or “boredom” in the title!

In a similar vein, many people are 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.

Indeed music can say a lot about a person’s state of mind, and the clear shifts towards certain trends definitely solidify such an argument. However, let us know in the comments your thoughts and whether or not you agree!

WE SAID THIS: What are you listening to right now?