There Are Five Different Phases in Your Day, Each With Music to Match

New research has shown that music listening habits can be broken down into five blocks during the day. This allows us to add what we listen too as another thing that follows the circadian rhythms of our bodies.
The study was based on an analysis of more than 2 billion Spotify music streaming data points. It identified five stages of listening that most people follow through a 24-hour period.

Although we may not be listening to the exact same songs at the same times, many of us are switching up the music we listen to according to our schedules. Consider how music you listen when you wake up and the music that you listen to while you sleep.

In their paper, the researchers write that "our results demonstrate how music intertwines and our daily lives" and emphasize how even an individual's musical preference can be influenced by underlying diurnal pattern.

The five blocks are generally in the same order during the week. However, weekends see a change in the starting and duration of the blocks. This is because people don't have to go to school or work.

The data, which was collected randomly from Spotify users over an 8-week period, didn't contain any personally identifiable information but did include metadata about songs listened to including loudness, pace, and danceability.

Researchers noted that the average track loudness rose steadily towards the end, and then stayed constant throughout the day, before dropping again at night.

Tempo and danceability had a slow start to the afternoon, but then picked up during the evening - which is a sign we are all turning to our favorite songs to get us moving. These differences were not significant, however, which shows the variety of music being listened across Spotify's millions.

Another experiment with 89 volunteers revealed that many of these track selections were intentionally instigated rather than being powered on Spotify's algorithms. There was however no consistent pattern in preferences for specific tracks at particular times of the day.

Although music habits that change throughout the day are not new, studies such as this can be used to show how listening habits change across different populations.

This study shows how scientists can tap into digital traces left behind by apps like Spotify, Fitbit or other apps and use this data to find patterns and trends across large numbers of people.

The researchers concluded that "our results indicate musical preferences as defined by audiofeatures change cyclically, predictably throughout the day."

This research was published in Royal Society Open Science.