While the rest of the world is rocking to Ed Sheeran and his Top 40 friends, I’m mostly picking up dreamy indie pop the likes of Purity Ring and Bear Hands. Ignore the fact that you may have never heard of Bear Hands for a second (but trust me, they’re good). Spotify told me what I like most in its individualized Year in Review. This nifty application grabs all your 2014 data and highlights just how, when, where and who you listened to throughout this past year.
I spent a good 17,337 minutes on my favorite online jukebox this year, 51 percent of that on the go, so says the Year in Review. I listen to a lot of Pandora and some Rdio so it’s a toss up how much of my life has been spent streaming music in 2014.
My top-most listened to playlist, “This is the sound. This!” includes a mix of new bands like Chvrches, Paperwhite, The 1975 and Great Good Fine Ok. My top five bands were BrotherTiger (it was actually just one song I played over and over. Good for running.), Haim, FleetFoxes, Stone Roses and No Joy. The great part here is I would have been relegated to the same (IMO) ho-hum soft rock everyone else gets on the airwaves had it not been for streaming services like Spotify steering me in the right direction.
But I’m not the average listener. According to Spotify data, more folks were into Coldplay, Maroon 5 and Frozen in 2014; typical fodder for your average top 40 pop station. Pharrel’s Happy went viral with the most shares this last winter. It was also the No. 1 most played song.
It’s fascinating to click and spin to see what different countries listen to most. In the United States it’s Childish Gambino’s “3005,” Estonia tunes in on Karl-Erik Taukar’s “Vasupandamatu”, Finland favors TCT’s “Ranelle.” The UK united with Take That, Calvin Harris and some good old David Guetta. You can see all the No. 1 songs from the British Isles here.
The Year in Review shows we were globally twerking it out to workout ballads from 5-7:30 pm in 2014 and enjoying Meghan Trainor’s Base this fall. Avicci’s “Wake Me Up” hit over 200 million plays this year and remains the most streamed in Spotify history.
Note the individual shout-outs to certain songs that went big. Chances are you’re adding individual tunes to your playlists and not entire albums on Spotify. The streaming service readily offers up info to artists and users on how many times a song has been played. Bear Hands top song “Giants” has been played 5.6 million times while Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” has been streamed nearly 224 million times on Spotify. A much less popular (but still very popular, this is Katy Perry) song on the same album “Birthday” has only been streamed 48 million times.
Favoring individual song streaming over entire albums changes things for both the record label industry and the Billboard top charts. It isn’t about sales of albums but streaming of songs. You may have skipped songs you didn’t like on CDs in the past, but the industry had no way of knowing you were doing that until streaming came along. Now, instead of just tallying up album sales, Billboard counts how many times a song from an album is played within on-demand subscription services like Spotify, Pandora and Google’s All Access. Fifteen hundred song streams are now the equivalent of one album sale.
Daniel Glass, who handles indie record label Glassnote Records, told the New York Times, who first reported the story, that this also helps newer artists who are more likely to get streamed than sell an album, “It’s been very difficult over the last two or three years to communicate the charts to radio stations,” Mr. Glass said. “I’ve been Scotch taping and Band-Aiding Shazam and Spotify, bringing in all this data for them. Now with this all-in-one streaming chart, it’s a much truer reflection of how much is being consumed.”
How do you listen? What are you listening to and do your tastes fall in line with the majority of Spotify listeners this past year or are you a little more like me? We’d love to know. Click here to get your Year in Review and let us know about your listening habits in the comments below.