Rain Makes New Yorkers Listen to Sad Music
    • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2017

    • Posted by: Matt Guyotte

    Spotify has been doing a study for about a year. From November 2015 to November 2016, they have been taking listening data from different cities in all types of weather conditions and analyzing how it has been effecting listening habits. And for New York in particular, we are really affected by rain, for some reason.

    According to the statistics that Spotify pulled out from their time studying the listening habits of cities from November 2015 to November 2016, they found that the tunes that New Yorkers tended to listen to during these wet and dark times tended to be noticeably more downtempo, acoustic, and having generally more organic instrumentation.

    spotify acousticness graph

    spotify organism chart

    Essentially what this means for New York though, is that we're more likely to listen to Bon Iver and contemplate life's frail existence than turn up to Beyonce on these rainy days. I mean, this should come as no surprise. Rainy days, by the concept we have of them, are supposed to be kind of dreary.

    Turns out there's even Spotify playlists for the different cities in different types of weather, and I was able to see the the one for cloudy days. Looking at the songs here, the tendency towards acousticness and chillness this seems to be confirmed. It doesn't go completely into depression-land, but the songs that are picked are noticeably more tame than average. With songs like Radiohead's slow and meditative "Karma Police" and gnash's piano ballad of "i hate u i love u" rain definitely affects our mood in a very somber way.

    Even the songs that are more dance-oriented on the playlist are far from absolute bangers. The songs like Kiiara's "Gold," and Jeremih's "Don't Tell Em'" have more spacey, chill vibes to them than a high energy, "shake your ass at the club" dance rager.

    The other statistics that we're shown by Spotify seem to confirm this, with songs noticeably losing the kind of bounce that makes people want to dance.

    spotify bounciness graph

    On the inverse of all of this, this doesn't mean that when the sun is shining in New York that things get intensely happier and more energetic. If anything, these statistics show that sunshine and good weather don't nearly affect as much as rain and awful weather does. I guess we just really enjoy being unhappy more. New York isn't alone in this though. It turns that London and Liverpool actually experience more danceable music on cloudy days than on sunny ones, and for some reason Chicago actually gets energy from the rain.

    So even more than weather, culture affects a huge part of how we listen to music, and both weather and culture influence each other. It's the reason why Houston is so affected by the rain, because everything is hot and humid and sticky all the time, and the rain just adds more to that, which in turn has more people stay inside and listen to mellower music just to escape it.

    It's also why the grumpy New Yorker stereotype is a very real thing, and the music that we're listening to definitely confirms that. [Ed's Note: Hey, not everyone in NY is grumpy.]

    You can read more about the findings HERE.

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