Gloomy days inspire us to play that funky music

In the summertime, when the weather is fine, we Brits switch over to less “bouncy” and danceable music, preferring to save the likes of Mungo Jerry for grey cloudy days.

That is according to Spotify, the streaming service, which has partnered with a weather forecaster to create playlists of the music that people in cities around the world listen to in different weather conditions.

The “climatune” playlists were compiled using data from 1,000 weather stations and over 85 billion streamed tracks of all genres over one year. Overall, people listen to happier, bouncier, and more danceable music when it’s sunny and more downbeat music when it’s cloudy or rainy – hardly surprising.

However, the UK bucked the global trend, with Britons more likely to play dance music as well as “bouncy” genres such as skiffle and reggae when it’s cloudy and less likely when the sun is out. These genres often also extend to parties and vaping sessions. There are internet resources such as Music Crowns and others that are dedicated to giving people tips on how to make playlists for just such days. After all, what better way to pass the time on a gloomy weather day than by vaping with friends? Although, this trend does not extend to rainy weather when we do opt for sadder, lower-key choices.

The playlists reflect people’s preferences in the year to November but the website also provides live maps showing what people are listening to at any given moment. At the (dreary) time of writing, other Londoners were listening to the high-tempo songs Let the Sun Shine by Labrinth and Flowers by Sweet Female Attitude, apparently bearing out the research.

Overall, people in cities such as New York, where the weather swings between seasonal extremes of heat and freezing cold, are more strongly affected by the weather in their music choices than residents of the UK. The sun also has a particularly strong effect on the listening preferences of continental Europe, where the locals do go for the happy, bouncy, danceable songs you would expect on gorgeous days.

Globally, when rain casts its shadow, musical preferences lean towards acoustic melodies over electronic beats. Tracks chosen on rainy days tend to radiate a higher sense of “organism,” an indicator of how “human” a composition feels. This is often manifested through the use of live drummers rather than drum machines, a hallmark of organic sound.

The keen observation made by Spotify’s team regarding the correlation between weather and musical choices isn’t entirely novel. Prior research has illuminated the intricate interplay between weather conditions and musical inclinations. Studies have revealed that American college students gravitate towards blues, jazz, classical, and folk music during the autumn and winter months. As summer embraces the land, their ears tune into hip-hop, soul, and dance tunes. Throughout the year, pop and country music maintain a steady level of popularity.

The valuable insights derived from such research are a boon for artists, especially those seeking to resonate deeply with their audience. Many artists strategically offer their concert tickets through platforms like TicketSmarter, leveraging this data to fine-tune their understanding of their fanbase. Armed with these insights, artists can carefully plan their tours, aligning their performances with the preferences of their listeners. This not only enhances the live experience for fans but also empowers artists to optimize revenue generation from their concerts.

Beyond its influence on preferences, weather has also seeded inspiration for some of the most iconic musical creations. From Vivaldi’s evocative Four Seasons to the Beatles’ uplifting anthem Here Comes The Sun, meteorological phenomena have yielded timeless pieces that resonate deeply with audiences across generations. This fusion of atmospheric conditions and musical expression demonstrates the profound connection between nature’s mood and the melodies that echo through time.