TECHNOLOGY

Want a Playlist That Reflects the Weather? Spotify’s Got a New App for That

Music is life.

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BY Melanie Curtin - 24 Feb 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Contrary to popular opinion, research suggests that dreary weather days do not actually put you in a bad mood.

In fact, findings presented at the Royal Economic Society conference showed that it is actually on sunny days that people become frustrated - because they're often stuck inside at work. However, even that frustration is so minimal that the researchers said nothing needed to be done about it.

What is clear is that people like to listen to music that reflects the skies outside. How do we know? Because a joint partnership between Spotify and AccuWeather has proven it.

Spotify teamed up with AccuWeather, which has over one billion users worldwide, to see whether people's music choices really are significantly impacted by the weather outside. The two compared a year's worth of weather data (simplifying it to five conditions: sun, clouds, rain, wind, and snow) with 85 billion aggregated music streams on Spotify.

In exploring the audio attributes of music played in each city, they reached some pretty interesting conclusions. For example, in general on rainy days people tend to play slower-sounding acoustic music, while snowy days have people playing instrumental songs. There were also some fascinating geographic-specific conclusions and exceptions:

• In the U.S., New York City and Philadelphia are the most musically-affected by rain (they tend to get the most emo)

• Unlike almost every other city, Liverpool and Manchester play more cheerful music when it snows

• Dallas listens to the same kind of music whether it's overcast or rainy

• Chicagoans are excited by rain -- contrary to most cities, they stream happier music then

• Of all Australian cities, Sydney listens to the saddest music when it rains

• Sunny weather has an even bigger impact in Europe

The specificity reached even to songs. When it's raining in LA (as it has been for weeks now) people love "7 Years" by Lukas Graham. When it's sunny in Denver, people play "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper.

The new brainchild of this Big Data collaboration is equally as compelling: Climatune - a service of playlists based on the weather where you are right now. Climatune detects your location, then offers you a list with 30 tracks to fit the real-time weather.

What is perhaps even more fascinating than Climatune itself is the coordination between the two companies and the execution of a project that utilizes Big Data in such an accessible way. As more and more companies compile and parse Big Data, we can perhaps expect to see more collaborations of a similar nature. Who knows what will come out of such alliances?

Now if you'll excuse me, as a resident of rainy Los Angeles, I'm going to go listen to "7 Years" by Lukas Graham.