News & Insights

‘Tis the (streaming) season

Decorations, food, candles, family, and of course — music. It’s all part of the holiday experience. Our Streaming Intelligence tells the story of how music streaming has become an integral part of celebrating the holiday season all around the world thanks to the many connected devices throughout our lives.

There’s no time like the present to get into holiday music with the Country Christmas playlist, one of the top holiday playlists in the US.

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Streaming behavior changes during the season. For tech brands, these insights can inform holiday campaign strategies at a time of year when tech purchases are high. Reach an engaged audience in the holiday spirit by understanding how, when, and where people listen.

Holly Jolly Monster Mash?
Around the world, November marks the start of holiday listening. Last year, Spotify users in the US started streaming more holiday music on November 3, earlier than anywhere else, seemingly still in their Halloween costumes.

The rest of the world started increasing their holiday music listening in late November.

Maximum spirit
Although holiday music is streamed regularly all over the US, New York leads the way on percentage of holiday streams compared to regular listening. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is all the way at the bottom, with the least holiday listening in the country. Maybe it’s hard to get festive around a decorated palm tree.

Rockin’ around the Christmas TV
For most of the year, people use Spotify while they’re commuting, while they’re working out, or while they’re sitting at their computers. Once family comes to town for the holidays, all that changes. Everyone takes off their headphones and gathers together for communal listening. Listening through connected TVs, smart speakers, and gaming consoles sees peak usage during the holiday season as families take to streaming all their favorite classics.

In fact, globally, listening session lengths increase by 10% from October through January, as people gather together to listen around their connected devices.

Women take the lead on jingling all the way
Women tend to go all-out on Christmas jams — they’re 2.5X more likely to stream holiday music as men.

The new classics
Nostalgia is a huge part of the season, and classics continue to have an extended shelf life. People in the US seem to have a special attachment to Bobby Helms’ 1957 classic “Jingle Bell Rock,” possibly due to its inclusion in Lethal Weapon. Alongside those oldies-but-goodies, listeners are also enjoying more recent holiday offerings from artists like Ariana Grande. Mariah Carey, of course, remains a constant.

Get in the spirit, or not
Turns out, plenty of people are avoiding traditional holiday tunes and instead opting to soundtrack their season with other mood-appropriate music. Noise-cancelling headphones anyone?

Along with Christmas carols, romantic streams were also on the rise during the holidays — the “romantic” mood saw a 69% increase on Spotify from October to December 2018. It’s the mood with the highest growth in streams during the holiday period, followed by “easygoing” and “lively.” For marketers, it makes sense to consider targeting not only Christmas playlists, but also these moments.

Reset and recharge
When the holidays are over, it’s time to take a collective deep breath. Around the world, in January of 2019 listening to “calming” music increased in a major way. Help people stay focused and start the year off on the right foot by sponsoring relaxation-focused playlists during the first few weeks of January.

Sources 1, 4 Spotify First Party Data, Global, 2018 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 Spotify First Party Data, US, 2018 8 Spotify First Party Data, Global, 2018-2019

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