Spotify’s annual exploration of the science of sound.

How digital audio amplifies listeners’ everyday experiences.

How do the sound waves that flow through our ears have such a captivating effect on our hearts and minds? And what does that mean for advertisers? We conducted first-of-its-kind biometric research to find out more about the effects of music and podcasts on the human body.1 For advertisers who want to engage their audience in any given moment—with the right message, and in the right tone—consider this your guide.

Learn the science behind how Spotify augments listeners’ everyday lives.

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SAS-SS-2023Report-LP-Inline-Section01-Mobile 221116Spotify0206

Digital audio is an all-day, everyday ritual for listeners, engaging them from morning through night.

Whether people are walking, reading, cooking, studying or sleeping, Spotify is an important part of their daily routines – and 63% of our study participants agreed.2 But Spotify is much more than background noise; it’s often center stage. While some listeners might multitask as they listen to Spotify, more than a third of study participants said they focus all their attention on the audio when they’re tuning in.3

Listeners’ physiological engagement with digital audio carries over into ads.

It’s one thing to engage with the music and podcasts in your ears, and another to engage with advertisements. But our research found that Spotify listeners’ high level of engagement stays consistent while listening to audio ads. That’s good news for advertisers: the more impactful the audio content, the more impactful the subsequent ad will be.

  • 60%

    of listeners’ ad engagement carried over from the audio content heard immediately before, including music and podcasts.⁴

Spotify boosts listeners’ moods—no matter what they’re streaming.

The physical effects of music on the human body need no explanation: We hear a beat drop or a bassline strummed, and before we know it we’re moving to the rhythm. But how do music—and podcasts—affect our mood? In our study participants reported that they felt better after listening to Spotify—regardless of when they listened, what they listened to, and what they were doing at the time.5 These mental health benefits may be an added bonus for some, but for others, it’s the whole point. Many Sonic Science participants reported tuning into Spotify with the goal of improving their mood.6

The music listeners stream on Spotify reflects their real life.

It may seem intuitive, but this is the first study of its kind to show clear evidence that listeners’ music choices correlate with their physical environments and activities. In other words: listeners’ musical tastes don’t exist in a vacuum. People have different physical, emotional and mental needs throughout the day, and they seek out audio to fulfill those needs. Spotify understands this—and can guide advertisers on how to best engage with people on our platform, at any time of day.

  • 73%

    of study participants agreed that they are open to listening to ads on audio streaming services, if the tone fits what they’re doing at the time.⁷

Spotify listeners remember the ads they hear—and convert.

Whether they were tuned into music or podcasts, Sonic Science study participants were able to recall the brands they heard very effectively. And not only do they remember ads—they buy products, too. One in five study participants reported looking up a brand or product online after hearing about it on Spotify.8

Learn the science behind how Spotify augments listeners’ everyday lives.

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Spotify engages listeners at every moment, making it easy to reach them at exactly the right time and place.

Our study shows how listeners’ engagement, mood, and ad recall all increased while listening to Spotify. We also include Spotify’s first-party data—aka our Streaming Intelligence—to show how listeners’ physical contexts are reflected in their streaming choices. And we highlight some of the ways different demographic groups engage with audio in similar contexts (spoiler alert: dads and their teenage daughters rarely work out to the same playlist). Here’s a sneak peek at our findings...

Working out

Whether they’re sprinting, spinning, or swinging kettlebells, listeners are sweating it out to Spotify. As our research showed, workout soundtracks usually have a high level of bounciness and/or danceability (think: hip-hop and EDM), which inspires movement and keeps motivation high. And millennials—who turn to nostalgia for comfort and energy—are tuning into ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s rock.
Creative Thought Starter

Ads are most effective when they emulate the style of the content that comes before and after. Otherwise, they're jarring and disruptive.

Listen to a song that matches this moment.

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We can all agree that commuting—whether by car, train, bus, or on foot—isn’t always our favorite activity. But Spotify listeners know that it’s the journey that counts. They use audio to add entertainment and a fresh perspective to their commutes, whether they’re traveling solo or it’s a family affair.
Creative Thought Starter

Drivers are unable to immediately follow calls to action when their eyes are on the road, so make your URL easy to remember. For podcast ads, leverage CTA Cards that resurface to listeners later on.

Listen to a song that matches the moment.

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Audio is the perfect ingredient for any meal, no matter what’s on the menu. The right music can turn tedious dinner prep into a family sing-along or an at-home date night into a romantic dance party. Cooking is also a moment when listeners feel creative and open-minded, so they’re more likely to be curious about new albums, artists, podcasts, or brands.
Creative Thought Starter

Clarity is key, especially when the listener is engaged in other activities. Make sure your message can be clearly understood by ear alone and isn't combined with other disparate messages.

Listen to a song that matches this moment.

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Want to land a message on the same wavelength as your audience? Sonic Science Volume 2 is full of top tips and tricks for doing precisely that.

Our study demonstrates the true impact of audio on listeners’ lives, serving as a constant companion throughout their days—from morning to night, as they cook, study, commute, hang with friends, and more. By understanding the highly personal role audio plays—and the effects both music and podcasts have on the human body—advertisers now have even deeper insight into what it takes to engage Spotify listeners in any given moment—with the right message, and in the right tone.

Download the full report to learn why context matters, how to take your ad further with immersive sound, and more. And when you’re ready to jump in, Spotify’s self-serve advertising platform, Ad Studio, makes it easy for any brand or business to create memorable ad campaigns that drive key business results.


  1. METHODOLOGY: Spotify partnered with psychophysiological measurement company MindProber to measure the electrodermal activity of Spotify users in the U.S. and U.K. Using hand sensors, MindProber collected participants’ physiological data over hour-long listening sessions as they tuned into Spotify throughout the course of a normal day, e.g. while commuting, working, going to the gym, cooking, and relaxing at home. Participants chose when, where, and what they listened to, mimicking their typical audio-streaming habits. During these sessions, participants heard music, podcasts, and both real and mock ads. They also completed surveys before and after each session to capture their activity, mood, ad recall, and purchase intent. Youth culture agency Archrival spoke with a sample of participants to gain deeper qualitative knowledge. Josh McDermott, Ph.D., who leads the Laboratory for Computational Audition at MIT, advised throughout the study.
  2. MindProber Post-Project Survey
  3. MindProber Post-Session Survey
  4. MindProber Technical Report
  5. MindProber Post-Session Survey
  6. MindProber Post-Project Survey
  7. MindProber Post-Project Survey
  8. MindProber Post-Project Survey

Learn the science behind how Spotify augments listeners’ everyday lives.

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