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New Spotify Research Finds Genres People Love the Most. And That's Not Pop.

Photo by Raúl Nájera / Unsplash

A new study published by Spotify has revealed how on-demand music streaming services (like Spotify itself) are changing the way we discover and consume new music. By analysing the listening habits of one million Spotify users and streaming patterns of 282K newly released music, researchers uncovered some trends about genre preferences and the unique way users interact with newly released tracks. Some of them are indeed surprising.

One of the most unexpected findings is that new releases in genres traditionally considered popular, such as Pop, don't always dominate. Instead, genres like Rap, R&B, Country & Folk, and Indie Rock see higher repeat listening rates for new tracks. The study introduced the so-called “music track h-index” to measure this phenomenon, which looks at how many unique listeners stream a track multiple times. High h-indices in these genres indicate that listeners are not simply sampling but truly engaging with new releases.

Source: Spotify

And genres often associated with specific functions—like Classical music for relaxation—show lower consumption rates for new releases. This suggests that listeners might be sticking to familiar tunes within these genres rather than exploring new ones.

User Preferences & New Music

How individual user preferences affect new music consumption is another question Spotify has researched. It turns out that a listener's taste for new releases often differs from their general music taste. Using a year’s worth of streaming data, researchers compared users’ past listening habits with their current new music preferences. They found that the similarity in taste between new releases and overall music is notably lower, indicating distinct preferences for fresh tracks.

Besides, 13% of users consistently seek out new music. These "new music enthusiasts" show a month-over-month preference for newly released tracks, making them a key target for streaming platforms aiming to promote new songs.

Read the whole study at Spotify Research.