Obsession and Nostalgia: What Streaming Habits Reveal About Your Audience

Playlists are no longer just simple collections of songs. They’ve grown to become cultural epicenters, complete with their own communities. On RapCaviar, more than 8 million hyper-engaged fans keep up with the hip-hop world. Positioned as the 'UK's biggest street sounds playlist', Who We Be currently boasts over 201,000 followers on the platform and is Spotify UK’s flagship urban music playlist. And hundreds of millions of listeners streamed Your Time Capsule, a personalised playlist that took them back to the music they loved as a teenager.

When people follow these playlists, they put Spotify at the centre of their lives. The more they listen, the more we’re able to reflect today’s culture — and sometimes even shape it.

At this year’s CES, we're celebrating how our playlists have evolved to be expressions of culture and the deep engagement they drive with our fans, which fuels our streaming intelligence and overall understanding of our listeners as people.

Our data team has been working to identify streaming habits that can help us understand the many ways in which people stream. They started by exploring how much listeners discover new songs or explore new genres. Lately, they’ve taken a deeper dive into two more habits: Obsession and Nostalgia.

  • Nostalgia. What were your middle school jams? Everybody has their personal classics, the songs that got them into music in the first place. With Your Time Capsule, Nostalgia. We gave listeners a personalised playlist that took them down memory lane. These playlists were so spot-on, they felt like magic. And some magic was definitely involved...but we have to admit, it was mostly good, old-fashioned data and innovation. Our data team has been researching how people listen to discover what gives people that nostalgic kick, And they’re starting to uncover the behavioural differences between people who stream current jams from right now and more nostalgic listeners who stream from back then.
  • Obsession. Do you listen to the same song, nonstop, for three weeks straight? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Obsession drives music fans. That’s why Spotify playlists are built around listeners who are constantly seeking anthems from the genres they love. With RapCaviar and Who We Be, we’ve built cultural hubs for the most passionate fans to find the next jam they’re going to play over and over again. We’ve been breaking down at the different patterns listeners fall into — sometimes streaming one song on repeat, other times hopping around on random.

All of these insights fuel our streaming intelligence — psychographic and behavioural audience insights that go way beyond traditional demographics. By pairing our first-party data with third-party research, we’re connecting these streaming behaviours to real-world behaviours.

What does that mean for brands? You can take advantage of this streaming intelligence to understand your audience, how they stream on Spotify, and ultimately reach them with the right message, in the right moment. For instance, if your brand is trying to reach Travelers, we know from our streaming intelligence that they’re more likely to listen nostalgically. Use this knowledge to drive your creative, finding a way to incorporate old-school music that might resonate with your audience.

Explore the Audiences page on our revamped website to see how these streaming habits tie into our key audience segments — like Millennials, Mums, Partiers, and more. Then, explore the Ad Experiences page to find out the best way to tap into culture and reach them, whether that’s through a Sponsored Playlist, Branded Moment, genre targeting, or a custom approach.

Because people put Spotify at the centre of their lives, Spotify continues to be at the centre of culture. Your brand can be there, too.

Joining us at CES? Click here to see where you can find Spotify on the strip. If you can only be there in spirit, be sure to follow @SpotifyBrands on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.