Streaming Intelligence 101: How Students Listen

It’s that fall semester feeling. As the air cools and the leaves change, summer jam playlists switch to Autumn Acoustic vibes on campuses all across the country. Here at Spotify, we’re always curious what college students are listening to — and what else our streaming intelligence can reveal about them.

This demo has truly grown up as the streaming generation. They stream to enhance and regulate every moment. In fact, more than any other media, they say streaming music is the one thing they couldn’t live without for a week1.

To understand this segment even more, we thought it would be fun to take a look at our dataset from schools in one of the ultimate college cities in the US: Boston. Here’s what we learned from five of the Boston schools (Harvard University, Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst) who stream the most.

College “Songs of the Summer”

We know that Drake’s “In My Feelings” was the global song (and dance) of the summer. But we can also tap into our dataset to identify the distinctive song of the summer at each individual school2.

Top Party & Study Schools

Our insights can also help us reveal the top party schools and study schools — based on who streams the most from party and study playlists. While we weren’t too shocked to find out that Harvard was Boston’s #1 study school, we also found that it was the #1 party school, too… so it’s safe to say they’re applying a work hard, play hard perspective.

Top Party & Study Songs

Of course, we can also dive deeper to see what they’re listening to in these moments. Last semester at Harvard, the top three party songs were: “The Middle,” “Nice For What,” and “Mr. Brightside.” Nothing too shocking there.

Meanwhile, over at Tufts, the top Party song was a bit of a head-scratcher: “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B.J. Thomas, from the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid soundtrack. (Seems like Tufts has some interesting parties.)

More Insights

But that’s just Boston. Our streaming intelligence also gives us insights about people in this age group throughout the country and around the world. One thing we know for sure is that when they’re streaming, they’re highly engaged — our research found that millennials are 1.4x more attentive when streaming music alone than when scrolling through social media. For more insights on this age group, check out our full guide here — and for insights on even more audience segments on Spotify, get in touch with us here.

  1. Ypulse & Spotify “A Day in the Life” 2018, US, UK, AU
  2. Spotify First-Party Data, June - August 2018, Student Premium Users. Data shows songs from each school that uniquely over-indexed in streams compared to the others from each university.