Spotify study reveals songs most likely to wake people up in the mornings

Coldplay's Viva La Vida

Coldplay’s Viva La Vida

Music streaming site Spotify, in partnership with a music psychologist, has put together a list of songs that help people get going in the morning, which could make interesting reading for designers of advertising jingles.

The announcement:

November 16, 2015. As chilly winter is approaching, getting out of bed now may feel even harder. To kick-start those groggy mornings, Spotify has partnered with David M. Greenberg, music psychologist at the University of Cambridge and at City University of New York, to identify the ultimate Wake Up playlist scientifically designed to get you going, with “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay at the top of the list.

Spotify teamed up with Greenberg to determine which songs, based on the following musical ingredients, are ideal for getting you out of bed:

  • Music that builds: A song that is too vigorous from the start won’t help you get out of bed – it’s too much too soon. Songs that start more gently (even just for a few seconds) and then build, help you wake up more gradually.
  • Positivity: Once alert, you need to become motivated for the day to come; positive lyrics can get you out of a grumpy state and shift towards a feel-good attitude.
  • Strong beat: It’s not just the lyrics, it’s also the sonic elements of the music. Songs that emphasize beats 2 and 4 of each measure – usually with the bass and drums – with a BPM of approximately 100-130 will get you moving and further the feel good mood.

The Wake Up playlist, curated by Spotify and Greenberg, includes a range of tracks that fit the musical prescription. The playlist features classic tunes like“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, as well as current hits like “Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and for those headed to work, “Money On My Mind” by Sam Smith – all guaranteed to get you energized and out of bed.

“Waking up is hard. It’s a real struggle, sometimes even a battle, to shift from being tired and agitated to being alert and motivated,” said David Greenberg. “Science shows that music affects us in all types of ways, including emotionally, physiologically, and in the brain. The right music – like ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay with its positive energy and strong momentum – can help you wake up, get energized and tackle the rest of your day.”

Angela Watts, VP, Global Communications at Spotify, commented, “Music can heighten any moment of your day, whether that’s commuting, working, working out or partying. Spotify’s Wake Up playlist will help jump start these dark mornings, even before your first caffeine hit of the day.”

The Spotify wake-up list:

Source: press release


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