Spotify Sleep Playlists Include Some Surprisingly Upbeat Music

For some people, falling asleep is easy. For others, it’s a constant struggle and a search for the perfect bedtime routine to help them nod off to dreamland. Chamomile tea, exercise, melatonin, no digital devices after dinner, sleep masks, ear plugs – they’ll try anything. That includes sleep playlists, carefully curated by someone who assures you that this music is the key to final dozing off. But what makes for good sleep music? A new study analyzed hundreds of Spotify sleep playlists to find the musical equivalent of the Sandman.

Researchers from Aarhus University & The Royal Academy of Music in Denmark searched Spotify for playlists that people created to fall asleep to. They collected almost a thousand playlists, each with over a hundred subscribers, to find out if there is a particular type of music that people listen to when they’re trying to fall asleep.

Altogether, these playlists included over two hundred thousand tracks. As you might expect from sleep playlists, many of these were instrumental tracks, slow music, and not very loud. The biggest category the researchers identified was “ambient music”. But there were a few other categories of music as well, with some surprisingly louder or faster-paced tracks such as “Dynamite” by BTS and “Lovely” by Billie Eilish and Khalid.

This is not the first study to attempt to find out what music makes us fall asleep, and also not the first time that the results have been a bit unexpected.

Several studies have found that listening to music before bed could make it easier to sleep, but the music people prefer to listen to is not always the best for a restful night. For example, according to a 2021 study from Baylor University, people can wake up at night from having a song stuck in their head, so it’s not a good idea to listen to catchy tunes before bed. But of course people still did that. Sleep researcher Michael Scullin, who led the earworm study, told Baylor University that “almost everyone thought music improves their sleep, but we found those who listened to more music slept worse.”

Perhaps that also means that Spotify sleep playlists don’t actually include music that’s good for sleeping. After all, if people can’t accurately judge which music will help them sleep, nothing is stopping them from putting a catchy song on a sleep playlist or subscribing to a playlist with a few more upbeat tunes on it.

The new study from Denmark could only see which playlists people subscribed to – not how well the listeners actually slept. But in their research paper, the researchers suggest that there could be a reason for listening to faster and louder music before bed. “One could argue that music with high Energy and Danceability would be counterproductive for relaxation and sleep,” they write, “however it is possible that they could increase relaxation when considering the interplay between repeated exposure, familiarity and predictive processing.” In other words, people might just want to hear their favorite music to end the day.

So we still don’t know exactly which music is actually good for sleeping, but this study at least narrowed down what people choose to listen to before bed. And in the future that could help other researchers figure out what aspects of music actually make you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Spotify needs to profit from a music revolution

More disruption beckons as streaming growth slows and platforms struggle to make money.

Music matters to the wider economy. It was one of the first industries to be disrupted by the internet, and the first to repackage itself as all-you-can-eat rather than all-you-can-steal. The status quo has been the norm for a while: Napster was wound down two decades ago, its nemesis Metallica embraced streaming platforms more than a decade ago, and Spotify Technology SA’s subscription prices have stayed around $9.99 for years.

It’s time to think about the potential for radical change. For one thing, if this is the endgame for music, it would be a sad state of affairs. The streaming economy is crushingly unequal. It’s great for consumers and for labels and rights holders that have identified ways to live off royalties, as well as the most-listened to artists such as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. It’s been less good for musicians lower down the ladder.

Nor has it been good for shareholders of Spotify or similar standalone music-streaming platforms like Deezer SA, with tough competition in a saturated market threatening their pitch as high-growth tech plays. Platforms also have limited negotiating power with the record labels and rights holders who are keen to maximize the value of their hit songs and star artists. Spotify has never turned an annual profit; it seems to be in “perennial start-up mode,” as music royalties expert Phil Bird recently put it.

With inflation and economic slowdown eating into growth — MIDiA Research analyst Mark Mulligan estimates 2022 global streaming revenue may have risen by just 7% — and with profits at Spotify likely to be elusive for a few more years yet as it funnels more money into podcasts and audio books, what are the options to get out of start-up mode?

One is to hike prices, as Apple Inc. recently did. Music is very good value – paying $10 a month works out to a few cents per hour. Former Spotify economist Will Page noted in 2021 that the price of a glass of Malbec wine had doubled since 2009 despite offering no significant improvements for consumers, while songs cost the same despite an explosion in the depth of music libraries, personalization and algorithmic curation.

Higher prices would certainly enlarge the overall economic pie. It might even create some incentives to change the unequal way subscription fees flow into an overall pot that favors the biggest artists regardless of what individual subscribers choose to play.

But the halving of Spotify’s stock price last year indicates that this move is fraught with risk. Nobody can predict what price hikes will do to demand in a fragile economy. We’re close to saturation, with platforms only able to add subscribers by stealing from others. Spotify is up against big tech firms that view music as a loss leader, bundled in with other services.

Spotify seems to be pursuing an alternative course, disrupting its own core product by folding into a new kind of tech offering pitched as the “Spotify machine” to investors. Co-founder Daniel Ek’s vision is to create a platform for all things audio, from music to podcasts to audiobooks. More products would lock in more users at a higher subscription price, along with increased advertising revenue and more sophisticated algorithms and payment mechanisms to bind it all together. The plan has some eyebrow-raising targets, including a $100 billion annual revenue figure in the coming decade that would put it in the same league as Citigroup Inc. or WalMart Inc.

Yet here again, the risks are high. The story of different audio streams converging and fattening profit margins is taking a long time to come to fruition; Jefferies analysts expect Spotify’s gross margins to be below 2021 levels until 2024. The podcasting bubble has also deflated, with no guarantee that Spotify’s move into the spoken word will be profitable this year. Audiobooks look like yet another long-term journey. The idea that these investments won’t eat into appetite for music is also debatable: The potential for surprises when one platform hosts both Neil Young and Joe Rogan has become obvious.

There’s something even bigger potentially on the way: Artificial intelligence. ChatGPT and tools like it are already being treated in the way Napster was treated by Metallica, with lawsuits and boycotts. It’s only a matter of time before AI-generated music starts to invade music platforms — you can already listen to music aided by AI on Spotify — and the rise of auto-tuned vocals and drum loops in pop music have made humans easier for machines to imitate.

Of all the changes on the horizon, AI could derail all sorts of long-term plans. Record labels already accuse Spotify and others of filling their platforms with flotsam and jetsam, diluting the market share of star artists (and by extension their negotiating power) by accepting all kinds of independently distributed music. AI-generated music, especially if it didn’t require payouts to artists or labels, would upend the industry.

This probably wasn’t what the architects of the post-Napster revolution had in mind. It means governments and regulators will have to keep a close eye on what happens to the music industry; given one in three music jobs was lost during the pandemic in the UK, another wave of disruption would hurt. As Spotify kicks its machine into high gear, and as techies turn their hand to literal Metal Machine Music, things will get noisy.

Heardle Today: Heardle, December 29: Clues and answer for today’s music puzzle

Every day at 12 a.m. The Heardle app refreshes and new music is released. One thing to bear in mind is that the length of the track grows with each incorrect guess. This implies that the music displays itself more fully, making it simpler to guess. As a result, the challenge must be solved in the fewest number of attempts possible.

While the songs included in the game span from Kiss and ABBA to The Weeknd and Taylor Swift, it’s crucial to remember that the songs shared by the game are among the most streamed of the last decade.

However, both classic rock and modern music enthusiasts have an equal chance of solving the riddles and continuing their winning streak on Heardle. Get someone to play with you if you can’t recall the name of the music performed in today’s ‘Heardle’ challenge. If it doesn’t help, look at some of the hints.

Hint 1: The song was released in 2019.

Hint 2: The song is of the pop genre.

Hint 3: Lewis Capaldi’s single.

Hint 4: The length is 3:35.

Hint 5: There are three words in the song title.

Hint 6: It starts with the letter “B.”

Hint 7: The song can be found on the album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent.

Answer for Heardle December 29

‘Before You Go’ by Lewis Capaldi is the music included in today’s Heardle challenge.

The game, like Wordle, gives players six opportunities to guess the name of a song and its artist by listening to the first few seconds of a popular song’s opening. Heardle’s tracks vary from 1970s classics to modern-day hip-hop staples.


  1. Where can I find old Heardle games to play?
    Go to the Heardle game page using the app heardle. You can play any older Heardle game in the same way. To play another old game, right-click the Date and Time shown on the taskbar in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Is the app Heardle free?
    The agreement is part of Spotify’s strategy to make its app more interactive to diversify its income streams. The game’s appearance and feel will remain unchanged, and it will remain free for players.

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How music can boost African economies and increase regional integration

Before there was jazz, soul, R&B, rock, or hip hop, there was the beat of African drums. All 8 billion of us on this planet have our ancestral roots on the African continent, and the same is true for many of the most widely consumed sounds and rhythms that move us.

Music from the African continent continues to ascend to new heights, rapidly growing in prominence and popularity. Afrobeats is now one of the continent’s greatest cultural exports, with its instantly recognizable sounds often heard on street corners, shopping malls, sports stadiums, runways, and clubs around the world.

As a blend of west African music, jazz, and funk sang in English, west African, and pidgin languages that originated in Nigeria in the 1990s and early 2000s, Afrobeats has become one of the defining musical genres across Africa and globally. It follows in the footsteps of African music from earlier eras, such as highlife from Ghana and Nigeria in the 1950s and soukous from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1960s.

These and other African musical forms have gained prominence in recent decades, gaining widespread listenership through the efforts of African musicians. In the process, these musicians have helped promote regional and cultural integration by influencing musical styles across the continent.

With new partnership models, continent-wide advocacy and promotion, and leveraging digital platforms, Africa’s music could drive economic growth and continental integration.

African music goes global

Legendary performers such as ET Mensah, George Darko, and the Oriental Brothers International Band were key drivers in expanding the reach of highlife music. Likewise, the popularity of soukous has been propelled by famous artists, including Kanda Bongo Man, M’bilia Bel, and of course, the dynamic Papa Wemba. The unforgettable Manu Dibango is credited for popularizing makossa globally. And Fela Kuti was at the vanguard for Afrobeat music with its strident demands for economic and social justice.

Fast forward a few generations, renowned artists such as Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Yemi Alade are extending the prominence and recognition of Afrobeats across Africa and globally. Afrobeats and other emerging musical forms from Africa, such as Amapiano, are gaining popularity and can serve as models for further economic and cultural integration on the continent.

Amapiano, the isiZulu term for ‘the pianos’ is a muscial genre which originated in the townships of Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa in 2012. It combines local music influences with jazz and house music. It is increasingly transcending borders and entering the African and global mainstream, led by popular artists such as the Scorpion Kings, DBM Gogo, and Lady Du.

Amapiano songs now regularly trend on social media and have garnered more than a billion streams to date on platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. It is even influencing music powerhouse Nigeria, where several artists have recorded hit songs using Amapiano influences. These developments with Amapiano are helping to grow the music industry in South Africa, whose revenues in 2022 are estimated at 2 billion South African Rand ($117 million.)

Partnerships and collaboration for African music

The cultural impact of emerging African music genres such as Amapiano has room to achieve even greater economic impact. A recent report by Afreximbank (pdf) shows that music contributes only 0.1% of the GDP of the entire African continent. The Afreximbank report finds that while African musicians are enhancing their reputations on the global stage, they “still lack sufficient recognition and representation in the global market.”

While the contribution of music and other elements of the cultural economy to the GDP of most African countries is low, especially in comparison to other regions of the world, there are signs this could be starting to change.

There are potential opportunities for the music industry’s expansion in the region by leveraging new partnership models to secure support from the private sector and government. Collaborations with other sectors, including tourism, fashion, and sports, can yield further benefits for the cultural economy as a whole in Africa. This, in turn, could facilitate employment growth in the music sector, creating jobs for youth. While musicians and the private sector are driving much of this activity, governments in the region also have a critical role to play in growing the music industry across African countries.

Some recent examples of these types of collaborations led by governments come from Morocco and Zimbabwe. In Morocco, the city of Essaouira is renowned for its music festivals, architecture, history, and beaches. The promotion of Essaouira as a music and tourism destination is a result of partnerships between local and global agencies—led by the Moroccan government and the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), which designated Essaouira a Creative City for Music in 2019 and the Creative Tourism Network.

Earlier in 2022, Zimbabwe launched a five-year music strategy, which aims to ensure a sustainable music industry in the country as part of overall plans to enhance the visibility and standing of Zimbabwe’s cultural economy.

Equally important is the need for strategies to advocate, promote, and grow the African music industry. For instance, after a successful locally-led lobbying campaign, Congolese rumba was included on the Unesco heritage list in December 2021. In Zanzibar, for two decades the Sauti za Busara festival has been a platform for developing new artists and sustaining diverse music styles, with the event committed to spotlighting women and up-and-coming artists.

Well-planned regional events will also become important in driving cultural and economic impact. For instance, a collaborative contribution by Senegal, will host the eighth edition of Africa’s pre-eminent music awards ceremony, the All-Africa Music Awards (Afrima), in January 2023. This event includes collaboration between the private sector and government, with Senegalese President Macky Sall pledging greater support to the awards, citing Afrima’s role in engaging youth in the cultural economy and in promoting tourism.

Digitization in music

A diverse array of artists from across the region are now using digitization to reach new audiences and markets. Part of the success of genres such as Amapiano can be attributed to streaming and social media platforms. Digital technologies, including mobile and e-commerce platforms, offer another potential area for the music industry to contribute to further economic and cultural integration in the African region.

With mobile phone subscriptions at 46% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, and internet connectivity surpassing 50% in countries including Egypt (at 71%) and Ghana (at 53%), musicians have a key digital platform through mobile phones for the distribution of their music.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), one of the legacies of the covid-19 pandemic was the acceleration in the shift to e-commerce and digital platforms for cultural economy activities which includes music. Estimates are that revenue from digital music streaming in Africa will grow to $500 million annually by 2025, up from $100 million in 2017.

The way forward for Africa’s music

Diverse musical genres have historically served at the forefront of cultural and economic integration worldwide, and Africa is no exception. While platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, and TikTok are popular for streaming music from African artists, questions arise about the economic dividends per stream captured by the artists.

Here lies an opportunity for musicians, artists, the private sector, and governments to drive economic growth from Africa’s music sector. Investing in Africa-led and locally-owned streaming platforms could potentially address some of the bottlenecks around earnings.

Additionally, innovative financing programs from agencies such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and governments could stimulate economic activity and fuel job creation within the music industry. And as a medium-term intervention, governments can collaborate through platforms such as the African Union to pledge funding and other interventions to increase the contribution of music to the region’s GDP.

Since that first drumbeat was sounded until the present day, diverse music genres from across the African continent have served to entertain and inspire globally. They have served as the marching rhythm for social change while gaining greater prominence at home and abroad. And with the right collaborations and investments, the impact of a growing and more dynamic music sector will reverberate across the African continent.

In the years ahead, these actions will strengthen the foundation for greater integration and prosperity and serve as a blueprint for other sectors of the cultural economy in Africa.

South Africa is one of the top markets for K-pop in Africa


Photo: The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

  • South Africa is the top market for K-pop in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • There has been a 93% year-on-year increase in K-pop streams in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022
  • The most popular K-pop artist is BTS, their Coldplay collaboration song My Universe being the most streamed K-pop song on Spotify.

According to a press release by Spotify, South Africa is the top market for K-pop in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). South Africa’s number one position is followed by Kenya and Nigeria, respectively, states the press release.

K-pop, or Korean pop, can feature a range of musical styles, including “Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Disco, and even traditional and folk Korean musical stylings”, states the press release. K-pop is usually performed by Korean artists known as idols.

K-pop keeps growing

The popularity of K-pop has seen significant growth in SSA. “There’s been a 93% year-on-year increase in K-pop streams in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, accounted for by over 3 billion hours of streaming,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s head of music for Sub-Saharan Africa, in the press release.

Music markets like Nigeria have seen a 267% increase in K-pop streams, with Ghana seeing a 236% increase and Kenya with a 140% increase, says the press release.

The top three most streamed K-pop artists are BTS at the number one spot, followed by Stray Kids and BLACKPINK. The top three most streamed K-pop songs were Coldplay and BTS’ My Universe, followed by Left and Right by Charlie Puth, which features Jungkook from BTS and then Dynamite by BTS.

The reason behind K-pop’s meteoric rise

The popularisation of K-pop is congruent with the rise in popularity of South Korean culture, which has been propagated through South Korean television shows, referred to as K-dramas, according to the press statement. The South Korean series Squid Game has raked up 1.65 billion hours of streaming alone on Netflix, according to CNET. The viral hit Gangnam Style by Korean artist Psy may even be a contributing factor to the popularity as well, says the press release.

READ MORE | 10 years after Gangnam Style South Korean rapper Psy is happier than ever

National Geographic has attributed K-pop’s global rise to the pandemic, which also turned the world’s attention to East-Asian countries, states the press release. Another factor that may also be considered is increased internet access, especially with a youthful and online population, according to the press release. The press statement says that results from a survey that polled 400 000 global BTS listeners found that 50% of BTS fans are under 18 and 42% are between the ages of 18-29, indicating a youthful fanbase.

“In an increasingly connected world, on-demand streaming services like Spotify have certainly made it easier than ever to tap into another country’s music,” according to Okumu. “Streaming has become instrumental in not only enabling the discovery of African music abroad but also in exposing African listeners to new and unexpected sounds,” she added.

BLACKPINK’s BOOMBAYAH crosses 400M streams on Spotify to become the most-streamed K-pop group debut song ever

BLACKPINK has been known to break records and is effortlessly dominating the world of pop music with its addictive numbers. This time the K-pop band set another milestone as “BOOMBAYAH” one of their viral hits, surpassed over 400 million streams on Spotify. 

“BOOMBAYAH” crosses 400 million streams on Spotify

In fact, after having crossed 400 million streams BLACKPINK’S “BOOMBAYAH” is now the most streamed debut song ever by a K-pop group on the popular music streaming platform.

BLACKPINK’s “BOOMBAYAH” – 1.5 Billion views on YouTube

Not just that, the record-breaking hit BOOMBAYAH” was their 3rd music video to cross 400 million views on YouTube. Released on August 8, 2016, the video has crossed a whooping 1.5 Billion views.


The beloved pop song “Boombayah” by a leading South Korean girl group called BLACKPINK was released with “Whistle” as the group’s digital debut single album called Square One, in August 2016. The song has been setting records ever since its release, it not only peaked at number 7 in South Korea but actually topped the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart in just the first week of sales. In October 2020, “Boombayah” surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube becoming the first ever K-pop debut music to cross a billion views.

Stay updated with the latest Hallyu news on: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat

ALSO READ: YouTube announces Korea’s top 10 most-watched MVs and videos in 2022

Rising Pop Star Joe Daccache’s Vocals Reach New Heights On His Emotional Hard-Hitting Track “Relapse” | Music

Greensboro, NC. Pop artist Joe Daccache released his latest electrifying breakup jam “Relapse” with a commercial R&B/Dance backline reminiscent of The Weeknd and Robyn, Joe’s incredible vocal ability truly shines as he hits stratospheric notes and pitch-perfect runs. It’s no surprise he recently sang with LeAnn Rimes on Fox’s hit TV show “I Can See Your Voice!”

Not only does this song cement Joe as a powerful singer, but also as a budding songwriter, as he writes an instantly catchy hook with meaningful lyrics: “It’s not a relapse, I’ll be okay. Give me a minute, let it sink in, and I’ll remember that you’re a b*tch for leaving me” Joe wails on his memorable chorus. As he continues to put out viral songs and tour across the country, Joe Daccache proves he’s a force to be reckoned with. 

Sometimes the most painful moments in life can inspire the greatest art. On the inspiration behind the record, Joe discusses the lengthy healing process, “I noticed how the lows after a break up (this being my first) last a little bit shorter as time goes on, so in the midst of one of my deepest moments, I wrote this song to remind myself that I will be okay.

Since the first day is the hardest, overcoming that helps me recognize that I can get through any day that follows no matter how difficult it may be.” 

After sharing the stage with LeAnn Rimes on the smash network television show “I Can See Your Voice”, Joe Daccache has quickly been making a name for himself in the music industry. 7 years prior, Joe received the John Lennon Songwriting award, presented by BMI and Yoko Ono, and has since experienced many career highlights, including: writing an original for popular beauty product Garnier Fructis to use in their marketing strategies, composing the entire soundtrack to the gay coming-of-age Austrian film “Who Are We”, and being a featured artist in a concert hosted by Warner Music sub-label, Altadena.

With over 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and just shy of 1 million streams on his single “Body Talking” Joe earned placements on Spotify editorial playlists and landed a spot in a UK publication as one of their top 50 Artists to Watch. He has captured the attention of today’s top musicians and personal idols, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Wees, and former member of girl-group The Cheetah Girls, Adrienne Houghton. Joe Daccache brings light to the LGBTQ+ community by sharing his experiences and providing his fresh perspective on religion, sexuality, and culture; he is definitely one to watch. 

Follow Joe Daccache On: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Spotify

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How white noise took over the music industry – and put musicians out of pocket

It’s the fuzz of a TV tuned to the wrong channel; aural static, flat and monotonous, with no peaks or falls to puncture the sound. Welcome to the white noise machine – where algorithmically-created tracks designed to sound like nothingness have become streaming platforms’ biggest moneymaker. Downloaded by the near-billion – “Clean White Noise – Loopable with no fade” has been played 847m times, worth around $2.5m in royalties – chart success is now more likely for computer programmers than pop stars.

The tracks are “not super complicated to create,” admits Nick Schwab, CEO of Sleep Jar, which supplies ambient sounds to over 6m people each month. “They’re very easy, if you have the right software.” Primarily sought out by those trying to block out background sound while sleeping, or looking to focus during the day, the market is ballooning: the most popular ‘artists’ can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of views daily, easily earning revenue over $1m each year.

Sleep Jar works primarily through Amazon’s Alexa, connected to Amazon’s smart home devices, offering noises white (“like TV static”), the growingly popular brown (“more bassy”) and pink (“kind of inbetween”). Schwab “accidentally created this business” after being lumped with a noisy neighbour six years ago, and began using a startup development kit to customise his Echo Dot smart device to play ambient sound. He published the results of his experiment online in 2016, and Sleep Jar became a hit; just the thing, seemingly, for our loud, distracted times.

The service now offers over 102 tracks, from multi-frequency static to crackling fireplaces, fans and babbling brooks. “We spend a lot of time mastering our sounds,” Schwab says. Making downloadable ambient noise is a two-part formula: the first objective is “making sure that the looping is seamless, or as seamless as we can make it” – that is to say that the point at which the track repeats appears imperceptible. The second is “making sure that our volume levels are consistent across all the sounds we offer; it’s super important.” And that’s pretty much that; there are no star producers that industry insiders are fighting over themselves to work with (“I wouldn’t say there’s one composer of white noise who really stands out”), or impromptu jam sessions seeking to hash out ambient magic.

Perhaps a lack of star power goes with the territory – standing out is the opposite of white noise’s modus operandi. Musical development is also not part of the plan: the goal here is for the ambient tracks of today “to remain a constant,” Schwab says, rather than trying to push genre boundaries. They vary so little, in fact, that one’s hearing is the only thing setting them apart; lower frequency sounds become more appealing as we age, as the higher register becomes out of reach. If we all had the same hearing ability, there could effectively be one white noise track for all, Schwab says, so indistinct are each from the other.

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