AccuWeather & Spotify Present ‘Climatunes’ Playlists

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Big data strikes again! With the modern advent of quiet background collection of a device user’s habits, AccuWeather and Spotify teamed up to analyze over 85 billion Spotify streams (anonymously) in over 900 cities. They compared the songs played with the weather conditions in those cities at the time and developed Climatune on the Spotify app.

According to the announcement from AccuWeather, some interesting trends emerged from the analysis:

  • New York City and Philadelphia listeners are the most affected by bad weather, with residents of these cities substantially changing their listening when it rains.
  • Chicagoans get excited by the rain and stream happier music.
  • Miami and Seattle listeners listen to more energetic music on cloudy days.
  • San Franciscans seem saddest on cloudy days.
  • Houston responds the most strongly to rain, with acoustic listening increasing by 121 percent when it rains.

Some fellow GeekDad and GeekMom writers decided to try out the Climatune playlists for our respective locations and we had a discussion of what our locales and weather conditions delivered us. When you select the Climatune link, the URL will want to pull your location. Once it knows your location, it will pull AccuWeather’s current conditions data and then predict a popular playlist based on previous users’ analyses.

This is what GeekDad Jonathan’s location delivered him on February 7th, a rainy day in Portland.

Jonathan’s playlist on a rainy day in Portland. Image capture: Jonathan Liu.

Meanwhile, at the same time, I had a sunny day in Colorado Springs:

Patricia’s playlist on a sunny day in Colorado Springs. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

There is a capability on the Climatune page to change the weather and see what music is playing in locations with weather different than your own. However, while you are able to choose the weather (only between “sunny”, “cloudy”, “rainy”, “snowy”, “windy”, and “clear night”), it’s a random selection of cities.

Hover over the name of the location and an option to change the weather for a fresh playlist will appear. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.
Oslo on a cloudy day. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

The Climatune webpage will present 30-second previews of the songs on the playlist presented, and if you’re interested in listening to the whole thing, select “View Playlist” and the list will open in the Spotify website on a computer, or your Spotify app on a mobile device.

My full Spotify playlist. I’m not a paying subscriber, so many of the songs remained 30-second clips. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer

If you are paying Spotify subscriber, you can listen to the full playlist for your location and weather conditions. Non-paying subscribers will receive many of the songs in full, but not all of them. You are also restricted in the same ways you are with other playlists: no ability to fast-forward or rewind, and the playlist will default to a shuffle-mode.

Here are a few other observations worth pointing out about the Climatune program:

  • This list isn’t curated for every location in the world. Only 900 cities. So if you aren’t in one of those cities, you might receive the nearest location,
  • This list isn’t curated for every weather condition. Only six, which I listed above.
  • I’m willing to bet that in the future, there will be more cities and more weather conditions added to the mix (such as excessive heat or excessive cold).
  • My sunny day playlist had some pretty odd selections, including “White Noise”. Which got me thinking about Spotify’s playlist selection algorithms. As a non-paying subscriber, if I am feeling happy on a sunny day and I select Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” as the seed for a playlist, there will be some songs included that might not necessarily make me happy. But those songs elsewhere in the playlist might end up in a future Colorado Springs sunny playlist. In other words, while AccuWeather might be saying “Colorado Springs listens to white noise on a sunny day,” that might not necessarily be someone’s choice of song. Just that it ended up in a pre-curated playlist.
  • There are some weird graphics that will accompany the playlist previews. You can hover your mouse around the umbrella or ice cream cone to move it around. There’s no point to this but I got a kick out of it just the same.

While I’m certain they’re continuing to improve on this capability, right now Climatune is a fun way to further personalize your Spotify listening experience. If you are interested in incorporating the Climatune capability into your Spotify playlists, simply start here and follow the instructions on the website to connect it to your Spotify app.

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