With so many songs on offer, and so many of us enjoying them, Spotify has a mountain of data about our listening habits. Here, we dive in to find out which songs the UK loves most...

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With over 20 million songs on offer, and a huge range of devices to stream them on, it’ll come as no surprise that Spotify is being used by a wide range of people and in a pretty diverse way. How do we know? We’ve got the stats to prove it.


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Spotify, one of the entertainment packs on offer with Vodafone Red 4G, has been digging through its data, and has shared some of the secrets of Vodafone UK’s listening habits with us. If you’ve ever wondered what Birmingham’s favourite song is, who they’re listening to in London or what gets Mancunians through their commute, read on…

Digging into the data

Spotify’s got a keen eye, or ear, for data. Earlier this year it launched its own ‘Insights’ blog, which looks to uncover the amazing stories you can tell when you start to look at people’s streaming habits over time. For example, did you know that these 100 songs represent the sound of the UK?

Alongside all the info on offer on Spotify’s Insights blog, we’ve gleaned some exclusive data on how our Vodafone UK customers’ listening habits differ as we move around the country. Collated during September this year, Spotify’s report unearths the trends in habits at certain times for the day, and city by city.

So what can we learn? Well, let’s take a quick look at Manchester, one of our largest 4G cities, as a shining example of the diversity on offer. Mancunians, as it turns out, have pretty eclectic tastes. Their favourite artist in September was David Guetta, but the superstar DJ was followed by folk brass ensemble The Fairey Band, then Ed Sheeran in third place.

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Pharrell Williams and Arctic Monkeys were both in the top ten, proving that you definitely can’t pigeonhole Manchester’s sound to one genre.

But when are they listening? Manchester’s peak Spotify streaming time is 6pm, which is two hours later than London’s. Are northerners staying later at the office than those in the south?

“Commuting is one of the most popular times for people to listen to music,” says Vodafone UK’s consumer director Cindy Rose, “with all sorts of different artists appearing in the top ten. On average, Vodafone Spotify users listen to more than 20 hours of music each month – that’s more than 10 million hours of music in total.”

The sound of home

US artists invariably feature in our Spotify charts wherever we look: people in Dorset love Prince. Bromley’s big on Snoop Dogg, Rotheram likes listening to the cast of Glee, and Southampton digs Madonna. But what about homegrown artists?

Predictably, Ed Sheeran and Arctic Monkeys fill the top three in a huge number of areas around the UK. But there are a load of British bands and artists proving popular on Spotify that that you might not expect to do so well in 2014.

“Predictably, Ed Sheeran and Arctic Monkeys fill the top three in a huge number of areas around the UK.”

Despite showing their age, Oasis are still rocking in Dorset, for instance. Sixties Scottish folk hero Donovan is keeping people mellow yellow in Northamptonshire, while UB40 were the third most popular outfit in Cornwall during September. Clearly, the joy of Spotify is in its huge catalogue of massively varied music, all available at the touch of a button. And with the service being available on so many devices, we’re able to listen at all hours of the day.

We recently spoke to Spotify’s Gary Liu to find out about some of the developments happening backstage at Spotify, and during our talk we asked if he had data about exactly when we’re listening. The short answer is: all the time…

“We’ve certainly entered the workplace,” Gary says, “but I think the bigger picture is that Spotify is now being used during every activity you can think of, because of the fact that the music can be with you wherever you are.

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“We’ve been tracking a heat chart of when Spotify is being used throughout the day. Since mobile launched a few years ago, that heat chart has lit up through a lot of times in the day that used to be dark. If you look at it now, it’s almost completely covered – there are only certain moments of the day – like from 1am to 4am – where it’s dark. But even then the chart is only darkish – people are still listening.

“So it’s not just the workplace,” Gary explains. “Spotify can be part of every activity, in a bunch of different ways.” And that’s no exaggeration: “We did some user surveys awhile back, and one of the greatest comments we got back was from someone telling us that they need music every day to go to the toilet to. They had even set up their toilet with surround sound speakers!”

Whether you’re using Spotify to do your business to, to get you through your commute, to power your working day or to drive your gym session in the evening, it’s obvious that the streaming service is becoming ever-present. And, thanks to all this data, it’s also clear that it’s catering for a huge range of tastes.

Music to your ears… If you’re a music buff and want to get involved, you can find out more about Spotify and Vodafone 4G here. Find any of the above surprising? Let us know what you listen to and when in the comments section below.