Spotify Analyzed Northeastern Students’ Listening Habits

By David Bloch | 09/17/2014

On Tuesday, music streaming service Spotify released an analysis of the listening habits of students at 40 colleges around the country.

“Maybe it’s all the fresh sounds encountered just as they’re learning new things and working out who they are, but for whatever reason, people tend to establish their music taste at college. […] Music accompanies much of the studying, socializing, and just about everything else that goes on at universities, so we wondered: Which are the most musical universities? And what does each of those schools listen to?”


adfaThe report, entitled ‘Top 40 Musical Universities in America: How Students Listen,’ ranked schools based on the amount of students who signed up using their student discount, and then how many songs they played. Northeastern University was ranked 13th – surprisingly the only Boston-area school on the list.

The analysis, conducted by Somerville music intelligence firm Echo Nest, used music data from students at these schools to track different aspects of their listening habits – genre distribution, artist preferences, popular tracks, time of day, and various song attributes.

According to the report, Northeastern students listen to more Metal, Jazz, and Christian music than is usual at other schools. In fact, when it comes to metal, Northeastern is the “top school for this kind of listening.”

Compared to other schools on the list, they also listen to less Hip Hop, R&B, Country, and Classic Rock.

The top genres overall were Pop, Dance/EDM, and Hip Hop. The five most popular artists were Calvin Harris, Drake, Coldplay, Bastille, and Lorde.

The five most distinctive artists, (those who were “listened to a lot, relative to other schools”), were Demon Hunter, Betty Who, Sara Bareilles, Haim, and Flume.


Rapper Schoolboy Q was singled out as an artist who was a “distinctive un-favorite” of Northeastern listeners. No love for gangster rap, I guess.

SchoolBoy Q – Hoover Street (Explicit)

For the full results of the analysis, click here.