Music discovery in everyday situations has been facilitated in recent years by audio content recognition services such as Shazam. The widespread use of such services has produced a wealth of user data, specifying where and when a global audience takes action to learn more about music playing around them. Here, we analyze a large collection of Shazam queries of popular songs to study the relationship between the timing of queries and corresponding musical content. Our results reveal that the distribution of queries varies over the course of a song, and that salient musical events drive an increase in queries during a song. Furthermore, we find that the distribution of queries at the time of a song's release differs from the distribution following a song's peak and subsequent decline in popularity, possibly reflecting an evolution of user intent over the "life cycle" of a song. Finally, we derive insights into the data size needed to achieve consistent query distributions for individual songs. The combined findings of this study suggest that music discovery behavior, and other facets of the human experience of music, can be studied quantitatively using large-scale industrial data.
Kaneshiro, B., Ruan, F., Baker, C. W., & Berger, J. (2017). Characterizing listener engagement with popular songs using large-scale music discovery data. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(MAR). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00416