Spotify’s Billions Club playlist is home to 300 songs that have received over one billion plays on the streaming service. Among them, you’ll find tracks from Childish Gambino, Harry Styles and scores of other current stars like Billie Eilish and Tate McRae.
But of those 300, almost a tenth were released 20 or more years ago. Four of these are classics by British rock royalty, Queen.
According to Trapital founder Dan Runcie on Twitter, these deep catalogue songs are the most desirable to potential investors.
But how do they differ from more recent tracks? Are there any sonic similarities we could use to predict which newer tracks could be worth investing in?
When we run these tracks through our tagging AI to recognise sonic traits, we can see some interesting trends.
Why look at moods?
First, let’s look at the mood differences between newer and older tracks. The reason for looking at moods instead of genres is that they may be able to offer longer-term insights unaffected by the ebb and flow of specific genres.
Tracks released in the last 20 years tend to have more Confident, Seductive and Dancy moods. To give you an indication of that sound, tracks with all these traits include ‘Lean On’ by Major Lazer and ‘One Dance’ by Drake.
This is in sharp contrast to the tracks over 20 years old. These have more Bold, Carefree and Uplifting moods. Bold tracks include ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ by Queen and Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’.
Meanwhile, Carefree and Uplifting tags sit together more frequently, describing the kind of songs you’d likely hear on classic rock radio, such as The Eagles ‘Hotel California’ and Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.
But, one mood remains popular, regardless of release date: Heartfelt.
The AI-ascribed Heartfelt mood correlates with authentic or emotive performances and an unpretentious sound. Among those songs over 20 years old, ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay, Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ both feature this highly desirable mood.
In fact, of the 29 deep catalogue tracks on the Billions Club playlist, 12 (43 per cent) had a Heartfelt tag. This drops slightly to 41 per cent among newer tracks.
So what kind of music should investors be trying to acquire the rights to?
Well, the prevalence of the Heartfelt mood tag in this playlist suggests that artists that wear their hearts on their sleeves are more likely to connect with listeners in the long term.
As for production, the Heartfelt and Bold tags suggest that simply produced tracks stand to generate revenue for longer. Tracks that follow current production trends will less likely draw long-term listeners in a saturated music market, because they sound dated quickly.
Anyone investing in songs will be acutely aware of the importance of external factors, such as significant TV/film syncs, viral TikTok trends and artist publicity. That said, audio-based metadata, such as the information that the Musiio tagging AI produces, can tell us a lot about a track. We only looked at moods within tracks that reached a billion streams, and although Bold and Heartfelt moods immediately seem significant, check out our reports on the entire playlist below and let us know if you can see any more trends in the data.