The Numbers Behind "The Skip"

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Paul Lamere is a blogger who writes about music and technology. So it makes sense he'd write about Spotify. His latest article is about "the skip," the practice of skipping songs when listening to spotify, and it's so granular that gets more and more fascinating as it goes along.

Lamere mined Spotify's data for information for how often people skip songs, and it turns out that nearly half of songs are skipped before the end, which, as a person who tends to put a record on and then fall asleep on the train is a surprisingly high number. But Lamere looks at not only about how often songs were skipped, but for things like how long people listen before skips, the average age of skippers, what time of day and day of the week people skip the most, and the gender of skippers. And from his data I learned that people in their early 30's (like myself) tend to skip songs the least. Maybe my cohort are all just asleep on trains.

Lamere wraps his post discussing how skipping has changed our relationship to music from the days when we had to get up and move the tone arm of a record player.

It plays a significant role in how we interacts with our music stream. When we are more engaged with our music – we skip more, and when music is in the background such as when we are working or relaxing, we skip less. When we have more free time, such as when we are young, or on the weekends, or home after a day of work, we skip more. That’s when we have more time to pay attention to our music. The big surprise for me is how often we skip.  On average, we skip nearly every other song that we play.

Skipping has become an important part of how we listen to music.  It is no surprise then, that ‘unlimited skipping’ is a feature used to entice people to upgrade to a premium paid account. And it may be one of the reasons why people would switch from a service that doesn’t offer unlimited skips even on their premium service to one that does.

Lamere has also promised a follow up post about frequency of skips broken down by artist, genre and songs, so I'm excited to see what he has coming up next.