Music listening is an integral and oftentimes purposeful activity in our daily lives. We listen to particular tracks in order to change our current emotional state or in order to maintain it. How we react to a particular song not only depends on the musical attributes of that song but on various situational and personal factors.
by Sami Behbehani, 15. March 2019
Possibilities for musical self-regulation are limitless in today’s modern society. Technical advancements such as smartphones, high-quality earphones, and music streaming have enabled listeners to access massive song-libraries from anywhere, at any time.
Consequently, individuals can immediately react to new circumstances by adapting their listening strategy accordingly.
However, the process of self-regulation through music is highly subjective and dependent on various factors.
Perceiving an emotion doesn’t mean that you feel it the same as other people.
A song is a construct, whose single elements merge and ultimately communicate a particular feeling or atmosphere. Most likely, a listener will perceive this feeling accurately. Yet, the
“Whether a certain song evokes an emotion or not depends firstly on the listener’s musical preference, secondly the previous listening experience and thirdly, empathy with the recording artist” – Sami Behbehani
As in movies, a certain degree of identification with the protagonist is preconditioned for the story to touch the audience. In a musical context, empathy is the precondition for a song’s story to strike interest and cause emotional contagion. Studies have shown that with an increasing degree of empathy towards a song/artist, a higher correspondence between perceived and felt emotion during music listening can be experienced.
Your listening environment influence your music selection more than personal attributes
Some recent scientific studies have shown situational circumstances to have a stronger influence on the process of music selection than
In our daily lives, we experience various situations that affect us in different ways and to which we react accordingly. While some of these situations occur spontaneously, others allow us to plug in our earphones or switch on our speakers. For instance: On our way to work we might get bored and hence need something to lift us up; while getting ready in the morning we might want to start the day off on a positive or energetic note; when we socialize with others we like to create a comforting atmosphere; and in order to prepare for a stressful situation we want to reach a higher state of excitement, in order to handle the situation better.
“Sad music can mirror the listener’s feelings and therefore help to process experienced sadness, ultimately resulting in uplift.”
Common strategies of emotional regulation
- Aesthetic enjoyment
Studies have shown that personal well-being is a key motive for music listening. When listening to preferred songs it makes the listener draw enjoyment from the overall listening experience. Liked music was shown to trigger the release of neurological messengers such as dopamine and serotonin,
- Sustaining cheerfulness
Further in line with the principle of emotional regulation is a deliberate choice of songs that communicate emotions parallel with those felt by the listener. Persons experiencing cheerfulness tend to listen to happy music more frequently because they like to maintain the emotional state they are in. This is a common strategy in situations where social interaction between persons is desirable, as at parties or relaxed evenings with friends.
- Emotional Self-therapy
Another strategy that directly influences a music listener’s emotional state is utilized when experiencing negative emotion. Sad music, for instance, is highly popular amongst listeners of different genres on the one hand; and on the other hand, it can exert a strong effect on the listener. As compared to happy music which rather maintains or enforces an existing emotional state, sad or depressing songs are more commonly used for musical self-therapy. If previously mentioned mechanisms such as empathy with the song/artist, preference for the style etc. are given, sad music can mirror the listener’s feelings and therefore help to process experienced sadness, ultimately resulting in uplift.
Aggressive music is a special case in itself because it can be positively stimulating on the one hand yet also expresses a negative emotional connotation on the other hand. Listening to aggressive music while experiencing feelings of aggression can have a
Implications for the future
It can be suggested that any form of maintaining or improving one’s emotional state through music falls under the category of musical-self therapy.
There is however no auditive all-around solution for daily needs since individuals vary in their personal attributes and situations exert different effects on different people. Since music recommendation algorithms rarely or not at all focus on mentioned aspects, it is unlikely for them to serve as an adequate daily regulation-tool for listeners.
Research is still at a point where new discoveries can potentially shake up the field and though there are several studies with valid findings, most likely no study will ever be able to include all parameters that fully explain human music listening behavior.
From the consumer’s perspective, the last few years of technological development have facilitated a free and goal-driven use of music. This positive development could continue in the future with tech-companies and start-ups working on new ways for music to fulfill the listeners’ potential needs.
After already having been announced title holder as one of 32 “Kultur- & Kreativpiloten” last November, the whole Groovecat team and all the other amazing projects came together at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy to celebrate the creative industry – “the icing on the cake of the market economy”, as minister Peter Altmaier puts it.
Within the Start-Up Night der Kreativen and the motto #bessermachen it was all about people who show initiative by asking: “what can be done better?” – and we’re more than honored to be part of this year’s selection.
Before and after the official award ceremony full of great
It’s been such an eventful day that it’s hard to pick some highlights. So here’s just a fine selection, the crème de la crème:
- Minister Peter Altmaier visiting our stand and having a chat with Joshua, Jakob, and Markus. We’ve tried to find out his most memorable Music Moments but couldn’t get it out of him. Must have been a real guilty pleasure, we don’t have a better explanation 😉
- Pitching the Groovecat vision in a former ballroom in front of all the guests – and young Angela Merkel and 2Pac majorly impressed watching from the ceiling.
- Coming together as (almost) the whole Groovecat team and celebrate as we usually work from our two bases Mannheim & Berlin. We were spreading the love and raiding the buffet altogether, real #teamspirit.
- Sharing the space with so many other inspiring projects like
mimycri, Weserholz or Companion2Go that filled the room with a sense of ingenuity, will-power, confidence, and creativity.
Thanks to minister Peter Altmaier, Kultur- & Kreativpiloten and
We all know them: those songs that take great movie scenes to another level. They can give you goosebumps – or sometimes even a deeper meaning to what is happening on screen. Before you’ll be busy exploring this years cinematographic highlights, glitter and glamour at the Berlinale, we serve you our Groovecat selection of the 5 most perfectly composed Music Moments in films.
Most of the times, the first 5 seconds into those songs are enough to make Leonardo Di Caprio „king of the world“ again or remind us that „nobody puts Baby in a corner“ (Dirty Dancing, for all of those of you who live in denial that they’ve seen it). But there’s more to soundtracks than the very iconic musical scenes that everybody knows. The right employment of music in films will shape and elevate the scene to something that will etch itself into your brain or maybe even essential to make you understand the bottom line of the story line.
We’ve asked around the Groovecat team to find out what their most meaningful, touching Music Moments in movies were. Just like our very own Music Moments in real life, they’ve ended up being very personal, none looking like the other. So for the next time you don’t know what to watch and your Netflix watch list isn’t really helpful either (so pretty much every. damn. single. time), try one of the films below and see what the movie soundtrack means to you:
**SPOILER ALERT, as some of these videos show final scenes**
#1 Solaris (1972): J.S. Bach – Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christu
This sci-fi film by Andrei Tarkovsky is less an exploration of space than of love and a human’s place in life. Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is ordered to investigate the mysterious happenings on a space station circling the distant planet Solaris. Here’s why it left a big impression on Roman:
„The slowness and static imagery lasting over minutes are so very poignant in its own and eerie way. In this build-up, the organ choral “Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ“ by J.S. Bach unprecedentedly carries the purity and melancholy of the final scene in Solaris. 3 minutes of valerian.“
#2 Absolute Giganten (1999): Sophia – Crescendo
Absolute Giganten is a beautifully plain hommage to friendship. It portrays imposingly well how everything in life underlies constant change – and how you shouldn’t take anything for granted, not even the greatest friendships. Because despite many similarities, in the end life is shaped through everyone’s individual decisions. (Sorry English-speakers, but Jakob’s pick is a German gem from his home town Hamburg.)
„For me, this will always be one of the greatest movies of all times. The way „Reprise“ from Sophia is employed in the final scene, carrying the whole film’s theme of transience in life, moves me. Both in this movie and with music in general, I like it most when melancholia and affirmation of life go hand in hand.“
#3 Matrix (1999): Rage Against The Machine – Wake Up
Matrix – the inventor of the bullet-time-effect. Although this was 20 years ago (feeling old yet?), it seems to be written exclusively for us today being characterized by big data, control, and artificial intelligence. With its intriguingly philosophical depths, this classic about a hacker finding out his true reality is well-deserved one of the most influential movies of our times. No surprising choice by our techie Josh:
“Neo finally realizes how he can manipulate the infinite complexity of the matrix, he’s the free radical in the supposedly closed system of machines. He addresses them: ‘(…) I’m going to show the people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world, without you, a world without rules and controls, without border and boundaries. A world where everything is possible.’
Mic drop! Rage Against The Machine! In your Face! Where’s Part 2 ??!!”
#4 Collateral (2004): Audioslave – Shadow on the Sun
„This Music Moment comes as a brief respite in a otherwise pretty tense and hectic movie that goes bam bam bam“, as Markus puts it.
Cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) is taken hostage by one of his passengers and has to take the contract killer Vincent (Tom Cruise) on a killing spree around L.A. Shadow on the Sun comes on right after Vince reminds stuck-up-in-life Max that „life’s short, one day it’s gone“. A wild coyote crossing the streets in the concrete jungle and seems out of its place, not in its natural habitat. The cuts are getting longer, it’s time to think, maybe it’s even a turning point in the character’s life to stop dreaming and start living.
#5 Her (2013): The Piano Song
The relationship between recently divorced Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and the voice of operating system OS1, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), is beautifully crafted, simple, poignant and more relevant than ever. Samantha wrote a song for Theodore: „I was thinking, we don’t really have any photographs of us. And I thought this song could be like a photo that captures us in this moment in our life together.“ Here’s why Carina loves this scene:
„I love movies that develop slowly and make me think even days after watching it. In ‘Her’, the feeling of isolation and identity loss are so ingeniously packaged in the story line and soundtrack. Even though this piano piece sounds very light and vivid, like a picture of a happy couple, it still carries some melancholy – maybe because unlike a picture of a happy couple, this song doesn’t look back on any shared memories but is something made up, something not real? The two melodies could also stand for how different the two partners are, or how serious they take the relationship.”
Although we rarely say ‚no’ to a movie binge-watch and to discovering even more beautiful Music Moments, we’re pretty glad that there’s a real life offside the screen with all its ups and downs and surprises it has to offer. Music Moments included – however, not thoroughly planned by movie directors, screenplay writers and music supervisors but orchestrated just by the music on your headphones and your life itself. Even though chances are pretty slim that you’ll ever fly off to space to discover what your conception about love is (not meaning to stop you from dreaming though!), you more likely have your own soundtrack to people, places and phases in life that are really precious to you. And that’s basically, the main idea behind Groovecat – to give you a way to capture these meaningful moments and to be more aware of them. Maybe in the future, you’ll pay closer attention to the music you are listening to, the feelings it emphasizes and the memories you make to it – and that the most beautiful movie in the world is your own life.
We’ll leave it with this quote by Floyd (‘Absolute Giganten’):
„You know what I think sometimes? There should always be music. With everything you do. And if it really sucks, then at least the music is still there. And at the place where it’s most beautiful, the record would have to jump and you only hear this one moment.“
We did it again – we’ve extended our team. As wide-ranged as the Späti of your dreams, Jacob has a wide-spread skill set from UX/UI & Graphic Design, Marketing and Photography. So from day one on, he’ll support us to design the newest exciting, fun and useful app features for you Groovecat users. He already bought himself into our hearts by bringing sweet delights from his home Israel which comes in handy considering our daily sugar cravings. Keep checking the Groovecat app to see what he’s working on 🙂
We’re excited to have such an amazing addition to our team.
Business Punk writes about how to found a business away from the mainstream and introduces four of this year’s Kultur- und Kreativpiloten we can count ourselves among. A really well written, fast to read and funny feature
It was in November that we first got to know all 32 Kultur- und Kreativpiloten and spent three days together at Hotel Müggelsee. After that, we returned to our daily business inspired to the core. Among all the great projects we were so inspired by Companion2Go. The two guys show how they can turn a problem of their own into a clever business model, which brings benefits for all involved and brings people together at the same time. Everything else here in the article.
Greetings from the cats
Instagram performance has become a central measurement of an artist’s fame and the ability to drive sustainable sales. Especially A&Rs heavily rely on these figures to predict an artist’s success and thus signing them to the label. But how much value can the social media channel really add to your strategy?
by Markus Schwarzer, 09. January 2019
First, labels need to ask themselves what they consider a “success”.
Social media has become increasingly important for the music industry – not only to increase fan engagement and sales figures, but also to measure the general success of a band or an artist. The calculation is simple: the more followers, the more successful.
Follower = Success.
However, the real definition of success remains unclear. Success always means the degree to which a product or service fulfills the goals of a business model. The business model of the music industry is to discover, promote and market musical talents, or to cut it short: to sell music products. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the artist’s focus – but it is definitely the label’s business model! Labels need to earn money so they can continue their job of promoting great new artists and developing the music landscape. Ergo:
Sales = Success.
To bring the equation together it would have to be:
Follower = Sales = Success.
And this is exactly where the problem lies. Many followers don’t necessarily bring much profit to the business model of the music industry. It’s naive to think that you can drive your sales with just a large reach, if you don’t know who you are communicating to.
Great social media performance does not necessary result in big sales.
An example: I recently stumbled across the profile of the musician Jake Henson alias “Mild Man”. 45k+ people follow him on Instagram – a sizable number for a newcomer artist. He’s also married to Colombian YouTuber Grace Villarreal alias HappySunnyFlowers, who brings almost 900k followers on YT and 500k+ followers on IG to the table. Jake’s posts get between 6k and 10k likes. What a range for a newcomer! Awesome. But even though he and his prominent girlfriend advertised his album “Into the Sky“ (released in April 2017) in almost every post, his Spotify stats don’t look too promising. Two songs cracked the 200k Plays mark, one has just shy of 70k, after that nothing is worth mentioning. According to the above mentioned assumption Follower = Sales, every song should have at least clicks equal to the number of impressions, right? After analyzing his content for 30+ minutes I still didn’t know what Mild Man sounds like.
Here are the 5 reasons why your Instagram says nothing about your success as an artist:
1 – Your followers are not your fans.
Instagram is and remains a primary visual platform. The music feature won’t change that either. Those who follow you on Instagram will primary follow you because of your beautiful photos, not necessarily because of your music. Full stop.
2 – There are no direct sales channels:
Sure, swipe up, swipe up, swipe up. Instagram has improved with the “link protectionism” but everyone is riding that bandwagon right now. The danger of simply getting under the wheels of the algorithm is too great and thus the success of communication is endangered.
3 – There are no measuring mechanisms.
Labels should embrace concept of the sales funnel. In order to use this method, you must always know exactly who is where in the sales process. The data Instagram gives you is not sufficient for that purpose!
4 – Not every follower is your customer. But you treat everyone as the same.
Whether it’s someone quickly flicking through the feed or a hardcore fan awaiting the next release, you can only communicate to them in one and the same way. How can you manage your target groups in your sales funnel if you can’t even segment them? Your new hit single might be more interesting for a new fan when your loyal fans are keen on an unreleased B-side.
5 – You don’t have enough time to present your music.
Do you know how long a person on average stays on a normal IG post (not a story)? 1.5 seconds. Not even enough to reach the first chorus.
These 3 suggestions can help bypassing these negative aspects of Instagram and using social media to generate sustainable sales:
Way 1: If you’re a musician, post your freaking music, easy as that
a. Research shows that the more often someone is confronted with a certain thing, the more they tend to like it. It’s back from when we lived in the Savannah. An animal that you’ve seen before is not likely to have killed you on your last encounter, right? It worked on me and Justin Bieber’s „What do you mean“. First I couldn’t escape it – now I like it. But I don’t see many bands posting what they’re working on so hard to show their followers their music.
b. Let me ask you this: How can a potential new fan who comes across your IG profile via hashtags learn about your music? If they follow you, they’ll only do it because of your beautiful photos. Show them your music! Believe me, they will be looking for it!
c. Another positive effect: People who only like your photos but don’t like your music don’t follow you in the first place. They won’t let you fall into the „Follower = Sales“ trap. That’s good. You don’t need them.
Way 2: Create private channels and invite only certain fans
Hardcore fans are easy to recognize. They usually seek your attention. For example, they are the ones who are still at your merch stand at the end of your gig, waiting for you to come out of the backstage. After each tour you have 100 new ones. Give them a “ticket” to your closed, super exclusive IG account at the merch stand. Tell them to take a picture of this ticket, put it on instagram and tag it with the tags @*insert_bandname*CLOSED and #*insert_bandname*closed. Now you can allow them as followers on your band’s secret IG-Profile. They will be the first to hear about new tours, pre-listen to new songs drafts and give you feedback, design their own merch and everything else. The same works on Whatsapp, Snapchat and so on.
Way 3: Groovecat
Groovecat is a new social media platform that combines the visual side of Instagram with the auditory side of Spotify. It’s specifically designed to overcome the presented shortcomings of IG as a music sales channel.
Groovecat combines engagement with sales, because every view of a post („Music Moment“) on Groovecat also counts as a stream on Spotify. All automatically – no links, no swipe up, no clicks. Views = Streams = Sales.
Users can save the songs in their personal playlists with one click, exactly where you want to be. They’re more exposed to your song, getting used to your sound, become fans and subsequently only follow you because they like your music. Streams = Fans = Recurring Sales.
Groovecat’s statistics will help you see exactly who has noticed your music, where it is in the sales funnel, which song locations are particularly popular with your fans, where your fans listen to your music and how they feel about it.
For example, statistics show that Groovecat users spend an average of 18 seconds on a post – 12 times more than IG. They save an avg. of 2 new songs to their playlists every day. You have much more time to place your music and get people excited about your music in the long run.
Social media isn’t the only topic that artists and labels will have to adress in the future. My publication “Business Model Innovation in the Recording Industry” will appear as part of the Jahrbuch für Musikwirtschafts- und Musikkulturforschung 2019 later this year. Follow me on LinkedIn to stay tuned.
We sat down the day after our Christmas party and tried to review the year a little bit. Of course, we forgot a thousand things, but without every single one of you we would never be where we are today and send the biggest thank you for all the crazy support.
We wish you a happy holiday season, good rest and are already looking forward to next year together.
P.S. Sorry to the English speakers, the video is in German…
Every year Germany’s most influential entrepreneurial magazine Business Punk chooses the most promising start-ups of the coming year in 10 different categories. We are very happy to be named as one of the 10 most exciting startups in 2019 in the category Media & Entertainment with Groovecat.
2 weeks New York, 253,773 steps, 680 stickers, 478 flyers, 45 Music Moments, 38 bagels with cream cheese, 19 lectures, 9 meetings, 8 records, 1 Starbucks coffee (it was an emergency!).
The week started off with a classic get-together in an Irish pub dishing up dirty food from Chicken Wings to Cheese Sticks – welcome to America. There we mingled with the other participants of the program over a beer or two.
Meeting up at GACC’s office on the 24th floor with a view over Wall Street was the kickoff for what would be a 5 days marathon full of inputs in form of lectures, workshops on taxes and incorporations in the U.S., marketing, growth hacking and hundreds of other new ideas and impressions. Among
Visiting the NY Tech Meet Up, the oldest Meet Up in NY, was another highlight, where we’ve listened to eight pitches exclusively by female entrepreneurs. What we liked most about it was the rule „no business model questions being asked“. The whole pitch event and Q&A really focused on the products, ideas and visions – something we miss a little here in rational-driven Germany. Our favorite project was Shimmy, who are upskilling women from Bangladesh to prepare them for automation in the fashion industry.
Great lunch place: Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg
We stepped up the Groovecat game another notch by welcoming Roman to our team. His job title reads ‘Data Scientist’ but inofficially he may be called our mastermind when it comes to working with neural networks and artificial intelligence. His eyes lighten up when he thinks about all the Groovecat data sets that are waiting for him to be analyzed and processed into an intelligent music recommendation system. When he’s not with us in the office listening to white noise, he’s probably busy with his record label or out for a run in Neukölln in lightning speed (be warned!). We’re happy to have you!
What a time to be alive. Or work at Groovecat.