What Spotify user playlists say about South Africa’s mood for 2023 so far

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For many South Africans, 2023 New Year’s resolutions may already be a thing of the past. But new Spotify data shows the prevailing moods of the playlists South Africans are making, revealing a little bit about how 2023 is shaping up so far.

Using playlists which have moods like “happy”, “focussed” and “confident” in their titles, Spotify’s data wizards have been able to identify how South Africans are feeling as we head into the third month of the year.

The top 10 moods are overwhelmingly positive, and it’s clear that South Africans set some real goals in 2023. “Productivity” is the top mood, with “focus” coming in third, and “motivation” being the sixth most popular mood. South Africans are also feeling self- assured, with “confident” and “confidence” both featuring in the top ten.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses. “Dark” is the second most popular mood for playlists (and it’s the kind of dark that has nothing to do with loadshedding), while “sad” is the mood featuring in ninth place.

The top ten is rounded out with “chill”, “free” and “happy” for balance, while “hopeful” is just outside of the top 10 in 11th place.

“Music is such an integral part of self-expression and of how we feel, which is why Spotify gives users a range of tools and features to help them curate and share their moods,” says Spotify Sub-Saharan Africa Head of Music Phiona Okumu. 

Global moods data also gives us a peak into the most popular songs being added to moods playlists around the world right now. Topping the list as the number one song for productivity is SZA’s Kill Bill, followed by Miley Cyrus’ Flowers, which also coincidentally tops the list for most features on “confidence” playlists. When it comes to focus, the top songs are dominated by K-Pop, with TAEYANG’s Vibe, featuring Jimin of BTS fame clinching the top spot.

The full list of the top 15 moods in South Africans’ user generated playlists is below:

  1. Productivity
  2. Dark
  3. Focus
  4. Confidence
  5. Chill
  6. Motivation
  7. Confident
  8. Free
  9. Sad
  10. Happy
  11. Hopeful
  12. Serotonin
  13. Mood
  14. Joyful
  15. Anxious