The Most Popular Musical Keys according to Spotify

Spotify logoThere are many complaints about digital music. Some say its audio quality doesn’t measure up to analog sources like vinyl records. Others contend that ever-expanding digital divide has been causing the once thriving music industry to eat itself, leaving many artists out in the cold. For better or worse, music has become more and more digitized in recent years. Seems like it was only yesterday that Spotify was making a splash with its U.S. launch. Since then, a number of services have popped up to challenge its dominance in the space. But Spotify is still holding strong as a favored music consumption platform.

Spotify has over 30 million songs in its catalog. One good thing about having all of those songs in one place is it creates large data sets that can then be scrutinized to find specific patterns. In this case, one industrious analyst surveyed all of the songs that the service has to offer to see which musical keys are used most frequently. Here’s a rundown of the top ten of the 24 total keys:

  • G Major – 10.7%
  • C Major – 10.2%
  • D Major – 8.7%
  • A Major – 6.1%
  • C# Major – 6.1%
  • F Major – 5.3%
  • A minor – 4.8%
  • G# Major – 4.3%
  • E minor – 4.2%
  • B minor – 4.2%

Major keys are generally “happier” sounding and used more often in western music than minor keys. So it’s no surprise that the first six keys of the top ten are major, with only a total of three minor keys even making the top ten.

It’s somewhat curious that G Major tops the list over C Major, as C Major is really the middle ground of the musical scale. However, G Major is considered to be an easy key to play in on both the guitar and the piano, whereas C Major tends to lend itself more to just the piano. Considering that most songs are written on one of these two instruments, this gives G Major the edge.

D# minor rounds out the very bottom of the overall list coming in at a meager 0.9%. I can see why as I was unable to find one example of a song written in this key. G major, however…