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New scientific study reveals the recommended Daily Allowance for music

  • Consumers should listen to music for at least 78 minutes a day, according to a scientific study commissioned by Deezer
  • A ‘balanced diet’ of music includes a mix of uplifting, relaxing, sad, motivating and anger management songs
  • Benefits of different music styles take on average 11 minutes to kick in – but it takes just five minutes to feel happier
  • Global study of over 7,500 people commissioned by Deezer analysed how different music styles affect our mental and physical well-being

Our bodies need a balanced diet of nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Now a new scientific study has found the ‘Recommended Daily Allowance’ for music. Global music streaming service Deezer commissioned scientists at the British Academy of Sound Therapy to find the dose of music needed by a healthy body and mind. This data has been used to create the musical “RDA”.

The global study of over 7,500 people¹, looked at the relationship between music and our mental and physical well-being – by studying various factors including styles, mood and genre. The experiment concluded that, whatever your preferred choice of music, in order to feel the emotional benefits of different music styles you need to listen, on average to :

  • 14 minutes of uplifting music (user’s choice) to feel happy (18% of your musical RDA)
  • 16 minutes of calming music (user’s choice) to feel relaxed (20.5% of your music RDA)
  • 16 minutes of music (user’s choice) to overcome sadness (20.5% of your music RDA)
  • 15 minutes of motivating music (user’s choice) to aid concentration (19% of your music RDA)
  • 17 minutes of music (user’s choice) to help manage anger (22% of your music RDA)

The study analysed how people use music to process emotions. Relaxation was the most common emotional benefit (90%), followed by happiness (82%) as well as overcoming sadness (47%). A further third (32%) of participants used music to help them concentrate, while over a quarter (28%) deal with anger through their tunes.

Frederic Antelme, VP Content and Productions at Deezer said: “Music influences our lives and at Deezer we try to understand and embrace the relationship that people have with their favourite tunes. Now we’ve been able to go even deeper into that relationship and see how people use music to manage different mental states. It’s a fascinating study. The results offer an idea for how music can be used to manage our emotional and mental health on a daily basis, especially when you have a wide library at your fingertips”

The study found that on average, people should listen to music for 11 minutes to enjoy its therapeutic benefits. The only exception was happiness – participants reported feeling happier within just five minutes of listening to joyful tunes. Participants also reported feeling more satisfied with life (86%), having more energy (89%) and laughing more (65%) after listening to ‘feel-good’ songs.

Lyz Cooper, of the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) says “There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body. Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our well-being. Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”

The best musical genres to achieve maximum therapeutic benefits were also revealed. Pop music was highlighted as the most effective in inducing happiness (25%), with ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams revealed as the most popular song to listen to. Classical music created a state of relaxation (28%), with respondents saying Beethoven’s ‘Fifth Symphony’ is the best song choice for a calm state of mind. Interestingly, rock was also effective in bringing calm to participants, with 18% feeling relaxed after 16 minutes of listening to Rock music.

Participants reported feeling peaceful and contented (92%), having reduced muscle tension (79%) and sleeping better (82%) when listening to relaxing songs. According to experts from BAST, a slow tempo is the driving factor in aiding relaxation, due to how we process sound in the brain through the entrainment principle³. The rhythm and patterns in music influence patterns within the biological system, regulating brainwaves, heart rate and neurochemistry.

A third of respondents (28%) reported that Rock music helps in processing feelings of anger, with ‘Highway to Hell’ by ACDC revealed as the top song choice to listen to. However, this was followed closely by classical music (17%), with Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ also making the list of top ten songs to combat anger.

The study showed that while a third (31%) of us prefer music with a fast tempo when feeling angry, another third favour slow-tempo tunes. This difference comes down to our genetic make-up. Rousing music can increase heart rate, blood pressure and emotional response, which for some listeners can help them make process their angry emotions. However, for others, it can be a barrier to overcoming them.

Participants reported that listening to music to process anger helped the issue melt away (81%), feel less likely to get angry at new things that arise (88%) and feel more able to deal with life’s challenges (92%).

Deezer’s team of music editors have created five bespoke playlists based on the results in order to help users get their musical RDA. The playlists feature the recommended breakdown of different music styles and genres and is available to download on the Deezer’s ‘Your Daily Music Dose’ Channel Deezer here.

Additional information on the research

Data was collected by the British Academy of Sound Therapy and Fly Research between 20.09.19 and 28.09.19. The research was conducted globally with data collected from 7,542 people across the UK, US, France, Germany, Brazil, UAE, KSA and Egypt.

The exact percentage breakdown of the Music RDA is:

  • Uplifting music – 17.95%
  •  Relaxing music – 20.51%
  • Sad music – 20.51%
  • Concentrating music – 19.23%
  • Music to manage anger – 21.79%

The entrainment principle (also known as ‘auditory driving’) is something that is thought to be unique to humans. At some point in humans’ early evolution, we developed a pathway in the brain that enables certain repeating patterns in music to have an effect on the brainwaves, neurochemistry, heart rate and the stress/relaxation response. This means that listening to a slow rhythm, repeated over several minutes, will slow the system down. On the other hand, a faster rhythm will speed it up.

The Top 10 songs to feel happy:

  1. Pharrell Williams – Happy
  2. ABBA – Dancing Queen
  3. Ariana Grande – God is a woman
  4. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Jamming
  5. Mary J. Blige – Be Happy
  6. Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
  7. Ed Sheeran – Sing
  8. George Ezra – Shotgun
  9. Little Mix – Salute
  10. Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

The top 10 songs to overcome sadness:

  1. Elton John – Candle In The Wind
  2. Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry
  3. Bon Jovi – Bed of Roses
  4. Christina Aguilera – The Voice Within
  5. Johnny Cash – Hurt
  6. Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever
  7. Whitney Houston – I Have Nothing
  8. Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good
  9. Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings
  10. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

The ten 10 songs for relaxation:

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement
  2. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Jamming
  3. Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  4. A. Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D
  5. Ed Sheeran – Photograph
  6. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano concerto 21 2nd movement
  7. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond
  8. Enya – May It Be
  9. Adele – Hello
  10. Fleetwood Mac – Albatross

The Top 10 songs for concentration:

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5
  2. Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come
  3. Andrea Bocelli – Nessun dorma
  4. Glen Campbell – By The Time I Get to Phoenix
  5. Gustav Holst – The Planets
  6. Wolfgang Mozart – Requiem Mass in D Minor K. 626 VII. Lacrimosa
  7. P!nk – So What
  8. Jean-Michelle Jarre – Oxygene
  9. Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
  10. Vaughn Williams – Lark Ascending

 The Top 10 songs to combat anger:

  1. AC/DC – Highway to Hell
  2. Rammstein – Du hast
  3. Metallica – Enter Sandman
  4. Queen –  Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Linkin Park – In The End
  6. Bob Marley – One Love
  7. Ed Sheeran – Bloodstream
  8. Wolfgang Mozart – Symphony No. 41 & Divertimento No. 17
  9. Aline Barros – Sonda-me, Usa-me
  10. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

About Deezer:

Deezer connects 14 million monthly active users around the world to 56 million tracks. Available in over 180 countries worldwide, Deezer gives instant access to one of the largest and most diverse global music streaming catalogue on any device. Deezer is the only music streaming service with Flow, the unique mix of all your old favourites and new recommendations in one ever-changing stream. Based on an intuitive, proprietary algorithm and created by people who love music, it’s the only place to hear all your music back-to-back with fresh discoveries tailored to you. Deezer is available on your favourite device, including smartphone, tablet, PC, laptop, home sound system, connected car or smart TV.

Making music happen since 2007, Deezer is a privately held company, headquartered in Paris with offices in São Paulo, Berlin, London, Miami, Dubai and around the world. Deezer is available as a free download for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows devices or on the web at deezer.com

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