Muslims across the world entered the fasting month of Ramadan on March 22 with the music streaming platform Spotify played a critical role in their reflective spiritual journey.

Spotify did this by providing a dedicated Ramadan hub filled with content that offers both inspiration and mindful entertainment.

Additionally, the music streaming platform’s data points at an interesting picture of how the consumption of audio such as music and podcasts, changed to reflect this period in users’ lives.

According to data from eight key markets – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Indonesia – there was a complete shift to a more mindful, spiritual tone during Ramadan.

“Music and storytelling, which is what podcasting is, are deeply intertwined in the way we experience the world – whether it be how we celebrate, or in the case of Ramadan, how we contemplate the many facets of our lives,” said Spotify Head of Music for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) Phiona Okumu.

She added, “Religion and spirituality are deeply personal experiences, and we are humbled that people turn to Spotify to give expression to these parts of their lives.”

Digital Spirituality

During Ramadan, music, meditative podcasts and yoga playlists streaming peaked at 8am in all analysed markets, showing that listeners use the app to cultivate a sense of calm mindfulness going into the day.

Readings of Quran are streamed at night or early morning with more people generally streaming more at night during the holy month for Muslims, save for a sudden dip in use as the sun sets.

This matches with the time all fasting Muslims take a break to go for prayers and as they break their fasts with family members, then they later use the evening hours to unwind or look for religious teachings.

In Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, there were drops in Scripted Fiction podcasts, and in a range of sports sub-genres, showing a clear shift from entertainment to more mindful practices of the Holy Month.

Interestedly, Spotify users in Nigeria have also been tuned in to more podcasts on Digital Culture during Ramadan, as entertainment genres like Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy both saw significant drops.

More Connection

Previously during Ramadan, Spotify recorded a 53 per cent rise in streaming of religious podcasts pointing to the use of the app for Quran readings, Islamic lectures and other digital religious resources.

In the sub-genres, there’s a surge in listenership for ‘Human Interest,’ ‘Culture and Identity’ podcasts, at 27 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

Chill, happy, free

The top three moods for music streamed on Spotify during the holy month of Ramadhan are “chill,” “happy” and “free” – states of mind that can all contribute to the experience of a blessed Ramadan.

According to data collated by the streaming platform, music is being used as a powerful tool to influence mood and top help to cultivate feelings of patience and positivity across the studied regions in Africa.

Spotify further established that users use chill audio content “to enhance their experience of other highly personal activities consistent with looking to disconnect, like taking a walk outside or sharing a meal with their partner after a day at work.”