Harkive 2015 – the world is listening

Harkive logoYesterday (21 July) was the third annual Harkive day, the global survey of how, where and what people are listening to. The project aims to show how music listening is changing in the digital age through a ‘mass observation’ of people’s listening habits.

There’s more about it here if you want to know the background.

I’ve taken part in all three years (see my post from 2013 over on my other blog) and am fascinated to read the tweets and posts coming in, and how so many people are still so very in love with music that it’s a sole-focus activity while others feel that love through music being a continuous soundscape behind their day. Check the #harkive tag on Twitter for a taste of what people were sharing.

Yesterday was a fairly low-level music day for me. If Harkive had fallen on Tuesday 14 July my diary would have been packed with the sounds of York and the records of Ruby Tuesday – probably a much more exciting post although yesterday is probably a truer snapshot of my listening habits.

Looking back over the diary from 2013 my own habits don’t seem to have changed much. I’m still listening to music on my commutes, having fairly silent days in the office (music-wise anyway) and then deeper listening in the evening for pleasure of Louder Than War. I probably stream more these days (for convenience – a poor excuse really) but vinyl is still my preferred format, although CDs are making a comeback for me due to my in-car stereo options.

My Harkive diary for 2015


Most week days my musical day starts on my commute. I get somewhere between 35 and 90 minutes to listen to music on my drive (depending on traffic) so can usually squeeze in an album or two.

Today I listen to Mammoth Penguins’ Hide and Seek album on CD. I’m woefully overdue on reviewing this wonderful LP for Louder Than War – listening this morning is to try and get my head back into writing mode but it’s a great album – you should definitely check it out!

I park up and stream Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off from YouTube on my phone via an FM adapter to the car stereo. This is my current ‘set my day up’ song. Regularly giving it a listen while getting my stuff together to head into the office.

Commute – the return

Stream Spotify on my phone via a cassette converter (yes, still driving the car with the cassette stereo in). Today I go through this playlist I made, again as an attempt to shift my head space from office to evening work.

The sounds of home

Smooth radio is the background noise of our home most of the time . It isn’t my station of choice but is ok as a backdrop to our life – although once you’ve heard The Bangles’ Eternal Flame for the third time in as many hours you do have a simultaneous feeling of soporific comfort from the familiarity and the terrifying realisation of the unstoppable passage of time.

The kids have some friends over and in-between an epic battle of all the plastic figurines we own (about 300) they are playing Minecraft parody songs from YouTube on their tablet and singing Dumb Ways to Die (with their own added mortal scenarios).


Tonight I make a quick drive over to a friend’s house and stream a few tracks from the new Mark Morris album from Soundcloud on my phone via that tape converter in the car. (very excited to have just set up an interview with him!).

On the way back I stick a Spotify playlist on shuffle via the same method.

At home I head into writing time (still that 9pm to midnight slot that I was using back in 2013). I take a look at a track from the new Widowspeak album on YouTube while on my laptop, then stick side 4 of Taylor Swift’s 1989 on the record deck. As I stop procrastinating and get on with some writing I put The Smoking Trees’ TST album on.

And that’s my music listening for Tuesday 21 July 2015.


Find out how to submit your story to Harkive on the website.

Find me on Twitter as Noble and Wild and as myself. You can read my words about music (when I get round to writing some) on Louder Than War.


Sarah Lay

I'm the founder of We Are Noble and Wild, co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an artist manager, music journalist, PR and author.
I'm a fan of black coffee, the west coast of Scotland, crows, conversations and connections. I'm in love with possibilities.

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