Popularity of keys in music

This chart of most popular song keys from this article made me wonder for a while:

Spotify Keys

It shows the most popular keys on Spotify, streaming service for music, mostly pop and rock. How does it compare to electronic and trance in particular?

On Spotify, the most popular key is G major, followed by a number of other major keys. It is very different than trance, which is dominated by minor keys – in particular A minor. In particular, this mix features only tunes in A minor – just for the reason I had so many of them laying around.

Quick look at my Rekordbox library shows there are about 3 times more minor tunes than major. C# major and G# major are so rare that I don’t remember when I played any of them in a mix.

The explanation are instruments used – G major is easiest key to pull off using guitar. Since trance and EDM producers in general don’t use guitar but MIDI keyboard, they pick A minor – which means only white keys, easy to play.

Also, these investigations lead to pessimistic conclusion – with its affinity for minor keys, trance is very different than popular music. Many trance tunes in major keys in fact feel weird. The same is true for progressive music in general. Possibly this is why it remains underground and not appealing to common listener :/.


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