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Following COVID-19's rapid escalation, many large cities and regions around the world are implementing strict 'stay at home' orders and promoting social distancing. With an increasingly hefty chunk of the global population trapped behind closed doors, you might assume we're streaming more music, but results are showing quite the opposite.

spotify and coronavirus

Due to the amount of time that people are now spending at home, screen time is on the rise— a trend that you would probably expect to be reflected in Spotify's data. However, the streaming giant reported a trend of decline over the last few days, showing a drop similar to the one we usually see in the week after Christmas.

It's not just Spotify feeling the effects of COVID-19. According to Rolling Stone, figures from data analytics provider Alpha Data reveal a general fall in streaming across the US, as well as a decrease in digital album and song sales. From the results we can see that in the period March 13-19, streams in the US fell to under 20.1 billion, amounting to a decrease of 7.6%. On-demand streams—which Spotify falls under—also plunged by 7.3%.

Commuter listening to music on the subway
Image source: New York Today

But why the nosedive? Firstly, the average person's morning commute has been reduced to a meagre shuffle from the bedroom to the living room, so no need to entertain yourself on the morning bus. What's more, as governments are shutting down all non-essential services, the hospitality industry is slowly grinding to a halt. Restaurants, bars and cafes that would otherwise play music around the clock are falling silent, which will have a big impact on streaming data.

A report by Quartz shows that from March 3 to 17, the total streams of the Top 200 songs around the globe fell by 23.1% in Italy, 13.3% in the U.S., 12.7% in Spain, 10.5% in the U.K. and 2.4% in France. On the other hand, several genres including children's music saw a rise in streams, as parents around the world try to keep their families entertained.

Spotify streaming data

Video Killed the Radio Star

Unsurprisingly, music's loss is video streaming's gain. The demand for news and TV content—in addition to an increasing number of us using video-conferencing tools— has surged so much that it's putting a strain on internet networks across Europe. In response to this, video streaming frontrunner Netflix has committed to reducing their video quality across the whole continent, a move which has since been adopted by YouTube, Disney, Amazon and Apple.

Amazon are coming to the rescue during quarantine season by making more of its family-friendly content free, whereas Disney+ will make Frozen 2 available 3 months earlier than expected.

March 23th, 2020

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