While practicing social distancing and self-quarantining, perhaps the next step towards taking control of an overwhelming situation on a personal level involves listening to music. Though homebound due to Covid-19, those staying put no doubt are taking part in a variety of activities occupying their time and sure enough, music regularly plays a role. In fact, listening habits during the contagion suggest secluded devotees are leaning more toward radio than subscription services. Here is why.
Logic says music services and related apps should be booming while listeners ride out the Coronavirus. Having a seemingly unlimited amount of tunes no further than a fingertip away ought to be a natural fit for escaping the news onslaught about the pandemic. Not so fast. According to Rolling Stone, “Programmed streams on services like Pandora dropped 9 percent to just under 3.5 billion, while on-demand streams (audio and video) dropped 7.3 percent to 16.6 billion.” How significant is this to the average user? RS notes “Dropoffs of this magnitude are rare, with the exception being the week after Christmas.”
For anyone thinking Rolling Stone’s article is an anomaly, think again. The BBC News’ Technology section recently published a piece that similarly points out how “US music streaming between 13 -19 March fell by 8.8% compared with the previous week.” While Rolling Stone noted the same time period, statistics for Brit/84ain are not yet available. Additionally, for those keeping track, by comparison, since before the Coronavirus onset, the well-known industry leader Nielsen Survey found “83% of consumers say they’re listening to as much or more radio.” In addition, the BBC points out the usage “Of its radio stations had risen 18%” the second week in March.
As for listeners, not surprising, time and again, through trial and error and especially during emergencies, people helping people are the ultimate answer. The Coronavirus seems to be no different. Being isolated during the current outbreak apparently has caused consumers’ listening habits to change in similar ways. Last week, Nielsen touched on the issue with a study titled “Radio Hosts Connect In Times Of Crisis.” The top answers chosen by participants had to do with presenters keeping audiences informed, updated on shopping, making listeners feel connected and more. The human connection is what people are craving.
Since the pandemic, as non-essential workers and students stay home, the retail industry remains closed and radio listenership goes up, enthusiasts are to some degree bypassing Spotify, Pandora and similar competitors. Whether a long term trend or not is too early to call. But is it really any surprise that people who are searching the radio dial in the midst of adversity also seek human connection?
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.