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File Photo: Reuters
File Photo: Reuters

Covid-19 impact: Spotify listening is softer, more newsy

  • Swedish audio streaming platform says the corona outbreak has changed music listening in radical ways
  • Spotify says with fewer people streaming from their cars during their daily commutes and an increase in work from home, more people are streaming across devices like computer desktops, TVs, smart speakers, and gaming consoles

NEW DELHI : With the outbreak of Covid-19, listeners are tuning into softer songs, more news-related podcasts and using desktops and TVs to access music.

Swedish audio streaming service Spotify said that the corona outbreak has changed music listening in radical ways. The platform that released a report on listening trends between 19-25 March said that with fewer people streaming from their cars during their daily commutes and an increase in working from home, more people are streaming across devices like computer desktops, TVs, smart speakers, and gaming consoles. There’s also been an increase in cooking- and housework-themed playlists, showing that people are primarily focusing on domestic tasks instead of music intended for get-togethers.

Self-improvement podcasts such as those focused on wellness and meditation are seeing an uptick as well, streaming of The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close to Mesaw more than a 135% spike in streams in recent weeks. More people have been listening to podcasts in the health and fitness and lifestyle and health categories in the past week, with users also streaming more podcasts with the words “cooking" or “recipes" in the title or description. When it comes to playlists, users are creating and following more workout playlists than they were a month ago, and streams of running, yoga, nature sounds, and meditation playlists are up.

While parents play both kids and family content to keep children engaged at home, Spotify listeners are also adding to their playlists softer songs, which are more acoustic, less danceable, and have lower energy than songs previously added. Plus, the music tends to be more instrumental, featuring instruments rather than vocals.

Users are trying to stay in the know and there has been an increased interest in news podcasts. Listeners have been checking out podcasts like Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction (CNN), Coronavirus Global Update (BBC), and Don’t Touch Your Face (Foreign Policy). Gimlet’s show Science Vs also has a few recent episodes on the COVID-19 outbreak.

In times of social distancing, music is bringing people closer. Spotify users are collaborating on creating playlists and sharing more content on their social networks than usual, so they can let their friends and followers know what they’re up to from afar.

Now that live tours are postponed, many artists are staging virtual concerts online. Afterward, listeners are heading to Spotify to stream the artists — giving them a similar bump to the one artists typically see after live concerts. James Blake, Indigo Girls, Ben Gibbard, Chloe x Halle, Code Orange, and Jewel are just a few of the many artists to see spikes in streaming so far.

In Italy and Spain, residents have taken to singing songs together from apartment balconies and windows, especially in honour of health care providers and first responders. Two of the songs sung in Italy have soared: streams of Abbracciame increased by 820% on 13 March, and streams of Azzurro soared more than 715% on 14 March. In Spain, streams of the 1980s track Resistiré (I Will Resist) by Duo Dinamico leapt by more than 435% starting 15 March, after videos of the event started circulating on social media.

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