Music consumption in a pandemic

Rear view of people cheering at concert during music festival.Large group of unrecognizable adults w

The music industry must learn to adapt to a post COVID-19 world - Credit: Getty Images

Thanks to Covid, the music industry has been forced to shift in more ways than one.

You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that consumers were forced to shift consumption habits as live music shut down.

But will the way we listen to music stay the same now that restrictions are starting to lift?

Major societal shifts tend to bring about revolution and new ideas, shedding old methods that simply aren’t relevant anymore and it looks like the same goes for the way we changed our listening habits when the pandemic first hit.

In 2020, a Billboard and Nielsen music study, figures showed that audio-only listening was down by six per cent while music consumption by watching videos was up by eight per cent.

People simply weren’t commuting to work at the time and therefore, weren’t listening to music on the go. Instead, people enjoyed listening to their music accompanied by videos at home rather than by listening to audio only when driving.

What’s also interesting is that the study found that 84 per cent of people were listening to music that they were familiar with and were much less interested in newer releases.

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Evidence suggests that the pandemic triggered nostalgia in many music listeners, as they grappled with the uncertainty of lockdowns, isolation and vaccines.

As experts put it, the negative emotions brought about by the pandemic cause people to react, amend and counter those feelings, seeking nostalgia through music to help recover and remind people of better times.

]When it came to live shows, just 29 per cent of people said that they would return to live music after pandemic, although this percentage is driven by the 35-54 age bracket and consumers with children, with 56 per cent of teens said they would return to live events.

Reflecting on the study, it’s interesting how quickly the music industry has snapped back into life as it was before Covid-19. Its safe to say the music industry needed the return of live music to survive and looking at the response to live music in the past few weeks, physical has trumped digital, once again.