Music fans spend more time listening to tunes during pandemic -study

A customer listens to music at the new Apple Store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles
A customer listens to music at the new Apple Store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Music fans globally are spending more time listening to tunes, about 18.4 hours a week on average, and have turned to their favourite artists for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey published on Thursday.

IFPI, the recorded music industry's representative body, said the figure, which equates to listening to 368 three-minute songs, is up from 18 hours in 2019, with listeners mostly turning to subscription audio streaming, video streaming, the radio and short form video apps like TikTok.

The "Engaging with Music 2021" study, described by IFPI as the largest of its kind, is based on the views of 43,000 music fans in 21 countries.

"The research finds that not only are fans listening to more music, but that they are also seizing opportunities to engage with new, dynamic, and immersive music experiences," IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said in the report.

"Fuelled by record labels’ investment, the incredible abundance and growth of music licensed to streaming services is driving this engagement...In addition, music has provided fans with comfort and healing through these challenging times."

Fans have resorted to streaming for the autonomy and choice, with music listening time through subscription audio streaming rising 51%, the study found, while 68% of those surveyed said they searched for specific songs more than once a week.

Short-form videos, livestreaming and in-game experiences were also popular: the study found one in three people saying they had watched a music livestream in the last year.

When it came to genres, more than 300 different kinds of music were named as music people listened to, with examples including electronic dance gqom, from South Africa, and axé, which originated in Brazil in the 1980s.

Around 87% said music lifted their spirits during the pandemic while 68% of 16- to 19-year olds said new releases from their favourite singers soothed them during the pandemic.

Highlighting the problem of unlicensed music, almost one in three people surveyed - or 29% - said they had used illegal or unlicensed methods to listen to or download tunes.

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian Editing by Mark Heinrich

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