Saturday, August 8, 2020

Paid Streaming Grows as Consumers Head Indoors

With rising COVID-19 cases across the United States, many Americans are spending more time indoors and leaning on entertainment more than ever for information, connection and comfort, reports Billboard.

That’s according to the sixth installment of Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s survey series “COVID-19: Tracking the Impact on the Entertainment Landscape,” which also notes an increased interest in music listening, with the highest percentage of survey respondents yet saying they have added a new audio subscription streaming service over the prior two weeks. Despite mounting fears of the coronavirus, a willingness to return to live events also remains on the uptick, while interest in virtual concerts — and, in particular, opportunities to connect with others through them — has reached its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Key takeaways from the results of the new report, based on online survey data collected July 8-13 from a representative sample of 1,007 U.S. consumers ages 13 and older.
  • Americans are adding subscription streaming services at a greater rate than ever — but also canceling them more frequently than before.  Though video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu remain the most popular choices during the pandemic, consumers have increasingly turned to music, with 56% of respondents having added a service like Spotify or Apple Music over the past two weeks. That ranks as the highest percentage by far since the first MRC survey was conducted in late March, showing Americans are relying on music more than ever as concerns over job security and contracting the virus also reach new highs. Still, 40% of respondents also said they had canceled an audio or video subscription streaming service over the prior two weeks — the highest total since the start of the pandemic — suggesting services may need to do more to retain their subscribers.
  • Reggae and rock are surging, and country continues to overperform. As genres such as Latin, dance/electronic, R&B/hip-hop and pop continue to trend down, the impressive growth of country music has shown no signs of slowing, with total weekly streams in the genre up a whopping 14.2% since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, reggae — typically a strong performer during the summer months — had the biggest gains in total weekly streams of any genre at 18.3%, suggesting consumers are looking to re-create those relaxing seasonal vibes even as typical outdoor summer activities have been curtailed. Rock, too, rose 1.5%, an increase likely tied to growth in catalog streaming.
  • As consumers spend more time indoors, their use of at-home devices for music listening has experienced an uptick. As lockdown measures increased with the surge in U.S. cases, more consumers reported using at-home devices such as smart speakers (up 6 percentage points to 36%), desktop computers (up 6 points to 33%) and 3D/smart TVs (up 5% to 28%) to listen to music than the last survey period. Meanwhile, the use of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptop computers remained stagnant.

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