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A few weeks ago, BMAT, our FuturePulse partner, released the report ‘WHAT THE FAQ IS GOING ON WITH MUSIC RIGHT NOW? on how COVID-19 is changing the music consumption trends. Through this report, BMAT aims to answer the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that has received about pandemic music trends.

So, what are BMAT’s key findings?

  • There were some COVID-19 anthems surfacing. In specific, Spain and Italy have turned to songs of Hope and Strength for support and the popular 80’s song “Resistiré” increased 6 fold its monthly radio spins from January to April this year in Spain.
  • Confinement has actually changed our appetite for certain genres. Genre shifts in radio are slight. The only small victory goes to R&B, and a small defeat goes to Hip Hop.
  • Quarantine has also turned people to familiar oldies for comfort. Radios are currently playing more 60s and 80s, less 90s and 2000s. Still, music released after 2010 typically accounts for more than 80% of the top 50 played songs. In addition, UK and Spain are favouring listening to the same older songs more frequently. What is also extraordinary is that after lockdown, the amount of music released before 2010 rose, going from making up 4.2% to 8.7% of all music in the UK charts.
  • A new balance between commercial, production and commissioned music on TVs is emerging, expanding in this way the universe of songs being played.
  • When it comes to adverts during the pandemic, radio stations’ channel jingles are proving to be the most resistant. The total seconds of TV ads has hardly changed, with 2 exceptions, sports and local channels’ decrease over 50%. Traditional advertisement music fell by almost 50% but recovery seems within reach as new brands and governmental campaigns come into play. It seems the more local a radio or TV’s reach is, the more vulnerable they are to a loss of advertisement revenues.
  • Regarding the question of whether speech is overtaking music, BMAT points out that the distribution of Music and Speech content is consistent with that before any required social confinement laws. On radios, there's been a minimal increase by 0.35% of speech against music content.
  • COVID-19 is affecting music in audiovisual content. Eurosport have also been forced to modify their programming – going from being 100% sports to just a small portion. Last but not least, there’s an inability to release new episodes on a weekly basis since lockdown.
In FuturePulse, we would like to believe that through this situation, new opportunities will rise for the music industry. And we could not agree more with our partners from BMAT mentioning for this “tale of adaptability”: “As pathological optimists we believe that from the damage this virus might cause to  the  global  music  industry,  new  and  exciting opportunities will rise. We hope this analysis of COVID-19’s effects on music usage helps anyone involved in the music industry have a better insight of what the future could bring.”

You can read the full report here.

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Co-funded by the European Commission

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 761634. This website reflects the views only of the Consortium, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.