Fewer people playing popular music, possibly due to coronavirus

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In a word: With so many countries and locations stranded due to the coronavirus, one would expect an increase in music streaming. But it seems the reverse is happening. Data shows that the countries hardest hit by the virus are streaming fewer of Spotify’s most popular songs than usual.

Quartz reports that Italy, which has the second highest number of infections (41,000+) behind China, saw its 200 most played Spotify songs drop from 18.3 million streams per day in February 2019 to 14 , 4 million since the start of quarantine. On Tuesday March 17th, there was a 23% drop in the top 200 feeds compared to Tuesday March 3rd.

Image credit: Music Business Worldwide

Quartz notes that while the top 200 streams are becoming less popular, overall usage may be stable. But the trend is in other countries, including the UK, France and Spain, all of which have seen streaming numbers drop for the top 200 songs.

It’s the same story in the United States, where the total number of Spotify streams for the top 200 songs fell to 77 million on March 17, the lowest for every Tuesday so far in 2020, and nearly 14. million less than the previous week.

So why are the top 200 streams getting less popular? Quartz writes that the most popular days for streaming are Fridays and Saturdays, when people are likely to go out, which is rare for most at the moment. It’s also possible that the drop in the number of people commuting and going to gyms may have contributed to the decline.

Music Business Worldwide notes that factors other than coronavirus quarantines could be responsible for the declines, including slowing the release of new hit songs. He reiterates that even though fewer people are listening to Spotify’s top 200 songs, that doesn’t mean the other 50 million songs are performing poorly.

Those who are blocked may stream popular music less often, but more people are turning to Steam, which broke its all-time high last weekend.


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