Music Industry

On-demand audio streams DROPPED during the first big week of the coronavirus. Here’s why.

You’d think with people staying home because of the coronavirus situation that more of us would be streaming music as a way to pass the time. Nope. Last week, the first stretch of serious social distancing and please-work-at-home restrictions in Canada, the number of on-demand audio streams actually went down.

During the week of March 12, Canadians accessed 1.672 billion streams. But once we got to the week of March 19, that number dropped a whopping 9.5% to 1.513 billion.

That seems counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t more of us be consoling ourselves/cocooning by listening to more music? I mean, we’ve got a lot more free time. What’s happening?

  • On-demand video streaming is way up (+15.8% in just a week). People are spending more time watching streams and less time listening to them.
  • Commutes are way down. With so many people staying at home, fewer folks are riding the train/bus/car while listening to Spotify et al.
  • People are staying inside and not walking around listening to music on their phones.

That being said, on-demand audio streams are still 19.5% higher than they were at this time last year. On-demand video, however, is 29.4% higher.

And these trends are evident not just in Canada, either. We’re seeing this phenomenon in other countries.

Other sales notes:

  • Total album sales for the week are 30.5% less than at this point in 2019.
  • CD sales are down 33.6%.
  • Digital albums are down 30.0%
  • Digital tracks are down 30.4%
  • Vinyl is down 13.9%

Given the situation, things aren’t going to improve anytime soon.

(All numbers from Nielsen Music Canada. Additional coverage can be found here.)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “On-demand audio streams DROPPED during the first big week of the coronavirus. Here’s why.

  • What is the source for these numbers?


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