Music Streaming Is Down Despite Coronavirus Isolation

Streams have fallen alongside album sales in the United States after a week of preventative measures
Music Streaming Is Down Despite Coronavirus Isolation
Increased directives to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus have seen people hole up with a lengthy Netflix queue or myriad live streaming musicians to pass the time, but data has shown that music streaming numbers haven't taken the expected leap as a result of social distancing.

As Rolling Stone reports, listening analytics from data provider Alpha Data shows that streaming numbers in the United States fell last week in tandem with an expected decrease in physical and digital album sales.

Their data shows that during the week of March 13 through March 19, streams dropped 7.6 percent, to under 20.1 billion. Programmed streams from services such as Pandora dropped 9 percent to just under 3.5 billion, while on-demand streams of both audio and video dropped 7.3 percent to 16.6 billion.

Digital song sales also dropped 10.7 percent to 3.9 million. Rolling Stone points out that it's the first time that metric has dropped below 4 million in the four years since Alpha Data began tracking sales. 

When it comes to album sales, physical sales dropped 27.6 percent last week, while digital sales fell 12.4 percent. Those figures are expected to fall even further as large retailers like Amazon continue to scale back physical media shipments to prioritize household and medical products.

Alpha Data's findings also show a shift in the kind of music being streamed. Genres that saw an increase in streams include classical (up 1.5 percent), folk (up 2.9 percent) and children's music (up 3.8 percent), while pop, rap, R&B and Latin music all saw streaming numbers drop.

The data arrives in a week where Spotify has launched its COVID-19 Music Relief project, which will recommend verified organizations that offer financial relief for recording artists. Others would rather the platform simply pay artists a higher royalty rate.

Artists of all levels are turning to live streaming as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the music industry. Follow Exclaim!'s list of Canadian music and film events affected by coronavirus.  

You can read Rolling Stone's streaming report here.