Music listening time through audio streaming up 51 per cent: IFPI

The report – ‘Engaging with Music 2021’ was released on Thursday

Mumbai: The pandemic has taken a severe toll on people’s lives, and impacted their media consumption patterns in more ways than one. According to a new study, it has also led to an increase in the time spent listening to music across the world. People are enjoying more music today than ever before, on an average spending 18.4 hours a week (up from 18 hours in 2019) – the equivalent of listening to 368 three-minute tracks.

The findings are part of a new study – ‘Engaging with Music 2021’ conducted by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), representing the recording industry worldwide.

Driven in part by record labels’ investment, engagement with streaming – particularly subscription audio streaming – also continued to grow, demonstrating increasing value to fans. Time spent listening to music through subscription audio streaming grew 51 per cent, as music fans continue to embrace it for the access and autonomy it provides to choose the artists and the music that they love.

The report measures how people engage with music across 21 countries, and found that fans make their own listening choices, thanks to streaming. The main reasons behind their engagement with streaming were being able to choose their favourite songs, artists, and their own playlists. 68 per cent searched for specific songs and 62 per cent listened to playlists they created more than once a week.

Around the world, music fans are enjoying a rich and diverse mix of genres. In addition to popular genres, well over 300 different ones were named by at least one person in the 43,000-person study as the music they typically listen to, including gqom, axé, and hokkien song.

Engagement is fuelled by listeners’ increasingly rich experiences, with music driving innovations such as short-form video, live streaming, and in-game experiences. 68 per cent of the time spent on short-form video apps involved music-dependent videos such as lip-syncing and dance challenges. Furthermore, one in three (29 per cent) said they had watched a music live stream such as a concert in the last 12 months.

Music makes a powerful contribution to wellbeing, providing comfort and healing to many, especially younger people, in challenging times. 87 per cent said that music provided enjoyment and happiness during the pandemic. 68 per cent of 16-19s said new releases from their favourite artists helped them during the pandemic.

Music is central to what people enjoy about listening to the radio. 74 per cent listen to it mainly for the music and 73 per cent tune in to their favourite radio station because of the music it plays.

The availability of unlicensed music remains an issue for the music ecosystem and the threat continues to evolve. Almost one in three (29 per cent) of people had used illegal or unlicensed methods to listen to or download music, and 14.4 per cent had used unlicensed social media platforms for it.

The data is based on fieldwork conducted in June and July 2021 with 43000 respondents aged between 16 and 64. Panels were nationally representative in each country.

IFPI chief executive Frances Moore, said, ‘Engaging with Music 2021’ tells the story of how fans around the globe are connecting with the artists and music they love in ways never before imagined.

“Record companies have enabled artists to develop their vision, licensed an abundance of music tracks to a multitude of platforms, and harnessed new technologies to pave the way for music fans around the world to connect with artists in these growing, and exciting ways. The freedom of record labels to license music to these new and immersive experiences is crucial to the future growth of the entire music ecosystem.  We are campaigning worldwide to ensure governments maintain or implement a fair environment in which such commercial deals can be made,” said Moore.

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