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Sound tripping up as refuge amid COVID

/ 05:30 AM October 22, 2021

LONDON — Music fans globally are spending more time listening to tunes, about 18.4 hours a week on average, and have turned to their favorite artists for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey published on Thursday.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the recorded music industry’s representative body, said the figure, which equates to listening to 368 three-minute songs, is up from 18 hours in 2019, with listeners mostly turning to subscription audio streaming, video streaming, the radio and short-form video apps like TikTok.

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The “Engaging with Music 2021” study, described by IFPI as the largest of its kind, is based on the views of 43,000 music fans in 21 countries.

“The research finds that not only are fans listening to more music, but that they are also seizing opportunities to engage with new, dynamic and immersive music experiences,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said in the report.

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“Fueled by record labels’ investment, the incredible abundance and growth of music licensed to streaming services is driving this engagement … In addition, music has provided fans with comfort and healing through these challenging times.”

Over 300 kinds

Fans have resorted to streaming for autonomy and choice, with music listening time through subscription audio streaming rising 51 percent, the study found, while 68 percent of those surveyed said they searched for specific songs more than once a week.

Short-form videos, livestreaming and in-game experiences were also popular: the study found one in three people saying they had watched a music livestream in the last year.

When it came to genres, more than 300 different kinds of music were named as music people listened to, with examples including electronic dance gqom, from South Africa, and axé, which originated in Brazil in the 1980s.

Around 87 percent said music lifted their spirits during the pandemic while 68 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds said new releases from their favorite singers soothed them during the pandemic.

Highlighting the problem of unlicensed music, almost one in three people surveyed—or 29 percent—said they had used illegal or unlicensed methods to listen to or download tunes.

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