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Spotify says the pandemic has changed how we listen to music and podcasts

Not even your Spotify listening habits are safe from being affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The streaming service said it’s seen changes in users’ listening choices since lockdowns to prevent the spread of the disease went into effect, according to a first-quarter earnings report.

The company reported that listening on car, wearable, and web platforms have dropped since the pandemic began — by “double digits” in some cases. Spotify cited changes in commuting as one possible cause of the drop. But listening time through game consoles and televisions rose by 50% for the same time period.

“Every day now looks like the weekend,” the company said as people’s weekday routines are thrown out, changing how and how often people use Spotify. 

This downward trend in use has hit Spotify’s podcasts more than its music section.

“However, listening time around activities like cooking, doing chores, family time, and relaxing at home have each been up double digits over the past few weeks,” the company said.

Spotify also said users are gravitating toward comforting audio that could help manage their stress and anxiety. Two in five Spotify users said they were listening to music more often to manage stress, according to a company survey. The streaming service has seen a jump in searches for “chill” and “instrumental” music, as well as for podcasts about wellness and meditation.

For the first quarter, Spotify reported it reached 130 million subscribers, a 31% bump from the previous year. That spike is consistent with the numbers from other streaming services, like Netflix, as most people have been spending more time at home. 

Markets like Italy and Spain saw declines in listening time as the pandemic ravaged those areas, but Spotify said listening time has rebounded as conditions improved. Though canceled accounts decreased overall in the first quarter, one in six canceled subscriptions cited the pandemic as a reason for doing so in the U.S.,  which has the highest number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

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Mythili Sampathkumar
Mythili is a freelance journalist based in New York. When not reporting about politics, foreign policy, entertainment, and…
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