How I Listen

What Music Fans Are Craving During Coronavirus [VIDEO]

Although much of the discussion concerning music in the age of Coronavirus suggests that music consumers are listening to less music , a closer look suggests listeners are simply moving away from the current top hits in exchange for more comfortable and familiar music.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Headlines claim that the entire music industry is suffering because of COVID-19, but certain artists are thriving thanks to the power of great songwriting.

In the weeks following the first US death from Coronavirus, multiple news outlets ran articles about the decline in music consumption. Analysts pointed to a drop in streams for the top 200 Spotify songs as proof of this being true, as well as a decline in radio listening due to fewer people commuting for work or other activities. While those data points are true, they do not paint a complete picture of consumption in the age of COVID.

People are still listening to music, but their song choices are changing. A report from CNBC shows that music consumption through smart speakers is up over 30% in the last month, which points to families choosing to listen together. That decision typically draws people away from playlists like New Music Friday or popular songs charts in preference of more familiar, arguably safer content.

Additionally, a lack of social gatherings is inspiring listeners to revert to their personal preferences. The top 200 charts, much like pop radio, is driven primarily by songs that a large number of people enjoy to one extent or another. Without concerts, parties, and other events, there are very few scenarios where people feel the need to put on music that everyone enjoys. Instead, consumers are turning to their favorites artists and release. They’re listening to the music that serves as the soundtracks to their lives, and their tastes vary greatly because every person’s journey is unique.

Then there is the elephant in the room that most are not ready to discuss. Living through the coronavirus is a traumatic experience. When confronted by instances of great stress and pain, people tend to reach for familiar sources of comfort, and the current state of the world is pushing people toward the music that gets them through trying times.

In this episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell breaks down the reality of music consumption during the coronavirus pandemic. He explains the meaning of ‘comfort listening,’ as well as how up and coming artists should use this time as an opportunity to plan for greater success in the future.


James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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