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Report: Time spent listening to music rises

October 21, 2021

Fans are enjoying more music today than ever before, according to the findings of Engaging with Music 2021, from trade body IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide.

Report highlights include:

  • Fans make their own listening choices thanks to streaming – The main reasons fans gave for 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 well-known popular genres, well over 300 different genres were named by at least one person in the 43,000-person study as music they typically listen to, including gqom, axé, and hokkien song. This reflects the rich, diverse, and highly competitive music landscape fans now enjoy around the world.
  • Engagement is fuelled by music fans’ increasingly rich experiences, with music driving innovations such as short form video, livestreaming, 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 livestream such as a concert in the last 12 months.
  • Time spent listening to music is up globally. Fans are enjoying more music today than ever before, on average spending 18.4 hours a week listening to music (up from 18 hours in 2019) – the equivalent of listening to 368 three-minute tracks.
  • Driven, in part, by record labels’ investment, engagement with streaming – particularly subscription audio streaming – continues 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 streaming for the access and autonomy it provides to choose the artists and the music that they love.
  • 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 16-19 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 the radio 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 music purposes.

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, with the rapid emergence of short form video, livestreaming, and in-game experiences, all enhanced by people’s love of music,” commented Frances Moore, IFPI Chief Executive. “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,” she added.

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