Media Streaming Poised to Spike 60 Percent Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

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(photo: Sara Kurfeß)

With a significant portion of the United States and the world remaining indoors due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, media streaming—including television, movies, music, and more—is expected to increase by approximately 60 percent, according to a recent study.

Nielsen conducted the survey, which emphasized that a streaming uptick of 60 percent would be especially noteworthy because the average American had already started to stream more before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the third quarter of 2019, for instance, Nielsen indicated that the average American enjoyed nearly 12 hours of media per day; approximately two of these hours were dedicated to radio. Moreover, the study reiterated that U.S. television viewership has historically increased during crises and other events that prevent or dissuade individuals from leaving home.

Music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify could experience considerable listenership (and subscriber) upticks during the pandemic, and Apple appears particularly well-positioned given its Apple TV+ video-streaming service, as well as its other bundling options.

Furthermore, several states and cities have banned large gatherings, closed bars and restaurants, and otherwise limited local access to music and entertainment, all in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. This point—that many Americans are missing entertainment, as opposed to simply spending more time inside—may also spur growth for Spotify, Apple Music, and media streaming generally.

Meanwhile, the music industry is already adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of noteworthy ways.

Ultra Music Festival announced yesterday that it will partner with SiriusXM to deliver virtual performances through a limited-time radio station. The music festival proper was canceled about two weeks ago and was not rescheduled, with organizers opting instead to carry out next year’s show as scheduled. In the same vein, Live Nation, AEG Presents, and leading talent agencies have formed a coronavirus response coalition.

Yesterday, a Seattle woman was administered a possible COVID-19 vaccine. The drug’s trial is expected to span multiple weeks, though health officials have made clear that it will be months—and possibly longer than one year—before a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available.