Headlines: How The Pandemic Is (or Isn't) Affecting Music Use / Royalties

  in Industry News

Apr 03, 2020

The fallout from coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly every industry, including the music business. But not all sectors will feel the same sting. This week, we've compiled a list of stories examining in more detail how music income is likely to respond as the situation unfolds. 

Why Subscriptions Could Insulate the Music Market in 2020

Last week, on-demand audio streams held up well: total streams fell 0.5% as audio sank 3.2% and video gained 3.7%, according to MRC Data/Nielsen Music. Music listening will “rebound rapidly” when the crisis subsides, says Russ Crupnick, principle at MusicWatch. And despite the week-to-week decline, American consumers’ streams of tracks and videos were still 14.2% higher than the same week in 2019.


Peak streaming now happens one to two hours later than our normal morning time. And the difference between weekends and weekdays is more or less gone – every day looks like Sunday now.

How Radio Can Survive the Looming Coronavirus Recession: 'People Turn to Radio in Times Like This'

83% of adults in the U.S. say they listen to radio the same or more than before the coronavirus outbreak. Most people surveyed trust radio as a good source of information for the pandemic. In the last week, about 30% of people surveyed listened to more radio since the outbreak.

Coronavirus Listener Data: Video Still Rules, While Audio Streams Start to Trickle Back

Audio streams fell 3.2% to 14.545 billion. That may not sound like positive news, but it shows the decline in audio streaming is slowing after the prior week's sharp 9% decline. Of course, year to date audio streams are still doing fine -- they are up 16.9% to 173.58 billion versus 148.45 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. Overall on-demand streams are up 19.7% to 267.75 billion from 223.73 billion tallied during the year-earlier same time frame.

Record Companies Aren’t Safe From the Coronavirus Economic Fallout

It's a common misconception that record companies make all of their money from that which gives them their name — records — being sold or streamed. The reality is more complicated: Labels do obtain the majority of their income from these sources, but also pull in revenues from areas such as live-ticketing (due to so-called 360 artist deals), merchandise, and two distinct types of licensing: public performance and “sync,” i.e., the use of music in movies, TV shows, advertising, and video games.