With many U.S. workers at home during the coronavirus lockdown, audio streaming saw a dramatic kick in listening, beginning in mid-March and continuing through mid-June 2020. According to newly released data from Comscore’s Total Home Panel, from Dec. 30, 2019 through the week of June 15, total average daily audio streaming hours rose by a third (32%).
Driving the increase in home audio consumption are such marquee brand streaming services as Spotify, iHeartRadio and Pandora, according to Comscore’s research. Audio listening hours in homes that subscribe to an over-the-top (OTT) television service increased one percent for Spotify from January through May 2020, where it maintained the top spot for total listening hours in the U.S.
Comscore says iHeartRadio was second for total listening hours, posting an 11% increase from January to May. And Pandora experienced the largest increase, with in-home audio streaming hours up 42% during that period. Comscore did not release any specifics about whether the listening was to streaming music, radio station simulcasts or podcasts.
Many households utilized their connected TV devices to access digital audio at home, including streaming sticks/boxes, gaming consoles and smart TVs. Amazon products lead as Amazon Fire TV has the most audio streaming at home (more than 67 million hours across OTT homes in May), while Amazon Echo holds second place, with 48 million hours of streaming; followed by Google Home, with 14 million hours of audio in May.
In a separate study, Nielsen Music/MRC Data found that after an early June lull, streaming has again risen to normal levels, with country rising a dramatic 13% in weekly audio streams since the start of the pandemic. Its research reveals that overall streaming dipped in early June, coinciding with nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
Country is the only genre that has risen over the time frame: By comparison, R&B/hip-hop is down 5.8%, while dance/electronic dipped 5.9%. Catalog music (older than 18 months) “seems to be picking up some of the slack, keeping overall streaming figures afloat” according to Nielsen. The data, collected June 10-14, is based on a sample of 1,050 U.S. consumers aged 13 and older.