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Despite early Covid-19 hit, US streaming grew by 17% in 2020


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In the early weeks of Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, there were concerns about whether a noticeable dip in the number of music streams would turn into a longer-term trend. Would people working from home turn to other forms of entertainment over music, and if so, might they be more likely to cancel their paid streaming subscriptions if they owned them?

The latter didn’t happen in 2020, although with choppy economic waters ahead the music industry isn’t counting any chickens just yet. But the streaming volumes worries were short-lived too: as 2020 continued, the number of streams bounced back, and even surged in the latter months of the year.

MRC Data’s new report on the US recorded music market emphasises that. The report tracks 872.6bn streams in the US in 2020: 17% higher than the previous year to set a new record. And this was despite a 5.7% decline in the number of streams during the first two months of the Covid-19 lockdowns in the US.

The report also outlines the latest figures for some established streaming trends. For example, R&B and hip-hop combined accounted for 28.2% of overall volume in 2020, ahead of rock (19.5%), pop (12.9%) and country (7.9%). The latter genre had an encouraging year on streaming services too: the pandemic appears to have accelerated the long-anticipated migration of mainstream country fans from radio and CD to streaming.

Stuart Dredge

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