How is the Covid-19 epidemic impacting the UK streaming market?

How is the Covid-19 epidemic impacting the UK streaming market?

The coronavirus epidemic has had a marked impact on music consumption, though you might not realise it from the current Midweek Sales Flash

5 Seconds Of Summer are heading for No.1 with sales so far of 19,197 (Official Charts Company) for Calm (Polydor/Interscope), of which a massive 88.9% is physical. Of course, the bulk of that will be down to pre-orders, although some mail order music will still be getting through – and some indie retailers are embracing home delivery.

Overall, though, streaming is currently the listening format of choice for albums. According to Official Charts Company data, streaming consumption (SEA-2) was 82.3% of the albums market last week, compared to 76.3% in the prior week and 75.3% two weeks ago.

Last week, physical album sales were just 12.4% of the market, compared to 19.4% in the prior week and 20.3% two weeks ago. In fact, physical artist album sales were down an eye-watering 40.9% week-on-week, while downloads increased by 16% over the same period.

The Weeknd’s No.1 After Hours (Island) leaned heavily towards streaming consumption (77.7%). In the US, The Weeknd’s album had the biggest opening of 2020 so far.

Deezer has revealed data on streaming consumption during the epidemic, which is now more evenly spread throughout the week.

But while there will be a DSP boost from people staying at home, there’s also going to be a decrease in streams resulting from shops and gyms closing their doors and car journeys decreasing. Plus Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music will be competing in the home with Netflix, iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video – and, of course, rolling news.

Big releases are also being pushed back, though Dua Lipa has gone ahead with the well-received Future Nostalgia. It’s currently battling 5 Seconds Of Summer for No.1 with streaming topping consumption of the sophomore LP. 

There are some warning signs for labels in the latest OCC statistics. Audio streams were up to 2,122,760,621 – a week-on-week increase of just 0.4%.

By contrast, music video streams – less affected by shop closures – were up by 12% week-on-week at 232,269,293. With children staying at home, too, Baby Shark and similar tracks on repeat could see a boost at a time when kids’ music is a growing area.

In the prior chart week to March 20 (at which point the pubs and clubs were still open) audio streams were up 0.5% week-on-week, compared to a 0.2% week-on-week increase for music videos.

Covid-19 may or may not lead to a streaming increase in the overall UK market. But either way, YouTube looks likely to get a bump in consumption as a result of the government’s lockdown.

author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

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