How has music streaming including live/video streaming been impacted by Covid 19?

October 29, 2020

When the world’s music scene was forced to close in March 2020, many musicians saw the majority of their earnings disappear overnight. As the year moved forward, the outlook became even bleaker as the star-studded line-up of festivals and gigs fell one by one. 

You might think that Spotify, the world’s biggest music streaming platform would also struggle alongside the crippled music industry, but figures show us that this isn’t exactly the case. 

Even though streaming fell by a third during the first few weeks of lockdown, a spokesperson for Spotify said ‘every day now looks like the weekend’ for its users. Spotify has now become the go-to soundtrack for lockdown life, with people ‘tuning in’ for background noises for cooking, cleaning and general family time. 

“It’s a new behaviour and it is something that we will continue to invest in. We think a lot about the future of audio and we think that future has now been accelerated because people have been at home. And our streaming intelligence data means we can make that suite of products even stronger for those who are home.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the larger businesses of our industry during lockdown however, with Tom Gray, a director at PRS and 1998 Mercury Prize winner has been at the forefront of the movement, calling out the fact that major labels are banking upwards of a million dollars every hour from streaming whilst smaller artists for similar amounts of streams receive tiny amounts in comparison.

Above, Gregory Porter performing ‘Revival’, from the album ‘All Rise’, produced by Conchord’s own Troy Miller. Porter performed this for ‘Radio 2 Live At Home’ alongside members of the BBC Concert Orchestra who joined via video from their own homes and gardens.

Replacing live shows with live streams

Live performances are the beating heart of the music industry. It’s where artists and their fans connect in the same space. Covid-19 may have put a stop to this, but artists have been putting on shows online to connect with their fan base all through lockdown. 

Facebook & Instagram saw a 50% increase in users watching live video during the coronavirus lock-down, even going so far as to completely change their company road-map to focus on live content. Whilst live musicians have had a pretty easy ride with live-streaming, DJs haven’t had quite as much luck – with Facebook doubling down on music copyright claims. 

In retaliation to this, other companies have had to start from the ground up, with sites like Mixcloud creating a brand new streaming platform which pays artists royalties when a DJ plays their song during a set.



Whilst live streaming and music streaming have seen an unprecedented increase during lockdown, what remains to be seen is whether these numbers will be sustained once people go back to their old habits. More than anything though, it shows that live streaming is a viable option for artists looking to connect with their audience.

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