Consumers Willing to Pay More for Streaming During Pandemic, Nielsen Music/MRC Data Finds

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How many streaming subscriptions does one person need? According to a new study by Nielsen Music/MRC Data, about a quarter of respondents believe they could use one more.

In its new report "COVID-19: Tracking the impact on the Entertainment Landscape," MRC Data and Nielsen Music -- recently acquired by Billboard's parent company Valence Media -- finds that 60% of the U.S. population are engaging with more entertainment now that so many people are working from home.

And 24% of those surveyed added at least one new subscription service in the last few weeks: 81% added video, 38% added music and 14% added games. Of those adding a subscription, households with children were the demo most likely to do so.

In compiling its findings, the group surveyed a 945-person sample representative of the U.S. population, with data being collected from March 25 through March 29. The study looked at the sample group’s activity for the prior two-week period, which would date it back to approximately March 12, when all U.S. professional sports leagues announced they were suspending their seasons — kickstarting the U.S. economy shutdown.

As for what types of entertainment people are turning to during the pandemic, the data shows that TV, movies and social media all rank higher than music, which typically landed as the fourth choice among respondents. That lower ranking for music was regardless of which motivating factors a person cited, such as a need for cheering up, a general escape or just needing something to occupy a child’s attention.

Moving over to activities in which people are engaging in during the pandemic, watching news received the greatest increase, while live events had the biggest decline due to social restrictions.

Yet, of those surveyed, 74% said they engaged in TV/cable/video/streaming video content; 65% also turned to social media; 64% to music; 60% to movies; 50% to news; 47% to video games; 40% to radio; and 34% to reading, among other activities.

Overall, 79% of those surveyed agreed they are consuming more news than before the pandemic.Looking specifically at music, 87% say they are listening to what they would normally listen to; while 55% add they are opting for older music they used to listen to as people seek out entertainment they are familiar with.

For those whose time spent listening to music has declined during the pandemic, the main reason is because they are no longer commuting to work, while others say they are turning to other forms of entertainment.

In accessing music, 78% cited their smartphones as their main source, but the survey notes that other devices are coming into play, with 46% using their laptop to listen to music; 33% using smart speakers; 30% using desktop computers; 26% through tablets; and 35% through smart TVs.

In a surprising statistic, only 84% of those surveyed want a return to normalcy after experiencing life during the pandemic.

For more information, especially for an in-depth look at the pandemic's impact on music consumption, access the survey here.