Early indications suggest the UK public is boosting demand for radio as millions adjust to working from home, but music streaming hasn’t yet seen a similar benefit.

As millions now face a sustained lockdown, demand patterns may well change, but Music Week reported that while, in the music singles market, audio streams edged up 0.5% last week, and video streams nudged higher by 0.2%, in the albums sector, Streaming Equivalent Albums fell 6.2% week-on-week.

“It’s too early to say if that means the crisis will lead to reduced music consumption across the board and, even in the coming weeks, other likely factors such as a reduced release schedule will also have an impact,” the title said.

Evidence from Italy, the country hardest-hit by the coronavirus and where self-isolation has been in force much longer, suggests music streaming may indeed take a hit.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but, as Quartz reported, the numbers in Italy show a drop-off of 23% in streams of the most popular 200 songs on Spotify between March 3 and March 17 – Italy was ordered into quarantine on March 9. The top 200 most-streamed songs on Spotify averaged 18.3 million a day in February 2019. The total streams for the 200 most popular songs since March 9 was down to 14.4 million.

And it isn’t only Italy. In the US, total Spotify streams of the top 200 songs dropped to 77 million on March 17, the lowest figure for a Tuesday this year, and down 14 million on the previous week. The same pattern is emerging in France and Spain, according to Quartz.

The hunger for information about the rapidly changing situation appears, though, to be driving people to turn on their radios, with Global, owners of a string of popular stations, including Capital, Global’s Newsroom, and LBC, reporting a significant leap in connected listening, with daily reach up 15%, and hours showing an increase of 9% between March 9 and 17.

It also reports a rise of nearly 10% across its news podcasts.

Sourced from Music Week, Quartz, Global