3 ways people are turning to audio while social distancing

As people around the world shelter in place and practice social distancing to stay safe, their daily routines have been turned upside down. On Spotify, we’re seeing people turn to music and podcasts to stay informed, stay connected, and stay grounded.

We’ve written about the best ways to be heard in the moment before. Now that these moments are taking new shape, it’s important for brands to understand where, what, and why people are streaming audio right now. Based on global listening from Spotify’s free and Premium users from March 19 to 25, we’ve seen listeners gravitate toward certain content for a handful of specific reasons.

Keep reading to learn more.

Listening at home takes new shape — but context still matters

Where people stream audio has already shifted majorly to the home. While in-car streaming is trending downward, listening across devices like computer desktops, TVs, smart speakers, and gaming consoles is on the rise.

Even as listening across devices takes place under one roof, context is still important for brands to keep in mind. Whether someone is streaming a Focus playlist from a desktop computer during working hours, or tuning into a podcast while gaming, the ads they hear should feel relevant to the activity at hand. Delivering the right message at the right moment is as important as ever — especially as those moments move to devices at home.

Helping families bond, learn, and ease the transition

More time at home means more time parents and kids are spending together. Music and podcasts are helping families pass the time, aiding with everything from lulling newborns to sleep to keeping school-aged kids entertained. And with many parents now facing the unexpected task of homeschooling, connected listening offers a way to feed their kids’ curiosity and learn new things.

This month, we’ve seen an increase in streaming of Kids & Family content, including children’s and classical music. Rest-related playlists like Baby Sleep, Music Box Lullabies, and Baby Sleep Aid: Rain Sounds are some of the top-streamed Kids & Family playlists globally. Storytelling podcasts for kids are seeing an uptick as well — all the better for keeping screen time to a minimum.

Check out more of the top playlists and podcasts parents are streaming with their kids.

Staying healthy — from the inside out

Last year, we reported on why audio is such a key ingredient for peoples’ workouts. We found that motivation is the number-one reason people stream while exercising, along with “to relax” and “to set a certain mood.”1 Right now, these reasons ring truer than ever for listeners globally, as health and wellness take priority during uncertain times.

In the past few weeks, more people have been listening to podcasts in the Health & Fitness and Lifestyle & Health categories, and creating more of their own workout playlists, too. They’re also using audio to slow down and check in with their mental health. Streams of running, yoga, nature sounds, and meditation playlists are up. “Chill” tracks are also seeing more rotation in people’s playlists, meaning songs that are more acoustic, less danceable, and have lower energy than songs previously added, with more focus on instrumentals rather than vocals.

Brands can — and should — take cues from listeners’ shift to chill. Focus on audio experiences that match the tone of the moment, without disrupting the experience. If you’ve opted for loud effects and energetic beats in the past, now’s the time to explore calmer sounds, inspired by nature and ambient tracks.

Overall, the rhythm of daily life is shifting. People are turning to music and podcasts to enhance their time spent at home, using audio to connect with their friends, families, favorite artists and shows — and a sense of inner calm.

1 Source: Crowd DNA & Spotify, Seize The Moments survey among 800 US Spotify users 18-44, April 2019

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