Spotify Details Changes in Podcasts, Playlists During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Songs being streamed are trending toward acoustic, lower-energy, instrumental

Spotify reported a rise in collaborative playlists since the start of the coronavirus pandemic stockcam/iStock

In a fitting nod to the era of social distancing, streams of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police shot up more than 135% on Spotify in recent weeks.

The audio-streaming service analyzed trends on its platform for the week of March 19 through 25, when the coronavirus pandemic confined most people to their homes, and it shared some of the trends it found in music and podcast listening in a blog post.

Spotify created a Covid-19 hub to give users a single destination for related news podcasts, and it said popular choices among listeners have included: Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction from CNN; Coronavirus Global Update from the BBC; Don’t Touch Your Face from Foreign Policy; and related episodes of Science Vs from Gimlet.

Spotify also saw more streaming of Kids & Family content, highlighting music to help kids sleep and saying that children’s music and classical music saw increases as parents sought ways to keep their kids safe and entertained.

Songs being added to playlists during the time period analyzed by Spotify tended to be more acoustic, less danceable and lower-energy, as well as more instrumental.

Spotify also reported a rise in collaborative playlists, enabling people to connect over shared music and participate in virtual jam sessions. And the company said users are sharing more content from Spotify to their social platforms than usual.

With live tours on hold for the foreseeable future, artists holding virtual concerts online have seen spikes in streaming on Spotify, including James Blake, Chloe x Halle, Code Orange, Ben Gibbard, Indigo Girls and Jewel.

Podcasts in the Health & Fitness and Lifestyle & Health categories have tallied more listens, as have those with the words “cooking” or “recipes” in their titles or descriptions.

Spotify added that users are creating and following more workout playlists than at the same time last month, and streams are up for playlists involving running, yoga, nature sounds and meditation.

Finally, Spotify noted the trend in hard-hit countries such as Italy and Spain of residents singing songs together from apartment balconies and windows, often to honor healthcare providers and first responders.

In Italy, streams of “Abbracciame” by Andrea Sannino skyrocketed by 820% March 13, and “Azzurro” by Adriano Celentano saw a similar 715% gain the following day.

And in Spain, Duo Dinamico’s “Resistiré” saw streams shoot up by more than 435% starting March 15, after videos of people singing it began circulating on social media. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.