What is it about?

COVID-19 induced restrictions ordered by governments around the world have been an exogenous shock to the music industry, which we divide into two affected groups: 1) live music events and 2) recorded music. While the impact on live music events is rather obvious, it is unclear how the current pandemic is affecting the recorded music market. Hence, we study consumers’ pre- and post-pandemic shifts in consumer spending (in euros) and music consumption (in hours) across live music events, as well as the digital and physical submarkets of recorded music, in the world’s fourth largest music market, Germany. Relying on an online bi-annual panel capturing five waves between winter 2018/19 and winter 2020/21, we find that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the continuous trend towards digitalization of the music landscape with premium streaming being the biggest beneficiary. However, total monthly consumer spending on music decreased by more than 45% compared to pre-pandemic, with live music events and physical sales being the most severely affected. Surprisingly, music consumption in hours also decreased during the lockdown even though consumers spent more time at home.

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Why is it important?

Our results contribute to academic literature in many ways. While Carlson et al. [5] provide initial insights on the impact of COVID-19 on music consumption, we expand their findings by using a panel model which allows us to analyze consumer behavior before and after the pandemic outbreak across different channels more precisely. In addition, we also analyze the impact of COVID-19 on consumer spending. Consequently, our results provide managerial implications for labels, artists, platforms, ticketers, and event organizers. Moreover, our results might trigger discussions about new types of contracts between artists, labels, and platforms, accounting for the unique risk-reward attribute of live music events which has now become apparent during the pandemic.


The opportunity to work alongside co-authors with whom I have established long-standing collaborations allowed for an in-depth exploration of my personal interests in the fields of music industry and technology. It has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between music and technology, and to explore the implications of emerging trends and technologies within the music industry.

Janis Denk

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This page is a summary of: The impact of COVID-19 on music consumption and music spending, PLoS ONE, May 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267640.
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