IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, has today released Engaging with Music 2021, measuring how 43,000 people across 21 countries – the largest study of its kind – engage with music.  

Report highlights include:

  • Time spent listening to music is up globally. Fans are enjoying more music today than ever before, on average spending 4 hours a week listening to music (up from 18 hours in 2019) – the equivalent of listening to 368 three-minute tracks.
  • Driven, in part, by record labels’ investment, engagement with streaming – particularly subscription audio streaming – continues to grow, demonstrating increasing value to fans. Time spent listening to music through subscription audio streaming grew 51%, as music fans continue to embrace streaming for the access and autonomy it provides to choose the artists and the music that they love.
  • Engagement is fuelled by music fans’ increasingly rich experiences, with music driving innovations such as short form video, livestreaming, and in-game experiences. 68% of the time spent on short form video apps involved music-dependent videos such as lip syncing and dance challenges. Furthermore, one in three (29%) said they had watched a music livestream such as a concert in the last 12 months.
  • Music makes a powerful contribution to wellbeing, providing comfort and healing to many – especially younger people – in challenging times. 87% said that music provided enjoyment and happiness during the pandemic. 68% of 16-19s said new releases from their favourite artists helped them during the pandemic.
  • Around the world, music fans are enjoying a rich and diverse mix of genres. In addition to well-known popular genres, well over 300 different genres were named by at least one person in the 43,000-person study as music they typically listen to, including gqom, axé, and hokkien song. This reflects the rich and diverse music landscape fans now enjoy around the world.
  • Music is central to what people enjoy about listening to the radio. 74% listen to the radio mainly for the music and 73% tune in to their favourite radio station because of the music it plays.
  • The availability of unlicensed music remains an issue for the music ecosystem and the threat continues to evolve. Almost one in three (29%) of people had used illegal or unlicensed methods to listen to or download music, and 4% had used unlicensed social media platforms for music purposes.

Frances Moore, IFPI Chief Executive, said: Engaging with Music 2021 tells the story of how fans around the globe are enjoying more music in more ways than ever before, with the rapid emergence of short form video, livestreaming, and in-game experiences, all enhanced by people’s love of music.

“Record companies have helped artists to develop their vision, licensed an abundance of music tracks to a multitude of platforms, and harnessed new technologies to pave the way for music fans around the world to connect with artists in these growing, and exciting ways.

“The freedom of record labels to license music to these new and immersive experiences is crucial to the future growth of the entire music ecosystem.  We’re campaigning worldwide to ensure governments implement or maintain a fair environment in which such commercial deals can be made.”

Download Engaging with Music 2021 here.

Download the UK infographic here.