Spotify on shifting listening behavior: “Every day now looks like the weekend”

The big picture: A recent survey of US consumers found that two in five said they are now listening to music more than before to help manage stress which the company said helps explain the increase in searches for terms like “chill” and “instrumental.” Similarly, they’ve also seen a spike in the consumption of podcasts related to meditation and wellness in recent weeks.

Netflix isn’t the only entertainment giant observing changing consumer behavior as a result of Covid-19. Spotify in its letter to shareholders accompanying Q1 financial results on Wednesday said it, too, has witnessed significant changes as a result of Coronavirus containment efforts.

As you’d expect, usage in vehicles, on wearables and on web platforms has dropped as of late – by double digits in some instances. Conversely, more people now than ever are listening through connected televisions and game consoles with usage up more than 50 percent in these categories.

On the business side, Spotify said it is in week seven of its entire employee base working remotely. From a performance standpoint, the company said it hasn’t noticed a falloff in employee productivity during this new temporary reality. That said, the streaming audio giant will slow hiring for the remaining three quarters of 2020 which will reduce its open headcount by about 30 percent from previous growth projections.

Spotify on shifting listening behavior: "Every day now looks like the weekend" 1

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As for the financials, Spotify said monthly active users climbed 31 percent year-over-year to 286 million. It was the third consecutive quarter of year on year growth above 30 percent. Spotify’s paying subscriber count reached 130 million in the quarter, also up 31 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

Masthead credit: Robert Kneschke

Spotify on shifting listening behavior: "Every day now looks like the weekend" 2
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