The turn to “comfort music”

Pop music has become less popular during the pandemic.

With millions stuck at home due to coronavirus shelter-in-place orders and searching for entertainment, data suggest that new releases by major pop artists are drawing fewer listeners than normal. Instead, streaming metrics show, listeners are tuning in to old favorites from the likes of Bob Marley, Dixie Chicks and Bill Withers—the singer of “Lean On Me,” who died last month.

Several factors are denting pop-music listening. Major artists are delaying album releases, and workers ordered to stay home aren’t commuting, cutting into time spent listening to radio, analysts say, adding that news is drawing more interest for those who do tune in. And without live concerts or performances on talk shows, music labels’ promotional machines are less powerful…

On Spotify, the largest streaming service by subscriptions, cumulative streams of the top 200 U.S. songs have fallen in recent weeks—tumbling 28% from the week ending March 12 to the week ending April 16 to the low point for the year so far. The drop-off is especially pronounced, given that those weeks saw new album releases from major streaming artists including J Balvin, the Weeknd, Childish Gambino and Dua Lipa. Meanwhile, catalog music—songs more than 18 months old—has been on the rise and hit a high for the year in the week ended April 9, accounting for 63% of total audio streams, up from 60% the week ended March 12, according to Nielsen/MRC.

“We are seeing something of a shift towards comfort music,” says Midia Research analyst Mark Mulligan.

Here is the full WSJ piece by Anne Steele.  Here is my earlier post on the shift toward comfort food.


Acoustic interactivity has been exponentially increasing with innovation rates in perturbance acoustics and accomodating technomechanics.

+1 I was going to call it heterogeneity in music appreciation and listening, but you beat me to it. What's happening (besides the use of four bit words when two bit words would do the job) is that the lock-down has produced a different set of music listeners: the folks who work and don't listen to music while at work, but will listen to music while working at home. These are people who prefer jazz, acoustic and folk music, and classical, not the noise that dominates radio and music lists heard on smart phones. Heterogeneity in music appreciation and listening.

Your probably never gonna see this but it would be cool if you had a gaming channel
and a vlogging channel and you vlog everyday love this channel

A lot of big words, Sharkey. Do you like music? Who's your favorite singer?

A few covid-caused deaths have expanded my music heterogeneity. John Prine for example. Sure, I knew about Prine but rarely listened to his music. Try it. Prine is well-known for using two-bit words: he's definitely not a trained economist. The speed of the sound of loneliness is particularly relevant now.

It's all pop music.

Radio, video
Boogie with a suitcase
Go living in a disco
Forget about the rat race
Let's do the milkshake
Selling like a hot cake
Try some, buy some
Fe, fi, foe, fum

Talk about
Pop muzik

The sorts of pop music where it's super shallow (more so than normal) and relies for it's saleability on novelty and being played in dance clubs, and being associated with "celebrities" doing celebrity things, should go down when none of those vectors are available.

Goes to show it was never about the music, just like everyone would expect.

Call me contrarian, but did they control for a shift towards older people having more time to listen?

That would be the first thought wouldn't it? But it's an absolute fall in young hit factory type of pop music, not a distribution share shift. Why does higher raw audience among older people explain that?

Judging by my kids: because they're watching far more video and listening to a lot less audio

That makes sense as well really; if your kids were out and about, they'd be listening to more music that doesn't demand visual attention.

There is an epidemiology of novel pop culture transmission, and the curve is being flattened.

Face-to-face social gatherings create demand for small-talk topics, of which pop culture is one. They also impose a requirement to keep up with news and new releases so you won't be out of the loop. They bring you into contact with casual acquaintances and friends of friends who may be evangelistic word-of-mouth pop culture superspreaders. Music plays in the background at a party and you wonder "what's that song?"

I've gone back to the music of my teens - Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, KISS and even blues-rockers Cinderella have been my lockdown go-tos!

Horns in the air for the good old days when we were allowed to leave the house

Paul Romer says the US government should test every resident for the novel coronavirus every two weeks and isolate those who test positive if the country wants to revert to normal this summer.
This is blocked, w need the text.
Test people for what? They either have been vaccinated by live virus, or they have ARDS or they are uninfected. But the live virus vaccinated, according to Cuomo, are about a quarter of the economy.

Chinese scientists say the novel coronavirus will not be eradicated, adding to a growing consensus around the world that the pathogen will likely return in waves like the flu.

It’s unlikely the new virus will disappear the way its close cousin SARS did 17 years ago, as it infects some people without causing obvious symptoms like fever. This group of so-called asymptomatic carriers makes it hard to fully contain transmission as they can spread the virus undetected, a group of Chinese viral and medical researchers told reporters in Beijing at a briefing Monday.

With SARS, those infected became seriously ill. Once they were quarantined from others, the virus stopped spreading. In contrast, China is still finding dozens of asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus every day despite bringing its epidemic under control.
What does Romer know that Chinese virology experts do not?

If adults expect adolescents and young adults to act in ways we have not demonstrated and modeled for them, we are the stupid and selfish ones. Lawmakers are demanding enormous sacrifices from young Americans: their educations, their social lives, and sometimes their safety, as many of the 1 million abused and neglected American kids are now isolated at home with their abusers, with no plan to ensure their safety.

Young people have low odds of dying from Covid-19. As I write this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 25 Americans aged 24 or younger have died of Covid-19 in 2020, or 0.1% of the lives claimed by suicide and unintentional drug overdoses in this age group in 2018. (For comparison, 477 children and adolescents under age 17 in the United States died of influenza in the 2018-2019 flu season.)
Need to find out if Romer is a flat earther. He has no solution if he is, he has to close the system, look at constraints.

Consider the case that we have a dead virus vaccine. How does that help? The vaccinated can still pick up he virus and carry it. A vaccine is a vaccine..

Comfort music. Comfort food. How about comfort movies. After reading Quentin Tarantino's brilliant review about "Deliverance" on the New Beverly Cinema site decided to give the movie a try. Watching it right now. Four guys enjoying nature (outside!!) by travelling down a river, what could go wrong.....
Seriously, a masterpiece of a review by QT. Read it.

Yeah, I gave up on my mp3 collection after the first couple of weeks of quarantine, and ever since, I've been listening to auto-generated Youtube playlists of The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, and The Chieftains. Definitely comfort music.

As of this morning authorities say that 56,803 Americans have died as a result of Covid-19 infection. The attendance at Super Bowl LIV was 62,417. Figures show that 58,220 members of the US military died in the Viet Nam war. There were 36,560 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2018 and 2077 deaths by drowning.

And there are 647,000 die every year of heart disease.

It is the end of the world as we know it.

Is 56,803 too high or too low for you?

Bob Dylan has solved for the equilibrium (

The "Age of Aquarius", whose dawn was heralded in song fifty years ago, remains an ongoing phenomenon for our humble planet and for the vast universe it remains lost within.

The good news: the Age of Aquarius (with peace guiding exoplanets everywhere and love filling stars more than hydrogen itself) is set to last for another 2,100 years. Enjoy all the peace and love for the duration!

My musical preferences have completely bifurcated. When doing projects around the house I'm telling Alexa to play various trance techno mixes, reminding me of a lost era when I could dace the night away. But going to sleep at night, it's chant, both Byzantine and Western (notably the compositions of Hildegard von Bingen)

Bifurcated here too -- Classical from dinnertime onward but heavy doom in the afternoon, especially with the weather still dark and dank around here. My wife likes that ephemeral medieval chanting

For heavy doom it is hard to top King Crimson’s Epitapth
“The fate of all mankind, I fear, is in the hands of fools”

I see no accounting for the absence of commutes. Listening habits in a car are very different than when people are working or exercising.

Those people are ephemeral tumbleweeds. I'm listening to Johnny Hodges and Glenn Miller.

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