Music helped the UK get through lockdown, BPI data reveals

Data published ahead of the BPI’s new All About the Music 2021 yearbook, out 14 April, reveals that music raised the nation’s spirits since the pandemic began.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 8 Apr 2021
  • min read

New data revealed today the BPI confirms just how crucial music has been to the British public during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The new insights show that well over a quarter of all those surveyed said they had increased their music listening compared to pre-lockdown. Only 11 percent of those asked said they listened to less or no music at all.  

Music listening was most pronounced among 16 – 24-year-olds, with not far from half of all the respondents within this group saying they listened to more music since the first national lockdown.

Half of all people asked said they listened to music to raise their spirits, with 42 percent citing music’s ability to help them to relax or sleep. Four in 10 (40 percent) said music helped to alleviate boredom, while 27 percent used it as an aid to boost concentration when working or studying. 

A quarter of music listeners viewed it as an ideal accompaniment to exercise – a figure that’s slightly higher among women. 

Of all those expressing feelings of stress and anxiety over half said that music helped to ease those feelings. 

In March, the Official Charts Company in association with the One Show reported that many people had turned to classic songs and catalogue recordings during the first lockdown, while at the end of 2020 the BPI reported the most consumed new releases of the year (based on Official Charts Company data). This included recordings by Dua Lipa, whose album Future Nostalgia was the most consumed album released in 2020, Kylie Minogue, whose album Disco was the most purchased 2020 release on vinyl, and Lady Gaga, whose album Chromatica was the top seller on cassette. The most consumed single of 2020 year was The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.  

Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize, said: ‘Music has many intrinsic additional benefits, not least in raising spirits and promoting wellbeing, but this new research underscores just how much of a lifeline it’s been for people since lockdown – inspiring and reassuring us and also helping many of us to work, study and exercise to greater effect. The transformational power of music to improve lives has rarely been more pronounced.’

These insights are based on data commissioned through AudienceNet’s Audiomonitor survey in November 20201, and are taken from All About the Music 2021 – the 42nd edition of the BPI Yearbook, which will be  published on 14 April. This authoritative industry annual evaluates 2020 UK music consumption and trends.