Across the UK, music habits have changed as result of the home isolation period, with many people planning to take musical discoveries and learnings into the post-lockdown era.

New research by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has found that music has featured in almost all of our homes during the period of home isolation (94%), with a quarter of adults saying they have listened to significantly more radio than before (23%). 

In a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults, one in nine respondents (11%) said they had maintained their connection with the concert hall through online broadcasts and videos of artists performing from home. This rose to one in seven (14%) among the under 35 age group. Furthermore, 12% of people said they had spent time in lockdown reading about a particular musical interest or artist, again rising amongst the youngest age-groups (16% of those aged under 35). 

Engagement with online broadcasts and artists’ videos was high across the country. One in eight people (13%) in Scotland, Yorkshire and the North East had been getting their musical fix through online broadcasts of concerts and artists performing from home. In London the proportion was slightly higher at 17%. 

Aspects to continue post lockdown

Asking about the aspects of music engagement that will continue when isolation ends, the results painted a picture of the changing ways people are now engaging with music.  

Almost one in six people (16%) said they planned to continue the exploration of new genres of music that they started during lockdown, with young people leading this journey of discovery. Overall, 28% of 18-24 year-olds said they will continue to explore new genres further and 17% of 25-34 are now discovering new specialist music radio stations.

Demand for online concerts and performances will remain, with one in seven survey respondents saying their hunger for concert experiences is key, rising to almost one in five (19%) classical music lovers.  Under 35s were twice as likely as over 55s to prioritise concert experiences (20% vs 10%) – and London (22%), the South East (16%) and the West Midlands (15%) were the regions where people placed the greatest emphasis on maintaining a connection with concert experiences online.

Since lockdown, a time when people’s health and wellbeing has been tested, music has become a more important part of people’s home lives and this will continue in the months ahead – with people choosing to listen to music while cooking (37%), in the garden (31%), or while working from home (29%).  Furthermore as music has become more important in the home,  greater emphasis has been placed on the quality of the sound system people use – with 38% of survey respondents saying they would only listen to music on a good sound system going forward.

James Williams, Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra commented: “The lockdown era broke the consumer’s connection with live concert hall experiences, which is the heartbeat of the music industry. Despite the enormous challenges, music lovers and performing arts groups have adapted during lockdown. At a time of crisis and anxiety, music has become more important to people as an expression of hope, giving some the strength to endure and for others serving as a tonic to support their mental health and wellbeing.

“The recent green light for outdoor theatres to re-open signals the start of a gradual process for venues to open for business in the months ahead. Public safely is, of course, of primary importance but it is clear from our research that music has become more important to many people at an unprecedented time – and we believe live music has an important role to play in helping to rebuild our economy and the wellbeing of our society. The digital innovations of the lockdown era will continue and the RPO is working on a strategy to bring the magic of live performance back to the public in the months ahead.”