Pandora reveals how staying at home has changed our listening habits

Pandora (Image credit: Pandora)

What you need to know

  • Pandora has released new quarantine listening data and insights.
  • They show how our music listening habits have changed during COVID-19.
  • Many users are turning to more familiar music, and we're also gaming a lot more!

Pandora has today published insight into data trends that reflect how its listeners have changed their habits during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown/stay-at-home measures.

In its latest blog 'Discover Your Great Indoors with Pandora' the company states that Pandora listening on connected home devices like voice-activated speakers, smart TVs, and gaming consoles "has surged since the beginning of March." So what trends is Pandora seeing?

  • Home workouts: without the gym, Pandora says that its Pop and Hip-Hop Power Workout stations, as well as its Pop Fitness stations, are the top-streamed fitness stations, reflecting how more people are trying to exercise at home or out in the wild whilst gyms are closed.
  • Pandora says that "Families are coming together to find solace and entertainment through music, with co-listening transforming streaming into a social event" and that weekend listening between 12 pm and 7 pm is much higher, again on connected devices. It also says many listeners are streaming "family-friendly content," such as its custom character mixtapes from the TROLLS World Tour Film.
  • Gaming is also on the rise, and Pandora has seen a month-over-month spike in listeners tuning in on consoles.
  • Turns out there's also been a massive spike in Country music indicating that many are "seeking mellow, happy, sentimental and good-natured music."
  • It seems we're also missing live experiences, with more people also tuning in to Pandora's 'Top Live Songs' playlist.

Alex White, Pandora's VP of Content & Programming at Pandora, noted how genres such as Country, Rock, Contemporary Christian and Folk have all seen gains during recent weeks, commenting "I believe it is because people are turning to comfortable, familiar music (and comfort food and classic staples) in these uncomfortable times."

We caught up with Alex, who oversees curation programming in Oakland and Pandora's data engineers, designers, product managers, and data scientists in NYC, to find out more.

Alex reiterated how staying at home has translated to more listeners who are using Pandora on connected home products. "Pandora listening on these devices has surged since the beginning of March," said White.

"Sound can impact moods, stimulate our brains, and soothe our minds. At Pandora, our number one priority is the listener," he said. "We are reaching people in moments that matter where and when they want to be entertained, relaxed, focused, educated--helping them get through these times."

White also talked about how he was surprised by the resiliency of Pandora's listeners. Because Pandora is a big service, changes to routines are reflected in listener data. Despite the enormous disruption many of us face because of COVID-19, stay-at-home measures, and more, he says that "people are still finding different ways to continue to stream the music, comedy, and podcasts that they love." As to be expected, Alex noted that whilst Pandora has seen a drop in listening during commute times, it has conversely witnessed a rise of listening on newer devices and a rise in more family-friendly programming.

As Alex mentioned, Pandora has seen a big rise in the number of people listening to Country music, but also Rock, Contemporary Christian, and Folk, as people turn to the music with which they're both familiar and comfortable. Not only that, because families are now spending more time together due to homeschooling, Pandora's kids and family programming has also surged.

"Ultimately, our users are using connected devices to find creative ways to bring the outdoors inside." He concludes, "In-home entertainment is changing, and we're listening together."

In response to the current climate, Pandora is also launching a new campaign titled 'Discover Your Great Indoors", which it says is "inspired by Pandora's ability to transform any room in the home for any moment through the power of music." As today's announcement notes:

With Pandora, your living room can transform into a yoga studio with a soothing Nature station, the kids' room can become the maddest tea party since Wonderland with Pandora's Radio for Kids, and the kitchen is now the most exotic tiki bar this side of Kona thanks to a soundtrack of Hawaiian Reggae.

"As we developed the campaign, we were really inspired by our listeners and how they are using Pandora to soundtrack their meditations, workouts, work happy hours, and family game time," said Brad Minor, Pandora's VP of Brand Marketing, Creative & Communications. Pandora will be using animation in its ad spots to help "create an alternate world that lives outside the confines of our current situation." Brad said that Pandora is aiming "to help people find that joy and transformative power in music, whatever their circumstances." He further spoke about how "no matter where you spend your time, music plays an important role in how you spend it." Pandora hopes to use this campaign to celebrate and highlight how it has seen its listeners try to make the most of their time, based on the latest trends.

Have you changed your listening habits during the pandemic? How is music helping you to cope with staying at home more? Let us know down below or over on Twitter!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9