I noticed a few articles recently reporting that, contrary to expectations, music streaming growth slowed down or flattened in 2020. This was despite an increase in the number of streaming subscribers to services like Spotify (i.e. more people subscribing, but listening less). Meanwhile, video streaming unsurprisingly had an epic year.

There are lots of possible explanations – the Forbes article blames the continuing rise of podcasts. The Billboard article also blames video games and TikTok. And it’s not clear to me that it’s across the board – apparently the UK hit all time highs in music streaming in 2020 (while sales fell over 20%).

I personally wonder if there are more mundane reasons. For example, gasoline used in cars fell by 40% in the U.S. last year. I suspect that if people are driving less, they’re streaming music less.

Or maybe it really is the damn kids with their TikToks and video games.

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