New survey shows how music helped UK through lockdown

94 per cent of people said listening to more music helped lift their mood

A new study has found that over a quarter of the British public listened to more music during lockdown, with many citing its benefits on their mental wellbeing.

According to data published by the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), 28 per cent of those surveyed last November said that they played more music while isolating compared to in pre-COVID times.

Almost half (45 per cent) of those in the 16-24 age group said their listening had increased since the first coronavirus-enforced lockdown, which began in March 2020.

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Everyone who took part in the survey was asked why they listened to more music throughout this period. The results found that 50 per cent said they turned to music to raise their spirits, while 42 per cent said it helped them sleep better or relax.

Almost everyone (94 per cent) reported that it lifted their mood. Meanwhile, 91 per cent said it offered them a sense of escape that allowed them to forget their personal problems.

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Four in 10 of those surveyed said music helped fend off boredom, with 27 per cent turning to tunes in a bid to boost concentration while working or studying. The latter figure rose to 50 per cent in the 16-24 category.

Overall, a fifth of respondents said they had experienced feelings of anxiety on a daily basis – rising to 60 per cent weekly. Fifty-five per cent of these people said music eased their anxiety (60 per cent among 16-25s).

The study also found that 78 per cent of people felt more motivated after listening to music, a figure that rose to 81 per cent among women. Many cited music’s positive impact on their ability to exercise for longer periods (71 per cent said that it had a moderate or major impact on their enjoyment of the activity).

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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.”

Last month, a study by the charity Help Musicians found that nine in 10 musicians’ mental health had deteriorated in the past year.

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