May 29, 2020

Soundtracking a pandemic – The rising anthems of COVID-19

We’re not talking about another Quarantunes playlist, but instead, how we’ve been watching a natural soundtrack to the COVID-19 pandemic emerge.

Behavioural changes in music consumption are clear from the early days of the pandemic. As what we listen to evolves, it’s doing a pretty good job of reflecting how we’re feeling. 

Songs with themes of hope and strength quickly became anthems of the pandemic as people looked to music to help them through this time. Some forgotten oldies made a comeback and began forming a soundtrack of resistance and survival. 

The countries in Europe most heavily impacted by the virus first were Italy and Spain. The data above comes from 162 Spanish radios and 125 Italian radios and TVs, and shows how they turned to these kinds of songs for musical support. The power of popularisation hoisted some local anthems – such as “Resistiré” by El Dúo Dinámico for Spain – into their national radio charts. International flagships like “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles also shone their light.

“Spain and Italy have turned to songs of hope and strength for support.”

First a hit over 30 years ago, we’ve seen radio spins of  “Resistiré” by El Dúo Dinámico skyrocket in Spain over the last 2 months, increasing 6 fold compared to January of this year. 

The original song reached digital charts from the 16th of March, sticking around for around a month with around 1,757,261 streams until 13th of April. 

Pandemic anthems

Seeing the success of the original, over 50 musicians shortly after collaborated to create a new version. Their version of the song made it into the Spotify charts right after being released on the 1st of April, climbing every day until the end of the month. The original version stopped charting here on the 13th of April, but this new version looks set to continue, with more than 2,100,000 streams on Spotify already.

“Pandemic anthems can increase their usual monthly radio spins up to 6 fold.”

While the new version of “Resistiré” hasn’t yet made it to the global music charts, it did gain a position in the Shazam global charts for 6 days due to huge increases in Shazams from Argentina, with around 80,000 until the 30th of April. We looked at January until April of this year, and chart entries began to show for the song from the 3rd of April, right after its release on the 1st. 

Written by Kelly, Head of Content Strategy


If you enjoyed this snippet, keeping reading our full report on COVID-19 music consumption during the pandemic.

BMAT report on Covid-19

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