Despite speculation that streaming would drop during the planet’s COVID-19 ordeal, there are some intriguing and encouraging signs emerging from the data.

Insiders with access to the relevant spreadsheets say to look to listening patterns, not just the numbers on the usual charts, for the larger story. They confirm that in Italy, South Korea and China, catalog streaming has gone through the roof—with beleaguered, homebound consumers turning to musical heroes rather than the newest hits. Beloved stars and legacy artists are providing comfort during this emergency, as the greatest artists tend to do. Since these countries are just ahead of us in terms of the disease’s spread, it’s not unreasonable to think their musical instincts will be mirrored to some degree in the states.

Indeed, labels are optimistic about streaming and believe that the uptick could well continue after the emergency lifts, as habits formed during such times can become established—not just in the places that have been hardest hit, but everywhere. Could music become a bigger piece of the cultural mix as a result?

Songs that have gained pertinence in the present context, from “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police to “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M., have naturally gotten a big boost; other thematically relevant songs will undoubtedly spike in a similar fashion. But it’s also emerging that overall, musical “comfort food”—including not only the most beloved pop/rock/hip-hop/R&B artists but also jazz, classical, meditation music and other stress-reducing sounds—will be a refuge amid all this confinement and crazy news.

And of course, kids will be telling Alexa to play “Let It Go” 24/7. You’re probably already having fun with that.

Top photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels