Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Trigger Nostalgia? Evidence of Music Consumption on Spotify

34 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2020 Last revised: 27 Apr 2023

See all articles by Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung

Faculty of Law, KU Leuven; Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Date Written: August 21, 2020


By scraping data of almost 17 trillion plays of songs on Spotify in six European countries, this work provides evidence that the lockdown imposed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed the music consumption in terms of nostalgia. This work constructs a binary measure of nostalgia consumption of music and employs country-specific logistic regressions in which lockdown is taken as a treatment that interacts with a quadratic trend. The lockdown altered the trend of nostalgia consumption upward, which peaked roughly 60 days after the lockdown. A placebo test shows that the upward turn of slope is not an annual pattern. On the other hand, COVID incidence rate does not provide significant additional explanatory power to the model. This work shows that Spotify's users react to the lockdown even when COVID incidence rate is low and the impact stays high even the incidence rate has peaked, suggesting that demand for nostalgia tends to respond to the drastic and lasting change caused by lockdown rather than to the fluctuations in the viral infection.

Keywords: COVID-19, Music Consumption, Nostalgia, Spotify

JEL Classification: C52, D12, I12, Z10

Suggested Citation

Yeung, Timothy Yu-Cheong, Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Trigger Nostalgia? Evidence of Music Consumption on Spotify (August 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3678606 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3678606

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, KU Leuven ( email )

Tiensestraat 45
Leuven, 3000

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres, 1000
Brussels, 1000

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