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Music That Got Us Through The Pandemic (And How To Stream It On A Budget)

Chime Team • December 3, 2021

Music has been a north star for many of us during the pandemic. We asked Chime members to share their music journeys with us, from 2020 to beyond.

Throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic, sharing, listening, and creating music together became our silver lining. From following Tiktok artists to listening to co-created playlists on Spotify, music inspired us, drove us, and allowed us to express ourselves in ways that we just can’t put into words.

We asked our Chime community to tell us about what they listened to during 2020, and in the end, the consensus was clear—music provides us all with a blissful, unique escape from the boredom and anxieties of daily life. Read on to hear all about which artists they streamed the most and which concerts they’re looking forward to, and scroll all the way down to see which music streaming service is the right one for you.

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“Since I was a kid, music is everything.” -Emily, from California

Emily’s enthusiasm and honesty made us laugh the first time we asked her about music. “Okay, maybe not everything, that’s being a little too dramatic. But it’s a big thing!” she says, and we can tell. Her passion for a good, curated playlist knows no bounds and her secret to discovering great new music? NTS, a global radio platform that broadcasts underground music, and Bandcamp, a music streaming service. She says that platforms like these are “seriously underrated” because they have great music discovery algorithms.

As far as what she listens to, it’s hard for Emily to pin down one genre. From electronica, to classics, to funk, to folk, to disco, she wants to hear it all! Electronica is her favorite, but what she really cherishes is finding hidden gems from the past. She loves discovering “really cool stuff that, unless you live through it, you didn’t know about.” Her excitement about uncovering exciting artists is contagious, and we left the conversation with a whole new list of artists to check out.

Emily’s Must-Hear Artists of 2021 🎶

  1. Nigerian producer and musician Collobo: Check out his songs Zero Day and RPM+
  2. English musician and DJ Four Tet: Check out his songs Two Thousand and Seventeen and Lush
  3. American folk punk band Violent Femmes: Check out their songs Kiss Off and a popular classic Blister in the Sun
  4. Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly: Check out their songs Drunken Lullabies and If I Ever Leave This World Alive
  5. Up-and-coming DJ Masha Mar: Check out her Boiler Room set here

As for live music, Emily is already back in the scene. “It’s the one thing I think I missed the most [during] the pandemic… because that was just such a huge thing for me,” she says. From huge concerts to intimate DJ sets, she’s planning to see many more of her favorite artists in 2022! 💥

“I listen to a mixture of [music] ...I listen to quiet soothing music. Sometimes I listen to loud, obnoxious music.” -Cheryl, from Virginia

Like Emily, Cheryl understands the transformative power of music. Her listening tastes change with her mood, and what she’s craving that day depends on whether or not it was a good day for her—and in 2020, female rappers set the soundtrack to her good days. Her top artists last year were Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, because, besides their empowering, inspirational music, she likes “the way they carry themselves, and always speak positively.” These talented artists have definitely made lemonade out of 2020’s lemons, and their powerful words and confident demeanor have helped Cheryl (and millions of others) embrace their inner greatness. 👑

While Cheryl is listening to energizing rap, sometimes, her alter ego is seeking out calm, soothing sounds after a bad day. “I listen to that when I have bad days or when I’m aggravated,” she tells us, and it usually helps her center her mind and turns her day around. Once again, music proves that it has the power to change even the worst days into something manageable.

As someone who loves music so much, you’d think that Cheryl is a regular at live shows. However, she confessed to us that she’s never been to a concert. We couldn’t believe it either, but don’t worry—she’s planning on changing that fact very soon. Her dream concert is Moneybagg Yo and even told us that she had tickets to an upcoming show before canceling it due to fears around big crowds. While she’s disappointed about missing that experience, she still has a plan to see some of her favorite artists in the coming year, and we’re so excited for her to witness the magic of live music. 🎤

“Weirdly, I love the sad, slow songs.” -Ariana, from California

Ariana, Chime member and hopeless romantic, is a queen of the classics. She told us that she’s always been drawn to the throwbacks, and that she doesn’t  listen to much of the newer music that comes out. Unsurprisingly, with all the tumultuous changes that the pandemic has brought about, many people have gone back to listening to music that they loved when they were younger—a trend that Ariana agrees with. 

On her phone right now, there’s Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and My Chemical Romance with a few surprising additions as well, including JoJo’s remastered albums which, when was the last time you heard about JoJo? Her old-school tracks don’t end there, because her love of “heartbreaking” slow songs usually stem from her mood. Sometimes, she “just wants to feel vulnerable” and nothing will get you in the mood faster than a Demi Lovato song. Respect.

As for upcoming live music, Ariana loves concerts, but hasn’t really had a chance recently to enjoy them—in fact, her last concert was Evanescence in high school. Truly a throwback! When asked about who she wants to see live, she surprised us again with another celeb we haven’t heard about in a hot minute. “I really want to see Avril Lavigne.” At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to rock out with the princess of pop punk? 🤘

So Which Streaming Service Should I Use?

There are a million different options out there on how to listen to your favorite music—but by far the easiest way to play your top artists is with a streaming service. We put together the perfect music streaming service guide, complete with pros and cons and their pricing so that you can make the best decision for your budget. You’re welcome. 

Music Streaming ServicePriceProsCons
SpotifySpotify Student: $4.99/mth

Spotify Premium: $9.99/mth

Spotify Family: $14.99/mth

-Easy to make playlists

-Huge library with many artists and podcasts

-Super easy to use

-No high-quality audio 

-Not great at compensating artists 

AppleStandard subscription: $9.99/month

Apple Music Voice Plan: $4.99/month

-Huge library of music

-Great for discovering music

-Can integrate personal music

-Podcasts are in a different app

-Spotify wins recommendations

TidalTidal Premium: $9.99/month (Plans range from $4.99 to $29.99)-Music videos

-High-quality audio

-Easy to use

-Good at compensating artists

-No podcasts

-High-quality audio is expensive

-Playlists system is not as good as Spotify

Amazon MusicWith Amazon Prime: $7.99/month

Without Amazon Prime: $9.99/month

-Great for people with Amazon Prime

-Large library of music

-Easy to use interface

-Finding new music is not as easy as competition

-No video content

-No version without ads

Deezer$9.99/month (Plans range from $4.99/month to $14.99/month)-Good value for price

-Support for Sony 360 Reality Audio

-Harder to use than Spotify

-No hi-quality audio

-Room for improvement in social listening 

Music, the Great Unifier

The best part about listening to music is that there’s no wrong way to do it—from following your emotions, letting the playlist set the mood, or choosing to listen to new artists and genres, music is something that unites all of us. Our Chime members bravely shared their listening habits to us, and we loved learning all about their favorite artists—hopefully, you were as inspired as we were to listen to music with a new appreciation. So kick back, relax, and happy streaming! 💚

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