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Two year lockdown anniversary: What were brits strumming to whilst at home?

Lockdown saw 50% more Brits pick up the guitar. Ultimate Guitar revisits the most popular songs and trends then and now.


When the first lockdown hit back in 2020, Ultimate Guitar, an online catalogue of guitar tabs and chords, saw a 50% boost in community engagement. As the country was forced into self isolation, more and more Brits decided to pick up a new or old hobby – playing an instrument was amongst the most popular.

The most popular instrument? Guitar. With guitar sales spiking to over 17% alongside it. As the world’s largest community of guitarists, with a variety of content that helps users learn an instrument, Ultimate Guitar helped those stranded at home to stay occupied and boost their wellbeing and mental health.

Now, two years after the first lockdown, music continues to be one of the main creative outlets for Britons, with beginners and three-chord strummers leading UG’s user engagement growth. Throughout lockdown, the UK saw the most significant growth on Ultimate Guitar and now in 2022, the UK remains the second most popular country to use the platform, with many individuals continuing to learn the guitar or ukulele in their free time, even after restrictions have been lifted.

The most played songs during lockdown
Amidst so much uncertainty, UK users turned to some of the world’s classic music hits for comfort and familiarity during these times. At the start of the pandemic, UG’s global top 100 songs changed completely.

Contemporary artists like Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and John Legend which once made UG’s top artists almost disappeared during lockdown. Instead, the top songs and artists on UG shifted in favour of inspiring lyrics, including John Lennon’s anthem of hope – Imagine – which jumped from N50 to N9. The top artists and songs included:

  • John Lennon - Imagine
  • Bob Marley - Redemption song / Three Little Birds
  • Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine / Lean On Me
  • Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  • 4 Non Blondes - What's Up

Today, UG’s most popular artists and tabs are back to include consistent chart toppers, from Adele and Billie Eilish to Sam Fender. Whilst UG users' habits have almost reverted back to pre-pandemic, the popularity of music as a hobby is undeniable and widely attributed to the healing benefits of learning an instrument. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that learning an instrument is a powerful tool and something that’s here to stay.

Ultimate Guitar is the largest community of guitarists creating, learning and sharing tabs, with chords to more than 1.6M songs and more than 2,900 pro lessons. Ultimate Guitar spokespersons and product owners are available for comment and interview.

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Source: The Strad 
Source: cnbc