Well, the metrics are in and 2021 was certainly the year of the keyboard. According to data provided to Live For Live Music by Reverbkeyboard searches saw a massive jump in 2021, along with pro-audio gear and guitars.

As the world still finds itself in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people have turned to music. Whether used as simply a daily soundtrack to our lives or as a skill to be honed, there’s no overstating how important music has become. Its importance became even more evident when the thought of going to a concert seemed like a fantasy, but even now with concerts mostly back to full form many people continue to try their hand at an instrument for the first time, just as they did in 2020.

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Last year, Live For Live Music reported on record-high guitar sales at the height of the pandemic. Twenty-twenty reversed a years-long trend of declining guitar sales, with companies like Gibson and Fender breaking all-time records. Particularly interesting was that the demographics showed many purchases were made by new guitarists, young adults, and females. That trend continued this year, with Reverb reporting nearly 30 million searches for guitars between January and September alone. That’s equivalent to 11% of the total population of the U.S., and Reverb is only one retailer. The guitar buzz could only be outshined by the search data for keyboards and synthesizers.

Search data from January through September showed keyboards and synthesizers growing 34% year-over-year. While 2020 saw the resurgence of the guitar, 2021 clearly lent a hand to keys. Reasons for this jump might include the nature of the instrument itself. Better suited for use at home than many instruments, especially an electric guitar and tube amp combination, keyboards and synthesizers are also portable, when one needs to practice or produce on the go. Another reason could be that all the 2020 guitar players needed a keyboard addition to their newly formed bands. While it was the Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer & Sampler that proved to be among the most popular synthesizer, searches were up for traditional keyboards as well.

One of the more surprising insights from Reverb’s search data might not even totally relate to music at all. Reverb saw over 9 million searches for pro-audio equipment, ranging from DJ equipment and Midi Production Panels (MPCs) to acoustic treatment panels and microphones, proving that music is clearly a driver.

But as Convinced & Convert reports, podcasting has grown significantly over the past ten years. Data from 2021 shows that 57% of Americans have listened to a podcast—up from 55% in 2020 and 51% in 2019. As of October 2021, there are over 2 million podcasts and 48 million episodes. Furthermore, according to Statista, the first quarter of 2021 saw 8.8 billion hours of video game livestreaming hours, up from 4.9 billion in Q1 2020 and 3.6 billion in Q1 2019. That could account for quite a large portion of the Reverb pro-audio gear, in addition to, of course, the growth of new musicians over the last 18 months.

As the year continues and we move into 2022 we are sure to gain more insight into these trends. One thing is clear, however: live music isn’t going anywhere. In fact, we might be seeing a huge bump as we move towards a world with fewer COVID-19 restrictions.