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Photo: Courtesy of Fender

The guitar-maker Fender's instructional app exploded in popularity during the first months of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Some of us — if not all of us — had a lot of time on our hands during the early stages of the pandemic lockdown. And apparently we decided that it was finally time to learn to play that guitar.

By the numbers: Around the start of the global lockdowns, Fender offered a free three-month giveaway of its Fender Play app.

  • Between March 20 and June 18, Fender Play's user base grew by nearly 500%, from over 150,000 to approximately 930,000.
  • Nearly all of those users were new to the company, indicating that they were likely picking up a guitar for the first time.
  • The gender balance of app users swung from 70% male to nearly 50-50.
  • The most popular time of day for using the app shifted from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m., presumably because you have to fill those hours somehow.

What they're saying: "Clearly there was an organic element of people being locked inside and wanting to spend their time usefully, as opposed to binging TV," says Andy Mooney, Fender's CEO. "Or perhaps in addition to it."

  • Of note: As my Axios colleagues Sara Fischer and Kyle Daly reported, we're also spending plenty of time playing video games, which helped Nintendo's profits increase 428% last quarter.

Go deeper: In pandemic, adult entertainment becomes more like social networking

Go deeper

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
53 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."