There’s no doubt about it — millennials are passionate about music. Three in four millennials say music is part of how they define who they are. As the #1 music platform for music discovery and recommendations among millennials, Spotify is at the center of their lives, with multi-device users streaming for 2+ hours a day.
Unlike generations past, millennials aren’t loyal to any specific music genre. Instead, they pride themselves on being open-minded and constantly discovering the new, with 84% stating that their music tastes span multiple genres.
This reluctance to tie themselves to any one genre also extends to multiple parts of their lives—74% believe in gender fluidity, one-third juggle several different careers simultaneously, and 64% believe that labeling people unnecessarily divides them.
When you couple this with the fact that millennials represent the largest and most diverse audience in history, this throws a wrench in marketers’ neat audience segmentations.
Streaming & the breakdown of genre
Pre-internet, music genres often came out of specific scenes married to geography—think D.C. hardcore, the sounds of Madchester, Australian pub rock, North England’s Northern Soul or early hip hop and the South Bronx. As digital natives, millennials are the first generation to have the world’s entire library and geography of music at their fingertips.
The ability to stream music anywhere and any time has made their tastes more diverse and it has influenced artists and curators to mix and match genres as well. Take Rihanna’s cover of Tame Impala, the popularity of playlists like ¡Viva Latino! that give everyone immediate access to a cultural genre or playlists like “All the Feels,” which riff off of mood.
Streaming isn’t just a utility—it’s a companion
The ubiquity of audio streaming has also shaped the relationship millennials have with their music. Genre still matters, but it no longer defines them. Instead, it is viewed as a shortcut to selecting music to enhance and improve every mood and occasion.
This is important because our research shows that millennials are literally soundtracking every moment of their lives. They actively stream music to help them get through the less desirable moments in their day, improve the more positive ones and even discover new things about their personality. 46% even stream audio as they go in and out of other social media apps.
How to reach millennials
So what does this all mean for marketers? Music’s central, always-on role in millennials lives offers a number of opportunities.
First, millennials intentionally use music streaming to escape daily pressures or to enhance moments they enjoy. Their relationship to audio streaming contrasts to social media, which 48% of millennials worry brings them negative effects—and the news, which 3 in 5 millennials say they need to take breaks from reading or watching. For marketers, this is a chance to reach millennials through a medium they trust and see as a positive enhancer or tool.
Second, while millennials’ resistance to defining themselves by geography, sexuality, career choice and music genre has made marketing a challenge, this shift to always-on audio streaming also presents new opportunities to get your message heard through personalized experiences that match the mood and occasion.
We’ve identified seven key audio streaming moments for marketers to tap into. Dive into the moments below for tips to follow on how to reach millennials with effective creative strategies and media plans.