News & Insights

2021 Wrapped for Advertisers: How sound helped us rebuild and reconnect

After more than a year on pause, audiences hit play again on living life to its fullest — and sound was with them every step of the way. Download the full report below to learn more.

Digital audio elevated moments, informed opinions, provided education, and inspired moods. And, it helped forge new connections between listeners, creators, and advertisers.

The future's bright: 61% of Gen Zs and millennials globally said they feel empowered to build a “better normal.”1 So before you start thinking about next year, take a look at what changed in 2021. It might just help you connect with your audience in more meaningful ways in 2022.

1. Always On

Audio was our constant companion.

Looking to rebuild and rebalance, audiences sought ways to rise above the digital clutter. Many turned to sound, with 79% of global audiences agreeing that they embraced digital audio as a tool to combat screen fatigue.2

Spotify was a haven for consumers as they leaned into (and on) sound, with overall minutes played on the platform increasing by +22% from 2020 to 2021 for users aged 15 to 44.3 And 69% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users agreed that audio acted as a soundtrack to their daily lives.4

2. Amplified Connections

Sound helped us unite through culture.

In the face of challenging circumstances to stay connected to loved ones, listeners increasingly used sound to bridge the gap by sharing moments and culture, maintaining their digital connections over the distance. For example, 59% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users globally said they’ve shared more content with friends as a way of staying in touch.6 More than 2.1 billion tracks, shows, albums, and artists were shared via Spotify in 2021, and there were more than 22 million collaborative Spotify playlists created in the last year.7

3. Household Harmony

Shared listening in the home kept us together.

As the pace of our households slowed, audio brought us together through communal listening. Smart speakers — which served as the centerpiece, serving up everything from dance party mixes to songs from “Cocomelon” — rose in popularity among Spotify users globally in 2021, with total listening time through smart speakers growing by 29% YoY.8

Speaking of “Cocomelon,” we saw this trend growing specifically among parents, with 63% saying they’ve been listening to music and podcasts through smart speakers.9

4. Eclectic Sounds

Podcasts opened listeners up to a diverse range of experiences.

While audiences' worlds remained in flux, sound allowed them to embrace new experiences: 68% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users said that they discovered more content that they like than ever before.11

They turned to podcasts, in particular, with the number of distinct podcast users aged 15-44 on Spotify growing by +34% YoY. This audio discovery resulted in an eclectic Top 50 Podcasts list, which included titles ranging from the Spotify Exclusive German-language comedy show Gemischtes Hack to true crime favorites like Crime Junkie.12

5. Right Time, Right Vibes

Sound helped us magnify the moment.

There’s no denying it: 2021 was a roller-coaster year, and sound was a powerful tool for creating the right vibe for the moment. Top Playlists on Spotify covered a wide range of moods, with relaxing (Peaceful Piano), energetic (Mood Booster), nostalgic (All Out 80s), and vibey (lofi beats) playlists all rounding the Top 20 most-streamed playlists on Spotify in 2021.14

Explore all of the 5 trends uncovered in Spotify Wrapped for Advertisers by downloading the guide below.

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  1. Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents 15-40, Apr’21
  2. Spotify x IPG, Digital Audio Expansiveness, 2021
  3. Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
  4. Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
  5. Spotify First Party Data, US, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
  6. Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
  7. Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21
  8. Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
  9. Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
  10. Spotify First Party Data, US, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
  11. Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
  12. Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
  13. Spotify First Party Data, US, Jan-Oct’21
  14. Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21
  15. Spotify First Party Data, US, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20

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