Culture Next: Why digital audio plays a major role in millennials’ and Gen Zs’ lives
of Gen Zs feel "more centered and generally happier" when listening to their favorite music on a daily basis.Source: Spotify Culture Next survey, U.S., among 510 respondents 15-40, April 2021
From doomscrolling to bingeing, unhealthy tech habits are part of everyday life for millennials and Gen Zs — especially during a pandemic. With so much bad news, respondents from both generations told us that audio is a welcome escape from the scroll.
A more holistic platter of audio content now enriches the lives of millennials and Gen Zs, helping them to achieve balance in their tech habits. Millennials especially are finding comfort in the warm embrace of nostalgic playlists that deliver the best of decades past, with increases in streaming across Spotify playlists like 80s Hits, 80s Rock Anthems, and 70s Love Songs. Gen Zs, meanwhile, seek to soothe the effects of digital oversaturation with diverse content like positive-thinking podcasts, ambient sounds, and even — gasp — the sound of silence.
Podcasts and music make me a better person. It's a type of therapy.
26, Mexico City
It’s all part of a global cultural shift toward wellness, self-care, and healing — and immersion within a mixed world of sound is how millennials and Gen Zs are looking to achieve it.
As live shows and other in-person experiences took a pause in 2020, immersive virtual experiences helped millennials and Gen Zs find new ways to explore and connect. From virtual concerts to gaming, audio helped make those experiences feel more real. In fact, 73% of American millennials feel that audio is the most immersive form of media.1
Within this all-encompassing soundscape, fact and fiction become blurred as listeners are transported to different locations and realities. Whether it’s during a livestreamed concert or in a playlist curated as an alternate online gaming soundtrack, brands that connect with audiences in these spaces should focus on ads that enhance the listening experience. Consider 3D audio, a recording technique that mimics how sounds move — and how people hear them in real life — making it possible to conjure a waterfall or an explosion. Or create a rich ASMR experience that brings the audience out of their headphones and into a new reality.
of Gen Z gamers agree that audio can make or break the experience of a game.Source: Spotify Culture Next survey, Global, among 9,000 respondents 15- 40, April 2021
With the influence of social media (especially for Gen Zs), collaboration between musicians, podcasters, audiences, and brands are changing the sound of culture from the inside out. With creators more accessible than ever, both generations now respond to musicians’ work-in-progress drafts, choose their favorite hooks, write lyrics, retitle songs, and even play a role in deciding which tracks get made.
Advertisers can create meaningful connections with millennials and Gen Zs by treating them as more than just consumers. Pull back the curtain, and give them a chance to be part of the creative process.
What it means for brands
Millennials and Gen Zs lean on audio to achieve balance in their tech habits, immerse themselves in virtual worlds, and connect with their favorite creators and fan communities. Advertisers can tap into these hyper-engaged, attentive audiences on Spotify with a range of digital ad formats built for performance, coupled with advanced targeting options and real-time campaign measurement. Check out even more best practices for advertising to millennials and Gen Zs on Spotify:
Ready to reach millennials and Gen Zs on Spotify? Get started instantly with Ad Studio.1 Spotify Culture Next survey, U.S., among 510 respondents 15-40, April 2021