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For GenZs And Millennials, Audio Is Part Of ‘Cultural Rebirth.’

Spotify's third annual “Culture Next” report, focused on GenZs (ages 15-25) and Millennials (ages 26-40), show how both groups' distinct perspectives continue to reshape the audio landscape since the start of the pandemic, including listening to more podcasts, embracing diversity and ultimately becoming the ‘Curation Generations.’

“If 2020 was a 'cultural wake-up call,' 2021 is shaping up to be a cultural rebirth,” Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff says. “One thing is certain: Audio is playing a major part in this rebirth.”

The research conducted during April 2021, including a survey of 9,000 GenZs and Millennials in 18 countries, Zoom focus groups and dozens of in-depth interviews, found that for seven in ten GenZs, and four of five Millennials, audio has helped reduced stress. And 70% of GenZs report feeling “more centered and generally happier” when listening to their favorite music on a daily basis, while millennials have turned to music from their past, particularly the hits of the ‘80s.

“As the impact of digital content on our well-being becomes increasingly clear, Millennials and Zs are journeying toward a more fulfilling and balanced media diet,” Ostroff says. “For Millennials, that means seeking comfort in nostalgic sounds. For Zs, it’s all about offsetting their digitally saturated lives.”

The study shows that podcasts have become “the 6 o'clock news” for these age groups, as 40% of Millennials and GenZs ranked their trust in podcasts higher than in traditional media sources such as national TV news, newspapers and radio. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of Millennials and over half of GenZs say they use podcasts to learn about social issues, and nearly two-thirds of both groups feel that audio formats like podcasts are one of the greatest ways to tell stories.

Discovering and connecting with broader culture is a large part of audio use for Millennials and GenZs, with two-thirds of both groups believing streaming platforms including audio have shaped this discovery, Likewise, roughly half of both believe that they have become part of a global community because of either music or podcasts. Between 50% and 60% of both also believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interest and passion.

Racial and cultural diversity also drives audio use, with seven in ten millennials and six in ten Gen Zs report having used music as a way to learn about cultures and experiences that differ from their own, and 62% of millennials and 52% of Gen Zs feeling audio amplifies more diverse perspectives than traditional media (e.g. TV, print, etc).

“Millennials and Gen Zs agreed that as a culture, we’re more open to hearing from diverse voices than ever before,” Ostroff says. “Both generations are pushing for a more inclusive, multi-faceted culture.”

The research conducted during April 2021. Download the full report HERE.

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