Most Gen Zs will never know the thrilling experience of illegally downloading music that united the generation before them.
Feeling like a clever hacker, excruciatingly slow downloads on dial-up (you had to earn it!), viruses from dodgy software, expensive lawsuits that tried to scare everyone else and some really questionable files you’d end up with. What’s not to like?
But that’s now all history with young people. Our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report found that 82% of Gen Zs stream music every day and that 59% never download music. To put that into perspective, just 10 years ago the amount of Gen Ys who never downloaded music would’ve been close to 0%. Everyone was doing it. Limewire, Kazaa, Napster and torrents were household names. As was the iTunes store which made it all legal.
But things move fast online. What killed CDs is now being killed by streaming. “What’s LimeWire?” is a question more and more ageing internet veterans will have to get used to as music downloads become more and more antiquated.
When asked which music streaming services they use most, 87% responded Spotify. Apple Music (14%) was a distant second, followed by ‘YouTube Music’ (12%) and ‘Soundcloud’ (11%). We won’t join the heated debate around what these streaming services have done for the music industry. Instead, we’re interested in how Gen Zs interact with music. As Spotify is #1 by far, let’s zoom into that.
How Gen Zs actually use Spotify
Think streaming is just listening to music and sharing tracks? Spotify has become a social platform in itself and provides another way for Gen Zs to connect and socialise. You’ve got followers and you can follow others. You can see what music people are listening to in real-time. You can tune into group listening sessions, enjoying songs with one another even if you’re not face-to-face.
If your younger years are all about forming a strong sense of self and personality, then what better way to express yourself through public playlists that can be found on your Spotify profile? Gen Zs can look forward to their Spotify Wrapped, a year-in-review of their listening habits from most played genres to most played artists, that can be shown off to friends across social media.
In times of hyper-personalisation, one’s dashboard on Spotify is a smorgasbord of playlists that the platform has curated ‘just for you’ based on past listening behaviour.
Connecting with Gen Zs through Spotify
But be warned. While advertising through streaming services like Spotify sounds like a good idea, Gen Zs have told us too many times that they despise interruption while vibing to music. There are smarter ways to engage with young people on such platforms, like running a content series through a podcast or creating playlists that set moods aligning with your brand.
They say your brand is a feeling, so here’s a way to connect with Gen Zs beyond words.