The Gen Z Music Enthusiast: Streamers on Shuffle

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YouTube and Spotify Reign while Radio, TV and Film Play Influential Role

Sweety High, the leading digital media company for Gen Z girls, today released its first-ever 2018 Gen Z Music Consumption & Spending Report, which reveals new research around the preferences of the powerhouse cohort. According to the report, while YouTube ranks as the top platform for music discovery (75%), more than half of respondents also cite Radio (58%) and Movies and TV Shows they watch (57%) as top sources for exploring new artists. Additionally, while they may have grown up in an age of reality TV, Gen Z shies away from talent featured on competition shows: they appreciate contestants' talent but are unlikely to listen to their music after the show ends (78%).

While streaming platforms, like Spotify, ranked second for music discovery (70%), the service is Gen Z's top choice for frequent listening (61%). YouTube drops to 6th when it comes to general listening (30%), with more Gen Z respondents preferring to listen to music they own, via CDs (38%) or iTunes (36%). When it comes to overall consumption, streaming services have clearly become the new normal, with 66% of Gen Z saying they use both for discovery AND listening, vs. Radio (55%) or YouTube (25%).

"Music plays a pivotal role in Gen Z's lives. They have more options than ever to find undiscovered music, and Gen Z embrace that diversity in their music genres (nearly all, 97% say they listen to 5 different genres regularly) and platforms, blending a mix of new and traditional media options for music discovery and consumption," said Frank Simonetti, CEO, Sweety High.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

From Cardi B to K-Pop

  • The majority of this demographic take pride in their variety of music taste (78%) -- preferring to listen to a wide range of artists and genres rather than just one style. This is especially true among those on the West Coast, where 87% of respondents prefer to listen to a broad range of music compared with those in the rest of the country (78%).
  • So, what is Gen Z listening to? Pop takes the cake, with more than 3 in 4 respondents claiming it as their top choice in music, followed by Rock (51%) and Rap (50%).
  • Pop - 78%
  • Rock - 51%
  • Rap - 50%
  • Alternative - 48%
  • R&B - 46%
  • Country - 39%
  • Musical Theater - 26%
  • Classical - 20%
  • EDM - 17%
  • Latin - 17%
  • K-Pop - 15%

Among Gen Z's favorite artists, Ed Sheeran took the top spot, with K-Pop boy band BTS as runner-up, and Shawn Mendes placing third. Rounding out the top five were Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, respectively.

Fans First, Followers Second

  • While only 1 in 5 fans are wooed by a band or artist's social media presence, 2 out of 3 respondents say they follow artists they like on social and over 80% agree that it's important for artists to be active on social.
  • Gen Z music fans 16 years and older cite getting more insider "intel" like new music or a secret/pop-up performance as their main motivation for following, while fans 13-15 cited getting to know the artists beyond their music as their motivator.
  • Love of the music is their top motivation for liking an artist or band (94%), while a shared preference among their friends runs a distant second (36%).

Look What Music Made Gen Z Do

  • No doubt about it, music is central to Gen Z's lives, with 94% of respondents citing it as important in their lives, if not very important (73%).
  • Wonder why? Nearly the same cited music as impacting their mood (92%), and over 80% say the artists' they like influence their style (45%) or social circle (40%)
  • Teens 13-15 years-old are twice as likely to take inspiration from their favorite artists as than their older Gen Z counterparts : personal style (75% vs. 31%), friends they choose (48% vs. 37%), and even charitable causes they support (16% vs 7%).
  • East coasters are most likely to socialize based on shared love of an artist or band (41%) compared to those in Central (29%) or Western regions (37%).

Discover on YouTube…

  • As to where they find artists and new music, YouTube ranks as the top platform for discovery (75%), followed by streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora (70%), and social networks like Instagram and Facebook (62%).
  • YouTube was the top discovery platform for 13-15 year-olds (85%). The older Gen Z gets, the more likely they are to turn to streaming services, 3 out of 4 over 16 years old compared to 2 in 4 under 16 years old.
  • Beyond the digital medium, more than half cite Terrestrial Radio (58%) and Movies/TV Shows (57%) as major sources of music discovery.
  • But when it comes to those reality competitions shows, Gen Z views those artists as talented, but not the same as artists and bands they usually listen to (48%) and are unlikely to listen to their music once the show is over (30%).

… Listen on Spotify

  • And how are they listening to their favorites? A vast majority (61%) prefer Spotify, with Terrestrial Radio coming in second place (55%), closely followed by Pandora (52%). And their analog behavior extends to both CDs and Records, both of which Gen Z still actively use, 38% and 16% respectively.
  • Apple's iTunes and Apple Music win out over Amazon and Google, capturing double the Gen Z user base.
  • While YouTube was popular for music discovery, less than one-third (29%) use the platform as their go-to listening method, and even less subscribe to the platform's paid option, YouTube Red (9%).
  • Spotify - 61%
  • Terrestrial Radio - 55%
  • Pandora - 52%
  • CD - 38%
  • iTunes - 36%
  • YouTube Music - 29%
  • Apple Music - 25%
  • Satellite Radio - 18%
  • Records - 16%
  • Amazon Music - 13%
  • Google Play - 13%
  • YouTube Red - 9%
  • Listenership does vary slightly by age, with 13-15 year-olds (57%) citing Terrestrial Radio as their most-used music source, while those 16+ turn to Spotify (62%).
  • 3 out of 4 say they spend around $50 or less on music each year, with older respondents more likely to spend than their younger counterparts - 25% of Gen Z aged 13-15 say they exclusively seek out free music, compared to 17% of older respondents.

Scene & Heard

  • A vast majority (80%) plan to attend a live concert event this year, about 45% expect to spend $100 or less, while more than a third (36%) will pay over $100+ per ticket.
  • The older Gen Z cohort (over 18) are the most frequent concert goers, with half planning to attend up to 10 concert events this year (51% vs. 38%).
  • When it comes to concert type, festivals are big on the West coast, with residents being 2x more likely to attend a festival than their east coast counterparts (29% vs. 15%). Overall though, over half of all respondents say they like to attend concerts headlined by their favorite artist or band.

About Sweety High
Sweety High is an empowered destination for Gen Z females. As a vertically integrated media company consisting of a lifestyle site, content studio, SH Music and SH Insights, and creative agency Extra Credit, they employ data, premium content, talent and audiences to create and distribute the cultural conversation. Working across entertainment, fashion, beauty, food, sports and DIY, they've enjoyed partnerships with Disney, NBCU, America's Got Talent, Macy's, Sony, Warner Brothers and Live Nation among many others. Approximately 80 million strong, Gen Z will soon become the largest generation on record. As the most tech-savvy, connected consumer group, they wield tremendous economic impact - influencing $600 billion in annual spending.

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Samantha Choinski
Dotted Line Communications
+1 (603) 489-5964
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