Why Gen Z’s Matter To The Music Industry

Why Gen Z’s Matter To The Music Industry

Millennials have had their moment in the sun. (me included here.) And just like the generations before us, our moment is over. Gen Zers, with streaming at their fingertips from what seems like since birth, listen to and obsess over music more so than their predecessors. Although that’s admittedly hard for me to admit, the proof is in the stats. And those stats show that without this new wave of music lovers, us music business folks would be out of a job. What makes this generation so important? Let’s talk about it.

Why Gen Z’s Matter To The Music Industry

Chronically Online

The frequency and consistency of internet and media usage by Gen Z is completely different than that of the generations before. Artists of all genres have almost unlimited ways to spread their music globally, not to mention with almost immediate feedback from the masses. That means companies and labels have also had to adapt their marketing, advertising, and business strategies to meet the wants and needs of the listeners. The biggest chunk of consumers? Gen Z, of course.

As of 2023, “Gen Z spend more time with music than the overall population. Those age 13-24 in the U.S. spend 3 hours and 43 minutes daily listening to music — an average of 40 minutes more than the rest of the population.” writes a recent study done by Edison Research. In Spotify’s Q2 Earnings Report 2023, they found that in the first half of 2023, Gen Z listened to songs more than 560 billion times and podcast episodes more than 3 billion times, which is a 76% increase over the year prior. That alone makes them Spotify’s fastest-growing cohort in music and podcast listening on Spotify.

With access to more streaming platforms than ever right at their fingertips, Gen Z has completely shifted the means of music consumption away from traditional album sales, and over to, you guessed it, streaming. With social media at the forefront of it all, companies have had to adapt in order to market to this generation.

The Impact of Social Media

With a direct line of communication to almost every community online, Gen Z has become more inclusive and diverse, embracing and celebrating a wider range of artists and genres. Their social consciousness has impacted the music industry in ways that won’t soon be forgotten, bringing themes of mental health, social justice, truth, and vulnerability into the limelight.

How does this affect the music industry as a whole? The genres and artists we’re seeing take center stage definitely reflect these themes. Think Billie Eiligh, Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, The Kid Laroi, Taylor Swift. These preferences have shaped the sound and aesthetics of contemporary music.

Remember the study by Edison Research I mentioned earlier? They also found that the top genres of this generation are Hip Hop/R&B, Top 40, and Alternative Rock. That said, with their eclectic tastes and exposure to a wide range of influences, including the internet and social media, Gen Z has significantly contributed to the blurring of genre boundaries and the rise of hybrid styles. Let’s not forget, visually-driven platforms like TikTok have also influenced the development of these music trends, with short, catchy songs often gaining viral popularity and shooting artists into the spotlight almost overnight.


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With Gen Z’s massive digital footprint, music marketers have access to vast amounts of data that inform wildly targeted marketing strategies. Utilizing analytics from streaming platforms, social media metrics, and audience insights, marketers can personalize campaigns, identify emerging trends, and optimize content for maximum impact.

The Rise of DIY Culture

Not only are the internet and streaming more accessible than ever, but so is technology. Artists have access to all the music production software, DAWs, and affordable recording equipment they need, and they can learn everything they need to know about how to use them in the span of an afternoon. With YouTube tutorials and online communities (like Reddit), skills that used to be gatekept are open for anyone to learn. Once you’ve got music to share, you can do so independently, too. Gone are the days of the traditional label route!

Independent distribution is at the top of its game right now, mostly thanks to Gen Zers. Now, independent social media marketing, influencer collaborations, and grassroots promotional tactics have become the norm for DIY musicians looking to build a fanbase and grow their careers.

In Conclusion…

Gen Z has wholeheartedly embraced technology, social media, independence, and authenticity to an unprecedented degree that has, in turn, propelled DIY culture within the music industry to new heights. As the new generations continue to redefine existing conventions and reshape the industry as we know it, it’s evident that DIY culture will only continue to grow. In the meantime, it’s time to adapt! The industry is always changing. If you want to stay ahead of the pack, you need to adapt right along with it.

Good luck!

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