Digital audio elevated moments, informed opinions, provided education, and inspired moods. And, it helped forge new connections between listeners, creators, and advertisers.
The future's bright: 61% of Gen Zs and millennials globally said they feel empowered to build a “better normal.”1 So before you start thinking about next year, take a look at what changed in 2021. It might just help you connect with your audience in more meaningful ways in 2022.
Looking to rebuild and rebalance, audiences sought ways to rise above the digital clutter. Many turned to sound, with 79% of global audiences agreeing that they embraced digital audio as a tool to combat screen fatigue.2
Spotify was a haven for consumers as they leaned into (and on) sound, with overall minutes played on the platform increasing by +22% from 2020 to 2021 for users aged 15 to 443. And 69% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users agreed that audio acted as a soundtrack to their daily lives.
In the face of challenging circumstances to stay connected to loved ones, listeners increasingly used sound to bridge the gap by sharing moments and culture, maintaining their digital connections over the distance. For example, 59% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users globally said they’ve shared more content with friends as a way of staying in touch.6 More than 2.1 billion tracks, shows, albums, and artists were shared via Spotify in 2021, and there were more than 22 million collaborative Spotify playlists created in the last year.7
As the pace of our households slowed, audio brought us together through communal listening. Smart speakers — which served as the centerpiece, serving up everything from dance party mixes to songs from “Cocomelon” — rose in popularity among Spotify users globally in 2021, with total listening time through smart speakers growing by 29% YoY.8
Speaking of “Cocomelon,” we saw this trend growing specifically among parents, with 63% saying they’ve been listening to music and podcasts through smart speakers.9
While audiences' worlds remained in flux, sound allowed them to embrace new experiences: 68% of Gen Z and millennial Spotify users said that they discovered more content that they like than ever before.11
They turned to podcasts, in particular, with the number of distinct podcast users aged 15-44 on Spotify growing by +34% YoY - largely in part to an influx of audience segments like Moms, Dads, and New Parents.
There’s no denying it: 2021 was a roller-coaster year, and sound was a powerful tool for creating the right vibe for the moment. Top Playlists on Spotify covered a wide range of moods, with relaxing (Deep Sleep, Peaceful Piano), energetic (Mood Booster, Top Hits), nostalgic (All Out 80), and vibey (lo-fi beats, Soft Pop Hits) playlists all rounding out the Top 20 most-streamed playlists on Spotify in 2021.14
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¹Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents 15-40, Apr’21
²Spotify x IPG, Digital Audio Expansiveness,’21
³Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
⁴Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
⁵Spotify Culture Next Global survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
6Spotify First Party Data, India, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
7Spotify First Party Data, India, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
8Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
9Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21
10Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
11Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20
12Spotify Culture Next Global Survey, among 9,000 respondents, 15-40, Apr’21
13Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21
14Spotify First Party Global Data, Jan-Oct’21 vs. Jan-Oct’20