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Podcast listeners up 271% among millennials in Q1: Spotify CultureNext Report

The report explores how the millennials and Zs are navigating COVID-19 challenges and the role of digital audio in their lives.

Spotify has just released the third volume of Culture Next, its annual global culture and trends report. This year’s report explores how the millennials and Zs are navigating a common challenge to rebuild culture from the ground up as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to upend our idea of normalcy, and the role of digital audio in their lives. This is the second year that India featured in the report, alongside 17 other Spotify markets.

Culture Next is designed to give advertisers an inside look into what inspires and motivates millennials and Zs, the differences and commonalities in how they’re engaging with and driving culture, and the best ways for marketers to use digital audio to thoughtfully connect with them.

Globally, three findings stand out. First, 70% of millennials and 62% of Zs believe that streaming platforms at-large, including audio, have significantly shaped how they discover and connect with broader culture. Second, 55% of millennials and 47% of Gen Zs believe that they have become part of a global community because of music or podcasts. Third, a majority of them believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interest and passion.

In India, the report highlights how audio is a more “wholesome” type of content than visual content for both millennials and Zs. The key highlights from India are shared below:

Audio is encouraging millennials and Zs to tune into themselves

  • 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

  • 87% of millennials and 77% of Zs agree that they use audio to reduce their stress levels

  • 84% of millennials see audio as a mental health resource, while 79% of Zs believe audio to be healing

  • Nearly 80% of millennials and 55% Zs have become a part of a global community because of either music or podcasts

Podcasters are perceived as being authentic, accessible, and trustworthy

  • 48% of millennials and Gen Zs ranked their trust in podcasts higher than their average trust in traditional media sources, including national TV news, newspapers, and radio

  • The average podcast listenership increased 271% among millennials and over 300% among Zs in Q1 2021 vs. Q1 2020. Mental health witnessed the most impressive growth as a genre, with an increase of over 600% among millennials and more than 900% among Zs. Other popular genres: alternative health, spirituality, self-help

  • 58% of millennials and 76% of Zs said they’ve sought content from more diverse creators and podcasts in the last year

  • Approx 80% of millennials and nearly 70% of Zs agreed that podcast hosts “sometimes feel like a friend”

Gen Z steals the spotlight for Spotify music streaming in India

  • 80% of Zs feel "more centered and generally happier" when listening to their favourite music on a daily basis

  • They streamed audio on Spotify through connected devices more often in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020, with the highest increase in in-car listening (more than 2100%), smart speakers (approx 360%), TVs (nearly 180%), as well as wearable devices, desktop computers, and gaming co

  • Among the Zs, Spotify's hyperpop playlist grew by 175% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021

  • 43% of Z Spotify users said they’ve heard a song on social media and then searched for it on the audio streaming platform

  • Millennials — with more years behind them — have especially leaned on nostalgic playlists for relief during the pandemic. In India, they streamed ‘80s Hits 195% more and ‘70s Love Songs 44% more between March 2021 and the year prior

  • Finally, 84% of millennials and 68% of Zs believe music is a gateway to other cultures

According to Arjun Kolady, Head of Sales - India, Spotify, “For both generations, audio is the most immersive form of media and there’s a great opportunity for brands to create communities and campaigns based on common interests and passion of their target audience on our platform. The Z listeners on Spotify in India expect brands to represent and empower them through their campaigns, talent partnerships, and active role in social justice movements. Meanwhile, 68% of the millennials said they like audio advertising because it lets them use their imagination to picture everything in their head. These are just a few of the insights that give brands context to think about how they can work with us”.

Globally, 71% of Spotify Free listeners are under the age of 35 and the median age of our podcast listeners is 27 (March 2021), making Spotify the go-to authority on how Gen Z and millennial audiences are consuming, curating, and creating digital audio content.

Read the full report below.

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