Spotify has launched the fourth volume of Culture Next, its annual global culture and trends report. This year, the focus is on the role of Gen Z as tastemakers, fans and as individuals navigating and defining their place in the world of audio. This is the third year that India featured in the report, amongst 17 Spotify markets.
Some of the key takeaways are reproduced below:
Gen Z revolutionising relationship between audio creators and fans.
As creators, their approach to music and podcasts is forging entirely new aesthetics, genres, and fandoms, and as listeners, their tastes and habits are fluid and say a lot about who they are. Conversations happening between artists and fans via social media and social audio are adding even more access and intimacy to the creator-fan relationship. Zs audio immersions even veer into fantasy with nearly 90 pc of them in India having listened to music from a movie or show they like in order to feel like they’re a character in the story. More than 50 pc of Zs in India said they’ve joined a digital community, such as a subreddit or Discord, as fans of a particular creator.
Brands can bridge the gap between audio creators and their biggest fans by passing the mic to creators. Create a podcast, or turn a podcast ad campaign into an audio series that features bonus content from the hosts, like unaired bloopers, and candid conversations. This builds a connection between the listener, their favourite podcaster or artist, and the brand.
Gen Z finding new ways to express individuality through digital audio.
80 pc of Zs in India said audio allows them to explore the outer edges of culture that they wouldn’t otherwise experience. But more than that, audio takes them to the outer edges of themselves, 85 pc said audio allows them to explore different sides of their personalities. A little over 80 pc of Zs in India believe that their listening habits tell a story about who they are, and feel that they’ve learned something about themselves by looking back over their listening habits. Globally, this generation’s creators are also using audio to bring alter egos into the mainstream. The same sentiment is echoed in India, with 71 pc of Zs appreciating when audio creators take on different personas or characters.
Gen Z is turning to podcasts to process life’s most complex issues.
With Zs feeling more stressed out than millennials, the former have a heightened need to process their raw emotions and audio, especially podcasts, is providing critical support. Over the last year alone, the average podcast listenership among Zs in India saw a whopping 141 pc increase on Spotify between Q1 2022 and the year prior. Now, almost two-thirds of 18-24 year-olds in India are listening to podcasts at least weekly. Just over 75 pc of Zs in India said they turn to podcasts to get answers to hard or personal questions before talking to their families about it, and 74 pc of the same group said they listen to podcasts to inform the conversations they have with their friends. Mental health, the top podcast genre among Zs globally, witnessed impressive growth with a 56 pc increase in the number of streams among Zs in India in Q1 2022, compared to the year before.
Gen Z innovating by filtering throwbacks through contemporary lens.
When asked to rank the emotion they feel most when listening to music from the past, Zs globally were just as likely to say “energised” as they were to say “comfort”. On social media, Zs are mixing old hits with new visual trends such as lip-syncs, dances, makeup tutorials, fit checks, among others – to go viral. Just above 75 pc of Zs in India like it when brands bring back old aesthetic styles. 74 pc of Zs in India said they like listening to and watching media from earlier decades because it reminds them of when things were simpler.