Generation Z on Spotify: Young people turn to podcasts and retro music to relieve stress

Generation Z on Spotify: Young people turn to podcasts and retro music to relieve stress

Generation Z is assumed to be stressed. A pandemic, global economic uncertainty and a war have marked his formative period and early productive years. Somehow they must relieve that stress and have found a refuge in digital platforms. Spotify, of course, is on the list of their favorite applications and through it you can learn more about the state of mind of this population group that ranges from 18 to 24 years old.

It’s not just Spotify users -who now number more than 422 million in 183 countries- who listen to the platform, the platform also listens to them and that’s how the company has produced its Culture Next study for four consecutive years. With a streaming intelligence platform, the company is able to study the attitudes and moods of its users based on the music and podcasts they consume.

As part of the recent edition of Culture Next, Spotify conducted eight Zoom focus groups interviewing more than 50 people in Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Spain, United States, Philippines, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Singapore. He also conducted interviews with opinion leaders in the advertising and audio industries, as well as quantitative interviews with 12,500 people.

Spotify
Spotify

Generation Z looks for answers in podcasts

In an interview with Forbes Mexico, Spotify’s head of Advertising Sales for Latin America, Diana Ramírez, commented that part of the Culture Next findings is that “generation Z continues to report higher levels of stress than the millennial [generation].” To alleviate this stress, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 find a good refuge in podcasts, whose hosts they consider valid references, even above traditional television presenters.

“In the podcasts they find answers that they review before talking to their families. It is a turning point that we are seeing, they feel safe in the podcasts to find more information, have more answers and then open up to the world,” says Diana Ramírez. In the past year alone, average Gen Z podcast listening in Mexico saw a 90% increase on Spotify between the first quarter of 2022 and the previous year.

And within the consumption of podcasts there is an important nuance: mental health. Social media heightened insecurities by exposing the identity experiments and missteps of young people, and the pandemic isolated this generation from their peers at a time when they were needed most. With all this context, generation Z around the world feels more concerned about mental health, even more than the millennial generation.

Spotify’s Culture Next 2022 mentions that Gen Z seeks to “have a greater need to process their raw emotions and audio provides critical support for that, especially podcasts.” Half of 18-24 year olds in Mexico listen to podcasts at least once a week, and mental health is the top genre of Gen Z podcasts globally. Podcasts give them help without having to ask for it.

In this regard, Diana Ramírez comments that “56% of young people between 18 and 24 years old indicate that they turn to podcasts to get answers to difficult or personal questions before talking to their families about it. In podcasts they find this safe environment where talks about things that probably in their family circles are not talked about so openly”. This type of content has become a complement to their conversations and training.

In keeping with the nostalgia for the 1980s propagated by the Netflix series Stranger Things, Gen Z sees pop culture memorabilia as another way to relieve the stress they claim to live under. Not only that, says the Spotify study, “they are reinventing nostalgia. These young people reinterpret memories of pop culture through a current perspective to obtain and inspire something new and their own.”

“They are facing climate change, economic turmoil and the threat of World War III… Nostalgia has been shown to bring a sense of relief in the midst of uncertainty and the last few years have been turbulent, to say the least. Yet while millennials are nostalgic for the earlier eras they lived through, Gen Z clings to almost any era that offers them respite from the difficulties of the present,” says Culture Next.

In Mexico, according to data from Spotify, generation Z affirms that they like to listen to and watch multimedia content from the decades before their birth, periods of pop culture that they did not live through and of which they have no memory, however, they have a predilection for the past as “it reminds them of when things were simpler”.

On social media, Gen Z combines classic hits with new visual trends, like lip syncs, dances, makeup tutorials, outfit samples, and the like, to go viral again. Celine Dion’s song “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” broke the Spotify single-day stream record 25 years after its release, similar to Kate Bush’s “Running up that hill.” thanks to the Stranger Things effect.

“For Generation Z, the past is a driver of the future and that applies to much more than just music. 83% of Generation Z in Mexico like it when brands bring the aesthetics of the past to the present, and 82% % love when brands launch retro products or content. They like to go back to the days before smartphones and social networks, when the world seemed more stable and the future seemed more certain, “refers to the Spotify study.

In Mexico, according to data from Spotify, generation Z affirms that they like to listen to and watch multimedia content from the decades before their birth, periods of pop culture that they did not live through and of which they have no memory, however, they have a predilection for the past as “it reminds them of when things were simpler”.

On social media, Gen Z combines classic hits with new visual trends, like lip syncs, dances, makeup tutorials, outfit samples, and the like, to go viral again. Celine Dion’s song “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” broke the Spotify single-day stream record 25 years after its release, similar to Kate Bush’s “Running up that hill.” thanks to the Stranger Things effect.

“For Generation Z, the past is a driver of the future and that applies to much more than just music. 83% of Generation Z in Mexico like it when brands bring the aesthetics of the past to the present, and 82% % love when brands launch retro products or content. They like to go back to the days before smartphones and social networks, when the world seemed more stable and the future seemed more certain, “refers to the Spotify study.

“Gen Z reinterprets pop culture memories of bygone eras through a modern perspective. We see this generation embracing retro playlists, and nostalgia has been shown to bring a sense of relief in the midst of uncertainty. Memories of the Years 80 and 90 they adopt them because it gives them security in the face of this uncertainty that has them stressed, “says the head of Spotify Advertising Sales for Latin America.

They want to be protagonists

In a time of turmoil and with the attention economy dominating, Gen Zers want to stand out, stand out, be the stars. “Nothing allows this generation to explore and showcase their unique tastes more than audio,” says the Spotify study.

“This generation is driving the ‘main character energy’ trend, where people use social media or digital audio to feel like the center of attention with all eyes (and ears) on them. Also, tune in the Spotify playlist “my life is a movie” and select playlists that immerse her in the vibe of the “main character”

A 20-year-old from Sydney, Australia, who was interviewed for the Culture Next 2022 study, felt that this “fits with everyone’s desire to be perceived as authentic by others, but also that people put proper emphasis on ‘this is my life and I have control over it'”.

“As Gen Z embraces the idea that their streaming habits are a better reflection of who they are than most casual conversation, they’re looking for new opportunities to show themselves through audio, and they want brands to help them do it. For example, the integration of Spotify in Tinder allows users to put audio on repeat for 30 seconds in their profiles, which helps to immediately identify the musical tastes of a potential partner, “says the report.

Meanwhile, Your Year on Spotify, the year’s tour of the musical memory route, became an essential cultural element among generation Z, mainly among young people between 18 and 24 years old, who see the annual reflection as an opportunity to share their own identity through social networks.

Rachel Maga
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life's biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.