Including the UAE for the first time, Spotify’s annual ‘Culture Next’ report explores the role of digital audio and cultural meaning across two generations: Millennials and Gen Z.
Spotify has released the UAE edition of its annual global culture and trends report, “Culture Next,” featuring the UAE for the first time, exploring the role of digital audio in the lives of Gen Zs and millennials.
The COVID-19 pandemic upended the idea of “normalcy,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in the report. She added that an ongoing global movement for racial justice continues to challenge the status quo and fuel social change.
Spotify spoke to Gen Zs and millennials to understand the shifts in how both generations are creating, curating, and experiencing culture.
“Audio is playing a major part in culture. We are excited to share how two different generations are shaping the audio landscape,” said Omar Aboushady, account director for partner sales in the MENA region.
“Through this report, we hope to inspire and provide guidance to advertisers, marketers, and creatives as they develop marketing strategies, products, and creative campaigns to reach and engage Gen Zs and millennials,”
Spotify’s global research revealed that without school and face-to-face time with friends, Gen Zs have reported more feelings of loneliness over the course of the pandemic. During this time, audio has emerged as a stress reliever for both generations, with 69% of millennials and 58% of Gen Zs in the UAE saying they use audio to reduce their stress.
Moreover, 61% of Gen Zs feel “more centered and generally happier” when listening to their favorite music on a daily basis, and 68% of millennials see audio as a mental health resource.
The role of audio in mental health and wellness is evidenced in the success of the “mental health” podcast category, which saw an overwhelming 601 percent increase in listenership among Gen Zs and a 555% jump among millennials in just one year.
During a time when physical interaction has been limited, both generations have turned to streaming to discover and explore culture and form new connections. In the UAE, 73% of millennials and 54% of Gen Zs believe that streaming platforms in general, including audio, have significantly shaped the way they discover and connect to the culture as a whole.
64% of millennials and 46% of Gen Zs have used music as a way to discover cultures and experiences different from their own, and 59%of millennials and 46% of Gen Zs have made a friend who lives in another country through music or podcasts.
Gen Zs are the most racially and culturally diverse and aware generation, and they expect brands to reflect, represent, and empower them through their marketing activities.
For young millennials and Gen Zs in particular, the emergence of new voices in the audio space has made them feel represented. Sixty-two percent of millennials and 43% of Gen Zs said they searched for more content from more diverse creators and podcasts last year.
Meanwhile, 51% of Gen Zs believe they have more freedom than previous generations to express their authenticity and both generations agree that today’s culture is more open than ever to hearing divergent voices.
The need for authenticity is also reflected in their affinity toward podcasts. Podcasters have emerged as refreshing content creators who feel more authentic and accessible versus, for example, scripted and recorded TV show hosts. With voice playing the primary role in audio, 65% of millennials in the UAE believe the actual voices of podcast hosts can make or break a podcast.
The pandemic’s effect was evident once again in the mixed reality, combining real and virtual, that both generations are experiencing. While Gen Zs are eager to resume in-person experiences, millennials are comfortable with continuing to attend virtual events.
Last year, 68% of millennials and Gen Zs globally attended a virtual experience. Looking forward, in the UAE, millennials (56%) were more likely than Gen Zs (47%) to continue attending virtual concerts after the pandemic is over, since they are cheaper and more convenient than in-person experiences. 61% of millennials even went on to say that audio is the most immersive form of media.
The attitudes of millennials and GenZs towards audio streaming have created a significant opportunity for media, brands, and creators, especially considering the skirmishes most other media channels are facing today.
News Source: Arab News