Each year, Spotify’s Culture Next report checks in on the pulse of the music platform and how millennials and Gen Z are engaging with it. 

This year, Gen Z’s prevalence has noticeably risen, with 1 in 3 users globally belonging to the age group. On top of their heavy use of the platform, Spotify notes that the music industry is seeing some sea changes when it comes to how Gen Z relates to the artists they enjoy. Platforms like Discord, subreddits and Spotify have ushered in a new way for music lovers to engage with artists, creating more of a fan culture and community. Standoms are on the rise.

Overall, 39% of Gen Zs said they would call themselves a “fan,” with 20% of them taking it a step further and being “more than a fan.” What does this mean? According to Spotify, 55% of Gen Zs are actively seeking out bonus and behind-the-scenes content for their favorite performers and want to know more about the creative process behind the music.

This shift to being creator-centric within the music space is creating an environment where this bonus content, behind-the-scenes stuff and focusing on the fan experience is more than welcome.

While millennial culture has been strongly associated with the proliferation of podcasts, it appears that Gen Z is also furthering the content format’s use —75 percent of Gen Zs are using audio to understand themselves better compared to 60 percent of millennials, using podcasts as the means to do so. Spotify notes they have seen a 62 percent rise in podcast listenership among the ascendant age group, with 41 percent of 18-24 year-olds listening to podcasts on at least a weekly basis. 

Outside of standoms and podcasts, as anyone on TikTok can attest, Gen Z has a particular affinity for nostalgia, which has become a salve for many to deal with the numerous difficulties in present times. Because of this, 70 percent of Gen Zs in the United States are listening to music and watching media from earlier decades. 

“We don’t want to be in 2022, we want to be in a different time where something like the pandemic doesn’t exist,” said Samantha, 19 from Easton, Pennsylvania, who participated in the survey.