Culture Next 2020: Spotify’s Annual Trend Report on Gen Zs and Millennials

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Releasing a global trends report in a whirlwind year like 2020 is challenging, we’ll admit. Still, as we put together our second annual Culture Next here at Spotify, one thing became clear: This year’s events have clarified — and in many ways, accelerated — trends that Gen Zs and millennials have been shaping for quite some time. We’re excited for you to explore our findings in this year’s Culture Next. You can download the full report at Spotify Advertising today.

Through our own Streaming Intelligence, research, and conversations, we discovered new insights and explored five key trends among these young generations. And as this year’s major shifts took place — a global pandemic and racial justice movement — we made sure to update and adapt our research with new findings that reflect the context of 2020. Here’s a snapshot of the five trends in the report…

  • Gen Z starts from scratch. With longstanding norms around work and education upended in recent years, Gen Z has been practically hardwired with a DIY mentality. Nearly half of Zs we spoke to said older generations can’t act as guides to adulthood because too much has changed in the world — and that was before the major shifts of 2020.
  • Families embrace audio at home. Parents and kids are tuning into audio — but it’s not just about being connected, it’s about strengthening connections. From virtual assistants and voice activation to connected cars and smart homes, sound is changing the way families interact. In the first half of 2020, as people began to self-quarantine, we saw a significant shift on the platform: Kids playlist streams have risen 21% so far this year, and Spotify Free users collectively hit 21 million monthly minutes of family and parenthood playlist listening.

  • Self-discovery builds community. The concept of self-discovery isn’t unique to Zs and millennials, but they’re doing it differently thanks to the access and connectivity technology offers. Through our research, we found that young people are increasingly forming identities based on niche interests, and bonding with others who share those interests around the world.
  • Progress overtakes partisanship. We already knew that young people expect their culture to mix with civics. But from talking to Zs and millennials in both January and July, we learned that they prioritize finding collective purpose in order to drive change over leaning into partisan labels that slow progress. We talked to Zs and millennials about how they personally responded to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, by focusing on purposeful action over divisive politics.
  • Sound is getting smarter. Emotional, therapeutic, personal — when we asked Zs and millennials which qualities make sound powerful to them, those words rose to the top. All of which support the conclusion drawn from the rest of our research: Sound is the most human of technological mediums. In our interviews, we dug into sound’s flexibility and importance as a source of personal comfort.

Culture Next is designed to inspire brands with these insights — offering up new ways to empower and be there for your audience. Head to Spotify Advertising to download the report and dive in.

And on October 1, make sure to join Lee Brown, Spotify’s VP, Global Head of Advertising Business and Melissa Lavigne-Delville, founder of research agency Culture Co-Op, during Advertising Week 2020. They’ll be exploring the key trends we uncovered and the ways marketers can build lasting relationships with the next generation.


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