Teens develop taste for Spotify after YouTube, report finds

Teens value video platforms such as YouTube for music discovery but are turning to streaming services as they develop as music consumers, a new study finds.

Research unveiled at the latest Insight Sessions event by BPI and ERA earlier this week has charted the new music consumption habits and social media behaviour of young millennials.

The Gen Z: Meet the Young Millennials report, compiled by Mark Mulligan of MiDia Research, found that for today’s tweens and teenagers, YouTube is still a pervasive platform — not only for new music and content, but for social engagement too.

It also plays a key role as ‘a video destination, music app, social platform and educational resource rolled into one’, with a monthly penetration rate of 94 percent among 16 to 19 year-olds.

Music is the most widely watched content type among 12 to 15 year-olds on the platform, with YouTubers such as Zoella (11.8m subscribers) and KSI (16.1m) becoming the new pop stars for their generation.

However, as teenagers develop as music consumers, they are likely to be drawn to audio streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music. For those aged 16 to 19, Spotify is overtaking YouTube as the main music app, with 53 percent weekly user penetration compared to 47 percent for YouTube.

This age group is also more willing to pay for music, with 67 percent considering it to be worth paying for regularly compared to 56 percent of overall UK consumers.

Streaming is also transforming UK teens’ relationship with music, with millennials increasingly accessing individual tracks or playlists rather than engaging with artists or albums.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and BRIT Awards, said: ‘If we are going to prepare for the future of music, we need to better understand Generation Z and the influences that shape their engagement with music.

‘These young digital natives are not only important as a key segment of the market, but the way they interact with music helps to unveil trends that will become more widespread among music fans over time.’

Kim Bayley, chief executive of ERA, said: ‘It’s not news that entertainment is changing, but none of us should underestimate the achievement of the streaming revolution.

‘Not only has it helped stop piracy in its tracks, it has created the first real growth in the music industry in more than a decade and has done so with an unbeatable consumer proposition: 24/7 access to virtually all the music in the world. In the fast-paced digital world, however, nothing is forever and it is vital to stay close to emerging generations of music fans, many of whom were not even born at the dawn of the mp3 age.’

Read the full report

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