‘Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials’

Teens value video platforms for music discovery and social engagement, but, as they develop as music consumers, look to audio streaming services and are more prepared to pay for music

London, 28th June 2017 – The latest in a regular series of Insight Sessions was held yesterday (27/6), unveiling new music research by Mark Mulligan of MiDiA Research – Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials.  

The report for BPI/ERA explores the music consumption habits and social media behaviour of today’s young Millennials (aged up to 19) and how their engagement across streaming and video platforms and social media and messaging apps, including Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly, is shaping longer-term trends.

Download the full report here.

YouTube still dominates in the social media space

The research finds that for today’s tweens and teenagers YouTube is a pervasive platform – not only for new music and content and access to influential YouTubers like Zoella, but for social engagement also.  YouTube plays a key role as “a video destination, music app, social platform and educational resource rolled into one”.

Messaging apps have replaced social networks

Messaging apps including Snapchat and Instagram are becoming increasingly important, replacing social networks for Generation Z and enabling them to act on their impulse to “live in the moment” and “narrate their lives”.  As such they help build engagement around music and artist profiles.

More recent apps like Musical.ly and Dubsmash – video social network apps for video creation and messaging – are also growing in popularity. This is in part due to a rate of app innovation that is accelerating thanks to the “Millennial feedback loop” of older millennials shaping app experiences for the younger Gen Z.

But Spotify dominates music space and drives discovery

The research additionally shows that, 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 16-19 Spotify is overtaking YouTube as the main music app, with 53 per cent weekly user penetration compared to 47 per cent for YouTube. 

This helps to underline another finding highlighted in the report from previous MiDiA research showing that  younger consumers (16-19 years: 67%) are more prepared to pay for music than other age groups (56%). 

Streaming is, however, 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 BPI & 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 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.” 

Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials – Summary of Key findings:

  • 85% of 16-19 year olds say that music is an important part of their life.
  • Authenticity, relevance, shareability and context are key to Gen Z.
  • YouTube is the most pervasive entertainment platform for Gen Z, peaking at 94% monthly penetration among 16-19 year olds.
  • However, for these 16-19 year olds, as interest in music develops, Spotify is overtaking YouTube as the main music app, with 53% weekly user penetration compared to 47% for YouTube.
  • Music is the most widely watched content type among 12-15 year olds on YouTube, with YouTubers such as Zoella (11.8m subscribers) and KSI (16.1m) becoming the new pop stars for Gen Z.
  • UK teens (16-19 years) are more willing to pay for music. 67% consider it to be worth paying for regularly compared to 56% of overall consumers.
  • third of 8-11 year olds in the UK use Snapchat, rising to 67% for 16-19 year olds, while 63% of 16-19 year olds use Instagram.
  • Messaging apps like Snapchat and Instagram are replacing social networks for Gen Z.
  • Among 16-19 year olds YouTube and social media unsurprisingly dominate, with much higher penetration rates than the overall population.
  • Streaming is transforming Gen Z’s relationship with music: 74% of all 16-19 year olds say they are mainly listening to single tracks and playlists instead of albums.
  • 71% of 16-19 year olds listen to music radio on an at least monthly basis, just 3 percentage points above the all-ages average.


Table 1: Weekly use of music apps by UK teens (compared to all users average), December 2016


Table 2: Snapshot of Gen Z social media usage



The BPI/ERA Insight Session, which was chaired by Music Ally’s Paul Brindley and was attended by over 90 industry guests, also featured a video segment produced by digital media platform SuperAwesome, presenting the views of young Gen Z Millennials.  This was followed by the presentation of two of five marketing case studies included in the report that explain how brands are connecting with Generation Z: Deezer’s Grime Channel and Netflix/GRM Daily’s #TheGhettsDown campaign2. The event concluded with a discussion with panellist from Deezer, SuperAwesome, Atlantic Records UK, GRM Daily and MiDiA Research.    

Previous Insight Sessions have explored In-Car Tech and Entertainment, Blockchain, VR and AI & Music



Gennaro Castaldo            gennaro.castaldo@bpi.co.uk                      020 7803 1326 / 07801 194 139

Lynn Li                                  lynn@eraltd.org                                               020 7440 1597 / 07500 817 835


Notes to Editors

1 BPI/ERA Insight Session: Details of running order & presentations

Chair: Paul Brindley, CEO and Co-founder, Music Ally

4.10              Welcome: Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive, BPI

4.15              Presentation: Mark Mulligan, MD, MIDiA Research: Gen Z – Meet the Young Millennials

4.45              Video presentation: The kids are alright – 10 tweens/teens discuss their music consumption habits

5.00              Gen Z marketing case studies: Julia Herd, Global VP Communications, Deezer: Grime Channel

     Lauren Pavan, COO and Marisa Lee, Executive Assistant, GRM Daily: Netflix - #TheGhettsDown campaign

5.15 - 6.00   Panel discussion: Mark Mulligan, MD, MIDiA Research; Julia Herd, Global VP Communications, Deezer; Tiffany Tasker,

    Brand & Business Development, SuperAwesome; Jacqueline Eyewe, Marketing Manager, Atlantic Records UK

- Which services are teenagers using to discover/play music, and how does this differ from older music fans?

- Which social and messaging platforms are the teens using and how?

- How are new devices and tech shaping how Gen Z lead their lives?

- How do Gen Z music fans expect to engage with their favourite artists?

- How should labels, services and retailers most effectively communicate with and market to Gen Z music fans?

- What other aspects of Gen Z behaviour should influence today’s marketers?

2 Other case studies in the report are on Musical.ly; Capitol Records UK marketing campaign for 5SOS, Girls Talk Boys2; and Sony Music UK’s The Bot Platform – Olly Murs 24HRS Ollybot.

The Capitol Records UK marketing case study for 5SOS, Girls Talk Boys, was first published in Music Ally’s Sandbox in Sept 2016. 

3 The panel discussion included contributions from Deezer Global VP Communications, Julia Herd; SuperAwesome Brand & Business Development Director, Tiffany Tasker; Atlantic Records UK Marketing Manager, Jacqueline Eyewe; GRM Daily COO Lauren Pavan and Executive Assistant Marissa Lee; and MiDiA Research MD, Mark Mulligan.   

About ERA – http://www.eraltd.org/   

ERA is the trade association representing the vast majority of retailers and digital services offering music, video and games. Its members range from independent record shops (Reflex, Sister Ray) to digital services (Spotify, Sky, Deezer, 7digital) to internet retailers (Amazon) to specialist High Street operators (HMV, Game) and supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons). 

ERA members supply the sales data which powers the Official Charts Company (music and video charts) and GfK Chart-Track (videogames). Together with record companies trade association the BPI, it owns the Official Charts Company. 




ERA provides the organisational force behind Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record stores which has become the most successful new music industry promotion of the past two decades. 

 ERA works closely with its sister organisations in music, video and games and is a strong proponent of open markets, open standards and consumer choice.

About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Promoting British Music https://www.bpi.co.uk/default.aspx              

The BPI is a record labels’ association that promotes British music and champions the UK’s recorded music sector – the world’s third largest. The BPI also safeguards the rights of its members and of all the artists, performers and record label members of PPL, who collectively create around 99 per cent of all legitimate sales and streams of music in the UK. The BPI’s membership consists of over 400 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘major’ companies, which together account for over 80 per cent of domestic music consumption.

In 2016 UK artists were responsible for one in eight artist albums sold worldwide. The BPI helps to promote British music overseas through numerous trade missions and through the Music Exports Growth Scheme, which, since 2014, has awarded £2 million in government funding to around 130 mainly independently-signed artists. The BPI provides valuable insights, training and networking with its free masterclasses and presentations and through its Innovation Hub, Insight Sessions and authoritative yearbook and reports.

The BPI certifies the iconic Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards Programme, co-owns the Official Charts, owns and organises The BRIT Awards – which has raised more than £16.8m for music education and wellbeing charities to date, including the BRIT School – and is also home to the Mercury Prize

About MiDiA – https://www.midiaresearch.com/                              

MIDiA Research is a unique research and analysis subscription service focused on the digital content economy. Our reports, proprietary datasets and actionable advice help media and technology companies harness disruption and generate profits from digital content.

We provide a global view of the digital content marketplace with consumer data, market forecasts and trackers that help you stay one step ahead of the competition. We are sector specialists, with analysts covering online video, music and mobile content.

MIDiA gives you the inside track on emerging consumer and technology trends with analyst reports, forecasts, consumer data and market insight focusing on where technology and media meet. Monthly research and data with one annual fee for all budgets. We understand your end users and the best strategies for reaching and engaging them.

About Music Allyhttp://musically.com/           

At Music Ally we love music, and we love tech. We believe that these worlds should not be battling each other and so our mission for the past fifteen years has remained the same: to explore ways that the two worlds can work profitably together.

We don’t believe the old industry will ever return – and that’s not a bad thing. We want to help reshape the music business so that it’s fit for purpose in the digital age, representing the new breed of empowered artists and managers, helping build sustainable careers in a fairer system. We also work with savvy labels and new digital music platforms which together will be changing the way we connect with the music we love.

Our clients are across the music and technology sectors, and include all of the major labels, music publishers and collecting societies, music platforms like Spotify and Deezer, and the tech giants like Google and Microsoft.

We are NOT musical.ly – the singing app. We provide information on the new music business. We also enable companies to understand the landscape through training in various forms of digital marketing. We provide bespoke research, and also help companies spot opportunities through specialist consulting. And we work with global events and also put together our own focused networking events.

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