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Streams Like Teen Spirit

Over the past few years, we've seen a shift in the music industry where music consumption is less clearly defined by the boundaries of genre tribes and generational eras. Rather, musical taste has become more liquid and flows with the current of culture. For instance, the resurgence of ‘Running up that Hill’ by Kate Bush, which was originally released in 1985, perfectly encapsulates this new wave of music listeners in today’s modern society.

the7stars' latest whitepaper 'Streams like Teen Spirit' explores how listening habits are evolving, with Generation Alphas (born 2010 onwards and predicted to reach a population of 2.2B by 2025 globally) acting as society's trailblazers in creating a more fractured and mosaic music scene. Not only do they mature into fully fledged active consumers at an earlier stage, but they are also one of the most culturally complex generations the world has ever seen.

Two in five of 7–14-year-olds agree that they have a wide taste in music and a third agree they like to listen to new bands (the7stars Kantar TGI Youth, April 2022). This is largely thanks to the evolution of music technology, which has broken down barriers in all areas of music discovery, curation and sharing. For instance, Spotify continues to release social features on its platform – such as blended playlists, follower activities and algorithms that recommend music based on your current tastes – all making the music platform another form of social media in its own right. With the dawn of the TikTok era bolstering music discovery even more, the landscape is a free-for-all where genres, eras and tribes diverge to reflect youth’s expressions of multifaceted, modern self-identities.

What emanates is a plethora of opportunities for brands and artists alike – from virtual reality concerts within gaming, to new possibilities in sponsorships and partnerships. With trends and culture continuing to evolve at a rapid pace and the future of music becoming even more unpredictable, not only does the significance of brands’ awareness of current behaviours become amplified, but their understanding of Gen A’s unique core values that will capture this generation for years to come.