Tuning into Gen-Z: Spotify’s Rising Influence and What It Means for Marketers

As a digital marketing agency, we don’t instinctively jump to Spotify when trying to connect with Gen-Z online, and we’re not alone. Until recently, Spotify hasn’t had much luck with the under 24 year old crowd, with even their CEO commenting that they “could be doing better in that group” But recent data is turning that supposition on its head, perhaps thanks to the launch of Spotify’s AI DJ which brings younger listeners the kind of curated and personalised content they’re looking for online. With a staggering 76% increase in Gen-Z’s streaming activity in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, Spotify has evidently struck a chord with this audience.

At a Glance: Key Statistics

Monumental Streaming Volume:

Gen Z streamed over 560 billion songs on Spotify in the first half of 2023 and are projected to exceed 1 trillion tracks by the end of the year. That’s 76% up on the first half of 2022.

Genre Preferences:

Pop, rap, and indie pop are the top genres among Gen-Z, with 32.7%, 16.8%, and 7.88% of respondents claiming these as their favourite genres.

Daily Listening Habits:

On average, Gen-Z listened to 154 minutes of content on Spotify everyday, compared to a global average of 140 minutes.

Only 3% of Gen-Z listened to music for less than 30 minutes per day, and about 7% of Gen-Z engaged in extensive listening, tuning in for more than 5 hours daily.

51% of Gen-Z users find audio content more “wholesome” compared to visual content and use it to relax.

A Platform for Education and Self-Development:

UK Gen-Z’s podcast listening in the Education category surged by 61% last year, indicating a strong interest in learning through audio content.

64% of UK’s Gen-Z finds podcasts more trustworthy than other media. 

Podcast Consumption Trends:

Canadian Gen Z’s generated 103 million podcast streams on Spotify during the first six months of 2023, marking a 60% increase from the previous year.

In the UK, Gen Z accounted for more than 250 million podcast streams in the first half of 2023, fueling a 58% increase since the year prior.

44% of Gen Z podcast listeners trust ads on podcasts more than on social media

Impactful Advertising:

Spotify reports a 19% higher brand impact for ads on their platform compared to other media, highlighting its new found effectiveness in reaching and resonating with Gen-Z.

Connecting with Gen-Z on Spotify: Key Insights

The key takeaway here is that Spotify is increasingly becoming a powerful platform for connecting with Gen-Zers but only if it’s done in the right way. Gen Z are famously resilient to traditional advertising and tend to be much more receptive to messaging with an authentic, personal touch. The following insights provide helpful suggestions on how you can do just that.

1. Tap Into Top Genres for a Seamless Listening Experience:

  • Whilst listening habits vary across the Gen-Z demographic, certain genres do stand out. Pop, rap, and indie pop are top of the pile right now so integrating elements of these genres into marketing content can make it more appealing and relatable. 
  • Stay on top of trending genres to get the most out of your marketing. K-Pop has swept across the globe in recent years and it’s no different story on Spotify. It ranked as Gen-Z’s 4th favourite genre last year, with good old classic rock coming in just behind. 
  • Interestingly, some research suggests that original audio, rather than licensed trending songs, could be more impactful. Amp, a sonic branding agency, reports 18% of the Gen-Z participants surveyed are more likely to engage with original tunes from brands than with chart-topping hits.

2. Understand Why Gen-Z are on Spotify:

  • Audio for Stress Relief: Many Gen-Z users turn to audio content as a form of stress relief. Crafting marketing messages that are soothing, calming, or light-hearted could enhance engagement. The tone, voice, and pace of audio ads should be designed to complement, rather than disrupt, the listener’s experience. 
  • Authenticity and Humor in Advertising: Gen-Z values authenticity. Ads that acknowledge their presence as promotional content, perhaps through self-aware humour or genuine messaging, can foster a sense of trust and relatability. 
  • Sponsoring popular playlists or curating your own  are great ways to communicate brand identity and provide value, without disruptive product focussed messaging.

3. Don’t Forget About Podcasts

Gen-Z have long since been associated with a fondness for quick content and a high churn rate. Coupled with the assumption that most people listen to podcasts on their commute to work, a daily ritual that Gen-Z (on the whole) don’t practise, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t be listening to podcasts. As you can see from the stats above, it turns out that’s simply not true.

However, that doesn’t mean you can slot any old ad into a popular podcast and expect it to get good traction. We can chalk the trust Gen-Z listeners place in podcast up to the intimate nature of the medium and the rapport listeners build up with the podcast host. Hosts are increasingly becoming influencers in their own right, building up dedicated and engaged audiences across platforms. 

This trust can amplify a brand’s messaging and deliver it to a wide, dedicated audience Something to consider here is empowering podcast hosts to have a say in how ads are presented, ensuring the ads blend seamlessly with the show’s vibe and the host’s unique personality. This approach keeps the content authentic, maintaining the host’s rapport with their audience and preventing the ad from feeling like an awkward interruption.

Don’t Ignore The Signs

Spotify’s soaring popularity among Gen-Z is more than just a trend; it’s a loud and clear signal to marketers about where to find and how to engage with this dynamic demographic. By tapping into their love for diverse music genres and offering relatable and authentic content, brands have more opportunities than ever to strike the right chord with Gen-Z. 


Hi, I’m Morgan and I’m the founder of Tin and Copper, a socials first digital marketing agency in Cornwall. I started out working as a journalist and that love for sniffing out new and exciting stories has led to me running a full service marketing agency and video production company. Today, we work with partners of all shapes and sizes, from local councils to international brands like TUI and AirBnB.