3 Effective Ways Brands Can Cater to Gen Z Through Music

They are digitalites. They are changemakers. They are Generation Z

Gen Z is quickly becoming a popular target for many brands. While this generation is very diverse, a commonality among the demographic revolves around their music consumption habits. From sharing playlists on music streaming services to bonding over popular hits on TikTok, music plays a major role in shaping Gen Z culture. As this cohort continues to influence the industry, brands can get a better understanding of this generation’s music taste and leverage that information when trying to cater to them. 

What is Gen Z Listening to? 

In order for brands to be strategic in how they incorporate music into their marketing efforts, they need to understand what Gen Z is listening to. According to Spotify For Brands in 2019, 40% of Gen Zers aged 18-24 listen to global artists more often than other age groups. Spotify also notes that as of 2019, 50% of Millennials and Gen Z have ‘bag’ playlists filled with sad songs for when they are feeling down. Fun fact, many Billie Eilish songs can be found in sad or ‘bag’ playlists on Spotify. Lastly, when this cohort likes a song, they get it to the top. Global Web Index reports that as of 2019, 41% of TikTok users are 16-24. TikTok has heavily influenced which songs top the charts on Itunes and Spotify. A notable example of music topping the charts shortly after trending on TikTok are, Roxanne and Old Town Road.

What Music Can Teach us About Gen Z 

Gen Z embraces the mindset that it’s okay to feel; it’s okay to accept and welcome all emotions. Gen Z finds comfort in expressing their feelings to others, especially sadness and loneliness so that they don’t feel like they are alone. Bonding over hardships or negative feelings is very common for Gen Zers, which is why ‘bag’ playlists are so popular. Gen Z is open-minded, they promote individuality, and embrace inclusiveness. Gen Z values diversity which correlates to this demographic enjoying global artists regardless of genre or language. Lastly, this generation is made up of incredible changemakers. This cohort cares about taking action; from gun laws to climate change, this group is comprised of activists. Gen Z artists such as, AJR and Bazzi, address social issues through their music. 

Ways to Implement Music Into Branding 

Here are 3 effective ways brands can cater to Gen Z through music: 

  1. Brands can incorporate music into advertisements

Incorporating certain music in an advertisement can be attention-grabbing. Gen Zers are more likely to sit through an ad when they are listening to part of a song that appeals to them, especially on social media like TikTok or a music streaming service. Adding music to advertisements makes the ad feel more like ‘content’ rather than just an ad.  

      2. Partnering with or sponsoring music influencers

Finding a music influencer who fits your brand’s image could help sell your product or service to Gen Z. Whether that music artist is the face of the brand or is being sponsored, Gen Z is more likely to pay attention.

     3. Sponsor a music festival or concert

Not only does sponsoring a festival or concert get your brand’s name out there, but you can sponsor a celebrity favored by Gen Zers to promote your brand even more. In the past, Guess had sponsored several celebrities and music festivals, according to Factory 360. Back in 2014, Guess even branded the popular hotel guests stay at when attending Coachella. Additionally, in an agreement with Guess, celebrities needed to post on Instagram about what Guess jewelry or clothing they were rocking at the music festival. Like Guess, many brands choose to sponsor a music festival or concert, especially if the brand is just starting to get into experiential marketing.

Key Takeaways 

  1. Gen Z music taste is important to know because it can represent a deeper meaning behind Gen Z’s characteristics. Music says a lot about how Gen Zers think and interact with the world. 
  2. Gen Z listens to a variety of music. They have ‘bag’ playlists, a taste for global music, and like what’s currently trending on TikTok or songs that promote a relevant, powerful message regarding social issues.
  3. Brands can benefit from understanding Gen Z music consumption habits. They can incorporate popular songs in ads, partner with or sponsor music influencers, and sponsor music festivals or concerts (and celebrities who attend).
by riannicole

Hello! My name is Rian and I'm a recent graduate from Montclair State University. I am a marketer, writer, and aspiring motivational speaker. My favorite topics to write about revolve around mental health, relationships, social change, and professional development.


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