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Millennial Fans Vs. Gen Z Fans: What's The Difference? 🤔

Written by: Kiri Hassinger


We’ve been thinking about this for a while. What is the difference between Millennial and Gen Z fans? It can’t just be a pause (or lack thereof) at the beginning of a video. We’ve been trying to find a way to put this into words so that we can help everyone maximize their engagement and find the best fan community for themselves. Let’s take a deep dive and discuss the similarities and differences between Millennial fans and Gen Z fans. 🙋‍♀️


Let's start with something simple: How do different generations discover and consume music? According to this article, most Gen Z listeners are consuming their music on Spotify, while also utilizing Apple Music and YouTube, just not as much. Gen Z generally discovers music through audio clips via TikToks and Instagram Reels and, according to For The Record, they are more likely to follow an artist on social media after listening to their music. This plays a huge role in fan engagement and communities. Millennials share many discovery and streaming traits with Gen Z, with a few small differences. Though many Millennials still discover music through social media, they also utilize e-mail newsletters for their music recommendations. Because more of the Millennial generation is at the age where they dedicate a lot of time to their careers and family, Gen Z generally consumes more music. For The Record recorded that 18-24 year-olds listened to approximately 578 billion minutes of music in the first quarter of 2022, while 25-34 year-olds listened to approximately 562 billion minutes of music. 🎧


Gen Z is overall more “individualistic and creative” than Millennials (according to YMC) and one way that Gen Z expresses this creativity is through their music. 80% of Gen Z listeners on Spotify say that music “allows them to explore different sides of their personalities.” This access to exploration is something that many Gen Zs have had access to for their entire lives. Millennials may be labeled as “digital natives,” but Gen Z has never known the world before the internet. They have always been able to find whatever information they please at the touch of a finger. This also means that Gen Z has more of a recency bias than Millennials. Generally, Millennials enjoy listening to “throwback music” or music from their teenage years. Artists like Usher, Nelly, and Destiny’s Child were some of Billboard’s top artists back in the early 2000s. 📀


Though you may catch more Millennials listening to music that originally came out in the early 2000s than Gen Zs, you’ll definitely find plenty of early 2000s influences in recent pop music. Nostalgia is trending, and it appeals to both Millennials and Gen Z. According to For the Record, 68% of Gen Zs enjoy consuming media from previous decades because “it reminds them of when things were simpler.” Olivia Rodrigo has leaned heavily into alternative influences from the mid-2000s with her new album. Songs like “greedy” by Tate McRae and “Nice to meet you” by PinkPantheress featuring Central Cee have y2k influences in both their sound and the cinematography of their music videos. Speaking of music videos, Millennials were a generation that grew up with Disney Channel playing their stars’ music videos during commercial breaks. This might give them more of a reason to watch music videos vs. Gen Z. Engaging with the nostalgia trend is probably one of the best ways to reach both Gen Zs and Millennials!🤩


Remember when we said that Gen Z has the most experience with the internet? Though most of the reason that social media is formatted the way it is today is because of how Millennials originally engage with various platforms, Gen Zs are the rulers of social media. It’s ingrained in a lot of Gen Z's daily life, as most Gen Zs have had access to social media since their childhood. When scrolling through social media and various fan accounts, you’ll tend to find Gen Zs posting hundreds of videos and pictures of concerts, meet and greets, or fan meetups they may have attended. News also spreads super quickly through fandoms via social media. This can mean important current world events, or just inside jokes among fandoms. When it comes to more serious and possibly controversial topics, Gen Zs are more likely to support artists and companies that give back or support a certain cause. 🌍


Both generations have plenty of influence in the modern world in many aspects. Without the original trends of the early to mid-2000s caused by Millennials, Gen Z’s media consumption would be very different. And, without Millennial fans originally engaging with social media in the 2010s, Gen Z wouldn’t have the platforms they have today to engage and connect with their favorite artists and fellow fans! Are you a Millennial fan or a Gen Z fan? Let us know on our socials: Instagram, TikTok, and X! 💕


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