Millennials and Music Go Together Like Peas in a Pod

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Millennials are currently the second largest age demographic in the country. With a grand total of 77 million members, and a spending power of $1.3 trillion, there is no question why advertisers desperately want to reach this massive audience. Also take their current rate of entry into the workforce into consideration, which will likely cause an increase in annual spending over the next few decades. This generation experienced Napster, the rise of digital music downloads, the slow downfall of compact discs, the creation of the revolutionary iPod music players and the iTunes music store, satellite radio, Internet radio, and increased download and upload speeds.

What does this mean for advertisers?
To put it simply, music is important to millennials. It has been an important aspect of millennial culture ever since their first experience with mix tapes of Savage Garden, TLC, and MC Hammer. Music is often seen as a connection between human beings and emotions, and with good reason. The tempo and genre of music can place us in specific moods. Look at Apple, and their infamous iPod Nano commercial, which aired in 2007, featuring the song “1 2 3 4” by Feist. The song, which was written by an unknown artist at the time, helped Apple look like the underdog in the music player competition and propel Feist into stardome.

Why does music have such an impact on people? Because the tone, genre, and even the reputation of a song or musician are taken into consideration when we are evaluating an experience involving music. Feist was an underground artist, with a unique style of music. Her style and underground persona helped Apple through association.

Music has a strong history of social change association. Many surveys have shown that millennials are socially charged; meaning their actions, thoughts, beliefs, and values are focused around social action and responsibility. Look at U2, the popular rock band, and Bank of America. Two completely separate entities who combined music and business to reach the millennial generation using the “(RED) campaign.” This campaign focused around the eradication of AIDs, which, as we all know, has killed millions of people around the world. Users on Facebook and other social media platforms were offered a free song by U2 when visiting Bank of America’s social media pages. Bank of America’s (RED) campaign posts received thousands of likes, shares, and comments from users.

A study by Momentum shows that over 60% of people who experience a brand live are likely to recommend the brand to others, and over 50% of those who experience it live are likely to make a brand purchase. This is why events like the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Nevada and Coachella in Indio, California have become increasingly important to marketers over the past few years. These events sell tickets for hundreds of dollars, which millennials are eagerly willing to spend to experience live music, alcohol, costumes, food, camping, and a social atmosphere. These events last for multiple days, and offer marketers the opportunity to reach audiences in a more receptive state.  Millennials also value experiences over commodities, allowing brands to benefit from sponsoring these events.

We have now entered the 14th year in the new millennium. Multiple technological devices, which we thought of as cool and new a few years ago, have now become glorified paperweights. Including older smartphones, which are glorified paperweights with cracked screens. Internet radio is on the rise, offering free music and a more narrowed mix of music, specially fitted for the listener. However, because of the ease of downloading from these platforms, they are still ranked lower than traditional radio in ways to hear about music. This may seem odd at first, but remember, internet radio applications and websites generally allow you to select playlists similar to songs, bands, and albums, which prevents listeners from absorbing a broader range of music. Now take this information, and translate it for marketers, who need active and receptive audiences. Listeners are more likely to notice a brand, and take action, when they can’t switch the station and hear the same exact music, as they can with internet radio.

Marketing is constantly changing. Fads and trends offer short term benefits to marketers, but must be constantly changed because of how rapidly they become redundant. However, music shows no signs of ever fading away.

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