Music transcends age, but how it’s experienced and valued can vary significantly across generations. As the dating app for music lovers, we see firsthand the nuances in the ways music connects our users. A recent Vinylly user survey provides intriguing insights into how Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers view music in the context of relationships and social experiences. For reference:
- The Baby Boomer Generation were born 1946-1964.
- Generation X were born 1965-1979.
- Millennials were born 1980-1994.
- Generation Z were born 1995-2012.
This blog post delves into these generational differences and offers a glimpse into the overall population’s music preferences.
Spotify Wrapped: Not so accurate for all Everyone is talking about it, sharing it, and rethinking which city they should be living in (see our question about relocation below; who else is moving to Boulder?). While 72% of Millennials find Spotify’s recommendations on point, only half of Baby Boomers and Gen Z agree. Plus, Gen X feels especially misunderstood by their Spotify Wrapped at only 33% accuracy, suggesting a digital divide in the way this generations use Spotify. We tend to believe Spotify’s algorithm is spot on to the music these generations stream on their platform, but for older generations, Spotify isn’t always a go-to. Gen X rank the highest in radio and podcast listenership over other generations. And Spotify is likely a smaller piece of the puzzle for Gen Z who use multiple music service providers including YouTube and TikTok, and also let friends share their Spotify account.
Geographical Barriers and Music Compatibility Interestingly, only 17% of Baby Boomers and 22% of Millennials would consider relocation for a music-matched partner, contrasting with a more eager 44% of Gen X and 40% Gen Z. You gotta love the romance of the Gen Xers and Gen Zers, letting music lead them to love, no matter where it is. (These generations are the ones you want with you at a music festival when headliners overlap and stages are spread far apart; who’s ready for a hike?).
Road Trip DJ Preferences: A Harmony of Control and Trust Baby Boomers have some conditions they’d like you to know about when it comes to music on car rides. Rather than being open to a partner DJing, Baby Boomers want the most control over the playlist with veto power or shared time. Meanwhile, Gen X and Millennials seem to be more laid back and may opt to lean into music discovery on a road trip. Gen Z, while not as suss as Baby Boomers still favor shared control. But maybe for good reason; Gen Z know what they’re doing when it comes to music curation. See our blog article about Gen Z’s underestimated value for authenticity in music and dating.
Concert Behaviors: From Sober Tunes to Buzzed Beats The majority of Baby Boomers (83%) and Gen X (61%) choose sobriety at concerts, valuing clear memories over buzzed experiences, a sentiment less prevalent in 39% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Z. Millennials were also the least likely to be mostly sober. This is a judgement-free zone and always nice to know which generation will gladly grab you a beer or vice versa, save your spot in the crowd.
Tech at Concerts: A Generational Split Screen Most Gen Z (50%) are comfortable with their concert companion being on the phone, indicating a generational shift towards digital integration at live events, unlike the 67% of Baby Boomers who prefer undistracted company. Not entirely shocking except that Millennials were most closely aligned with Baby Boomers here. If you’re following, that’s consumption > phone use for Millennials.
Looks vs. Lyrics: What’s Your Dealbreaker? A significant 83% of Baby Boomers and Millennials, and a notable 80% of Gen Z, would prioritize music compatibility over looks, whereas Gen X shows a slight tilt towards aesthetics. We may be a little biased, but we found it pretty metal that all of our users across all generations have their priorities straight.
All data tabulated from survey of Vinylly’s users, December 2023.