According to the report, 74% of Zs in the UAE believe that their listening habits tell a story about who they are.
Spotify has released the UAE edition of its annual global culture and trends report, “Culture Next,” exploring the role of digital audio in the lives of Gen Zs and millennials.
Gen-Zs in the UAE are more likely than millennials to follow a music creator on social media after listening to them (53% vs 45%), according to the UAE edition of Culture Next, Spotify Advertising’s annual global trend report.
In its fourth volume, Spotify dives deeper into Gen-Z as tastemakers, fans, and individuals navigating and defining their place in the world through audio.
Globally, Zs are ready to make the world a better place. 69% of Zs characterise their generation as change-makers rather than status quo, and their collective soundtrack reveals the energy they harness as they look towards the future.
The research shows that Zs are more likely than millennials to describe their generation as “stressed out” and more likely to agree that “my generation is under too much pressure to fix the world’s issues”. Around 80% said audio allows them to explore different sides of their personality, while more than a third said the podcasts they choose to stream are the ones that help them feel a range of emotions, from joy to sadness.
According to the study, Gen-Zs are revolutionising the creator-fan relationship, turning it from a one-way broadcast into a two-way exchange. The connection between creators and fans is becoming more open and intimate as Gen-Zs’ thoughts and feelings are given a voice by musicians and podcasters. Even for smaller emerging creators, Zs are forming online communities where they can gather and encourage each other to chase down every piece of information they can find about their favourite artists, creating stan culture. Many Z creators are using the digital worlds they built or their fans to foster tight-knit fan bases with more profound, meaningful connections. 53% of Zs in the UAE said they joined a digital community, such as discord, for fans of a particular creator.
While previous generations of teens often aimed to fit in, Gen-Zs aspire to stand out and constantly find new ways to express their individuality. Audio helps them explore and discover the most niche sides of themselves, tap into identities they never knew they had, and even create new ones, the report stated.
73% of Zs in the UAE said audio allows them to explore the outer edges of culture that they would not otherwise experience. Audio takes them to the outer edges of themselves: 80% said audio allows them to explore different sides of their personalities.
Zs also turn to audio to soundtrack their lives, with 78% of Zs in the UAE listening to music from movies or shows; they like to feel like they are a character in the story.
This generation’s creators also use audio to bring alter egos into the mainstream. For instance, 63% of Zs in the UAE said they like when audio creators take on different personas or characters.
Gen-Zs are turning to podcasts as a safe space to work through life’s most complex issues. Especially among 18- to 24-year-olds, who are on their way into adulthood, podcasts go beyond sheer entertainment and serve as spaces for knowledge, learning, and even catharsis. 59% of 18- to 24-year-olds in the UAE said they turn to podcasts to get answers to hard or personal questions before talking to their families about it, and 66% of the same group said they listen to podcasts to inform the conversations they have with their friends. According to 68% of Zs in the UAE, audio helps them understand themselves better.
71% of Zs in UAE said they like listening to and watching media from earlier decades because it reminds them of when things were simpler. Among Zs, the past is all fuel for the future — and that is true for more than music. 75% of Zs in the UAE like it when brands bring back old aesthetic styles, and 72% love it when brands produce retro products or content.
Audio enables Zs to curate the stories they want to share about themselves more than any other medium. 82% of Zs in the UAE said they had learned something about themselves by looking back on their listening habits, and 74% of Zs in the UAE believe that their listening habits tell a story about who they are. In addition, Zs are experts in structuring and communicating their individual stories through playlists.