Video Games, Vinyls, Charts, and Live Music - How Are Gen Z Finding Their Music in 2021?

Miles Opton

Gen Z is clearly a driving force in the music industry today. TikTok and its plethora of viral artists can prove that single-handedly. But how is Gen Z finding music other than on social media? Well, through video games of course. According to a two week survey conducted by MRC Data, 28% of Gen Z music listeners use video games to discover new music. 

This may sound surprising, but the gaming industry has become increasingly close with the music industry in recent years. This year alone, monumental changes were made by Fortnite, hosting massive in-game concerts with both Travis Scott and Marshmello. Travis secured around 50 million viewers, and Marshmello 11 million. Soon after these stats arose, in July, Sony and Roblox announced a partnership with Fortnite to bring more Sony artists on to the game. Roblox also drew 36 million viewers to their Lil Nas X live-streamed concert earlier this year.

The MRC survey also concluded that Gen Z has a growing interest in purchasing vinyl records, recording that 15% said they had bought a vinyl in the last 12 months, 4% higher than millennials recorded. This statistic proved that Gen Z are more likely to buy vinyls than the average music listener. This is further backed up by the extremely high vinyl sales for artists like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Halsey and Olivia Rodrigo. 

Another notable statistic: 16% of Gen Z and millennial music listeners choose their method of listening with a goal to get their favorite artists to the top of the charts. This stat comes at a time close to when ultra-fans of the K-Pop superstars, BTS, were caught for chart manipulation. It’s clear that young listeners may feel as if they’re personally invested in their artists career in these instances. 

This applies to streaming platforms, which is the most popular music consumption tool. To break it down, 62% of participants surveyed said they streamed music videos online on a monthly basis and 61% said they used audio streaming services. 51% of listeners said they find new music through audio and video streaming platforms. TikTok on its own was responsible for 49% of surveyed respondents' music discovery as well. A surprisingly high percentage, but one that shows us the power short-form videos and social media poses for the generation of music listeners.

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