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Spotify tries to solve its Gen Z podcasting problem

The news: Spotify’s newest “Culture Next” report provides insights into Gen Z’s listening habits and the audio giant’s efforts to get young users interested in its podcast investments.

Mental health aid: Spotify’s report focused heavily on its podcasting efforts, framed around their ability to help Gen Z consumers work through difficult parts of their lives.

  • 80% of Gen Z listeners told Spotify that audio “allows them to explore different sides of their personality.”
  • Mental health was the most popular podcast genre with Gen Z listeners, rising 54% year over year. Overall Gen Z podcast consumption increased 62%.
  • Podcasts have become an important source of information for young listeners, Spotify says. Fifty-five percent of Gen Z listeners said they tune into podcasts to answer difficult questions before discussing them with loved ones.

Podcasting challenges: Spotify has made it clear that podcasting is a core part of its future.

  • We forecast that podcasts will make up 20% of the company’s business by 2024.
  • The company had a major presence at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which featured talks with podcast personalities including “Batman Unburied” actors Winston Duke and Hasan Minhaj.
  • But one major pain point remains: Podcasts haven’t caught on with young listeners the way Spotify wants them to.
  • We forecast that 29.3 million Americans ages 25 to 34 will listen to podcasts in 2022, compared with just 19.9 million of those ages 18 to 24—the same demographic Spotify’s report focuses on.
  • That number is even lower among listeners ages 12 to 17, though Spotify is making an effort to reach them in new ways.

The big takeaway: Spotify is eager to get Gen Z listeners on board with its ambitious podcasting plans, and still has a way to go if it wants to convince advertisers of its effectiveness as a platform for reaching young audiences.

Keep reading: See our podcast listener and advertising forecasts in this report.