Post-Millennials – Changes in Music Consumption & Community

Editorial that appeared on Music Think Tank (MTT)

In 2012, we at Gracie Management created a model to predict high music consumption among Millennials and what drives music consumption, which led to great conversation. Since then, we have conducted new research and analysis, this time among the next generation – The Pluralist Generation (Plurals). The Plurals, as coined by Magid Generational Strategies, are those born beginning in 1997 and defined as least likely to believe in the American Dream, affected blended gender roles, last generation with a Caucasian majority, etc.

You can read the Gracie Management full report on the influence of music-based communities on Plurals’ music consumption habits – click here. For a quick take, here are the core findings and implications:


  • Plurals place less importance on having communities formed around artists/bands, which has an impact on how and if they consume music.

- While music is a passion point as it has been for previous generations, it is less so for Plurals. There is softening in their connection with music, including 10% stating they have little to no passion for music.

- Only 25% of Plurals state it is “very important” to form communities around artists/bands they like.

  • Stronger communities (e.g. fans clubs, online non-platform communities) among fans, and with artists, leads to higher music consumption of artists/music.

- Regression analysis points to it being the #1 driver from the study that impacts high music consumption, followed by other non-listening music activities.

  • 51% of Plurals can be classified as having high music consumption.

- Females are more likely to have high music consumption (56%) among Plurals, further confirming previous research findings that around 18 years-old a flip occurs, and males become more likely to have high music consumption.

  • Geography Matters – Plurals living in the South and Midwest are much more likely to have high music consumption than those living in the Northeast and West.

- 55% of Plurals in the South have high music consumption, as do 53% of Plurals in the Midwest.

  • Differences in community attributes – for Plurals, it is more about the “I” and for Millennials it is more about the “we”:

- 90% of Plurals who believe in the importance of community around an artist/band agree “Being a member of this community makes me feel good”

- 82% of Millennials agree “Members of this community have shared important events together, such as meet-ups in-person, online hangouts, forum discussions, etc.”


  • Artists and labels need to pay more attention to building communities and not simply creating pages on channel platforms. Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter et al are platforms, but they do not on their own foster the type of community that leads to deeper connections among fans, which then leads to a higher likelihood of them having high music consumption. This issue seems to be the biggest driver in the difference in relationship between fans and artists these days.
  • Instead of just a channel strategy, artists and labels need to start implementing messaging strategies on these channels that combine a) overall brand personality of the artists, b) needs and expectations of fans of the artists and c) focus on fostering connections among the fans making them have experiences which lead back positively to the artist at the center.  The main focus should not be on the artist.
  • Artists and labels need to pay more attention to engaging with younger fans in the South and Midwest as they are more likely to have high music consumption, so this should have an impact on decisions about touring, geographic placement of messaging, where to hold events, etc. The South and Midwest are more than just stopping in Atlanta and Chicago.
  • While certain music styles may never become the dominant force of popular music (ska, Latin, reggae, etc.), there is much that artists looking to enter the mainstream can learn from these genres when it comes to planning a community and maintaining one without the support of the most prestigious blogs, music magazines et al.


Thank you for reading,


Founder and CEO, Gracie Management