Millennials Listen to 75% More Music Than Baby Boomers, Study Finds

Data keeps debunking myths about Millennials and their music.

Baby Boomers are famously self-important when it comes to the importance of their generation and the music it created.  But a new study shows that the 55+ demographic actually listens to substantially less music than their 16-34 cohorts.  In fact, Millennials — loosely defined as those born in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s — listen to 75.1% more music on a daily basis, according to data shared this morning with Digital Music News.

The study, jointly conducted by the Entertainment Retail Association (ERA) and the British Phonographic Industries (BPI), surveyed approximately 1,000 people to get a feel for their daily listening habits.  In one question, the group asked participants to estimate how many hours of music they listen to on an average day: 0-2 hours, 3-6 hours, or 7+ hours a day.  Here are the results…

Amazingly, a minority (47%) of 16-34s reported listening to fewer than 3 hours a day, with most self-reporting between 3-6 hours daily.  A sizable 7% reported listening to more than 7 hours daily, raising the possibility of a substantial group listening to more than 10, 12, or more hours daily.

All of that blows away the 55+ demographic, which showed 80 percent listening to between 0 and 2 hours daily.  Just 20 percent self-reported listening to more than 3 hours, with only 2 percent climbing past 7 hours daily.

In total, the Millennial survey group reported about 3.1 hours of music listening daily, with Boomers showing about 1.77 hours.  That means that Millennials are listening to 75.1% more music on any given day, according to the survey results.

The results aren’t so shocking: just walk the streets of any major urban area, and you’ll see a lot more younger people listening to music (on average).  It’s either white earbuds or Beats, but a very substantial percentage of 16-34s are listening to music non-stop during their commutes, workdays, workout routines, daily chores, and even conversations.

But this may go far beyond simple hours: according to an interesting chart analysis conducted last month, chart-topping hits are now lasting far longer than they did back in the 60s and 70s, a stat that suggests far greater emotional investment and attachment by younger listeners.  And, far less flighty, one-hit abandonment that characterized earlier generations.

Image by TheeErin, CC by ND 2.0.



9 Responses

  1. Faza (TCM)

    Given that younger people have always listened to more music than older people (especially when by “older” we mean people approaching retirement), I really fail to see how this finding is newsworthy.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Baby Boomers may well be right about the music their generation created. These days, young people are quite likely to be listening to their grandparents’ favourite artists. It’s a funny world like that.

  2. Mysteries

    People always think they’re better than the younger generations, they always have the irrational belief that their generation did everything better, so you know you’re old when you start to see people your age complain about “kids these days”. I was born in 1984 and growing up I would’ve listened to a lot of music, but in the “good” old days before the Internet I rarely had access to music outside radio. Today, whenever I can, I do little more than listen to music and try to discover as much music as I can.

  3. wittgenstein's cat

    This study’s preposition is saying nothing.

    So what. It is the quality that matters, not the quantity at any rate.

    The technology is there to make audio more accessible to anyone wherever you go and whatever you are doing.

    Now consider this: What is the quality of listening for people in this more distracted world now that fewer people actually sit down and listen to music in an isolated environment with dedicated audio players without those ear damaging headphones? Consider the quality and nature of audio for that matter–compressed files or better. And finally consider the cultural weight and value of the music being listened to–is it a cultural ritual or a modern existential aloofness.

    • Anonymous

      You act like the boomers were all listening to Hendrix, but they were more likely to be listening to Bread.

  4. Shocking!!!!


    Holy crap! Did someone just discover that young people, without full time jobs and families and responsibilities, actually listen to more music than older folks, who have all of those time constraints (even though those now-older people listened to more music back when they were 16-24 yrs old)?!?!?!?!

    Breakthrough research!!! Completely surprising result!!!

  5. Paul Lanning

    There’s lots of great new music today, on streaming services, live in clubs, and even occasionally on radio or TV. But oldsters cling to the dozen-or-so artists they’ve always held most dear, and let it go at that.

  6. Anonymous

    They won’t pay though, so they’re not getting any.

  7. Christopher Rush

    Once again, a ‘report’ slamming us old-timers.
    Wildly inaccurate, using generation as a metric of measure rather than age…YES, our generation listens to less music..
    And this generation will listen to ‘less’ music when they are our age.
    That is generally how it works out, and if they do listen to ‘more’, it’s because our generation didn’t have the ability to carry 50,000 songs in our shirt pockets.
    Click bait and shoddy reporting!

  8. Funkhead

    was born in the 50’s and I appreciate and listen to more music than ever before, especially jazz-funk