TikTok’s Quest for World Domination Even Has Spotify Worried

Spotify executives are concerned Gen Z isn't using its service enough

It's TikTok or nothing
It's TikTok or nothing

Add Spotify to the growing list of companies that can’t seem to grab Gen Z’s attention.

While the subscription-based audio service is still the most popular music streaming service in the world and continues to add tens of millions of customers each year, per Bloomberg, execs at Spotify say they’re concerned the youngest generation isn’t using its product enough.

“We could be doing better in that group,” Spotify co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek told the publication in November, noting that the paid listening service was created with millennial consumers in mind. Now, as that generation is hitting middle age, Spotify, along with myriad other internet platforms, is struggling to appeal to a new, younger generation of consumers.

“What’s easy to forget is that many of us are now 15 or 20 years old. We were built for millennials,” Ek said. “I’m not a Gen Zer, and it’s something I’m well aware of. I am trying to spend time with young folks pushing the company to go for Gen Z, and later on, Gen Alpha.”

As a Gen-Zer with a Spotify subscription, I can’t personally vouch for my generation’s indifference towards the service, but I’m also a “Zillennial” (people born between 1993 and 1998), so I’m sorta a geriatric Gen-Zer. Still, Spotify’s anxiety over user growth makes sense.

As Bloomberg points out, Gen Zers listen to fewer podcasts than older generations, but really, it’s the TikTok effect.

TikTok is not only the app Gen Z uses the most, but it’s the app seemingly everyone now uses the most. It recently surpassed Google (Google!) to become the most popular website of 2021. TikTok is also now the main driver of music trends. Take a look at today’s chart-topping songs and at least five owe it to going viral on TikTok. Which, should, in theory, be good for Spotify. Young people hear a song on TikTok and go search for it on the audio service. And that’s how Spotify viewed it, notes Bloomberg, until TikTok went on its quest for market domination:

“Spotify has long seen TikTok as a friend and a funnel. People hear a song on TikTok and then go to Spotify to listen to the whole thing. But TikTok is now more of a foe in a lot of emerging markets, places where Spotify needs to grow to keep Wall Street happy. TikTok has introduced its own music service Resso in Brazil, Indonesia and India, and it’s starting to get a following.”

Despite all of this though, Spotify believes its Gen Z problem could become an opportunity to make some changes. The service has already acquired pretty prominent social media influencers like Alex Cooper and Addison Rae, who host Spotify-exclusive podcasts. Gen Z is also the most engaged audience with the service’s year-end Spotify Wrapped. Still, the app is looking to roll out new tools to aid music listeners, along with testing a new destination on its main app that will show snippets of songs and podcasts set against a vertical video. Because everything is TikTok now.

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