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Music Study: Age by far the most important factor influencing the consumption of music


According to a study conducted by Teosto and IFPI Finland, the list of most interesting newcomers in music varies a lot among different age groups, but all age groups hope for artists with character and individual style. The more people in Finland listen to music, the more likely it is that their top list contains cult artists that deviate from the mainstream.

To sum up, the results of the study indicate that mainstream in Finland means listening to (a Finnish artist) Eppu Normaali on your car radio, but if you glance at the rear-view mirror, you will see a middle-aged jogger listening to Finnish rap on Spotify right behind you.

According to the youngest group of respondents (16–24-year-olds), the most popular artists of all time are Eminem, Nightwish, Cheek and Antti Tuisku, but the younger generation also appreciates Pink Floyd, Queen, Linkin Park and Juha Tapio. 

The oldest group of respondents (55–65-year-olds) listed their favourites as Juice Leskinen, the Beatles and Hector, closely followed by Elvis, Eppu Normaali, Abba and Mozart.  People over 34 years old are much more interested in listening to Finnish music than foreign music, and younger pop artists such as Chisu, Cheek and Haloo Helsinki are also popular among them.

Younger Finns mostly use their phones and computers for listening to music and young adults use their car radio and phone, while those who have already passed middle age use their car radio and separate radio devices. The use of phone as a music device has continued to grow at an annual rate of nearly 10 per cent among all age groups compared to 2016.

Radio still reaches the largest audience, with YouTube as the second

Finns spend approximately 15 minutes daily concentrating on the music they listen to, and around one hour listening to music in the background while doing something else. The most common source of daily music is still the radio, which is used by nearly 80 per cent of the respondents for listening to music. YouTube is used as a daily music source by some 35 per cent of the respondents, streaming services by 33 per cent and as many as 25 per cent still listen to CDs. 

By most indicators, Finland represents the European average when it comes to using new devices for listening to music and sharing it: for example, Finland is slightly behind the top country, Sweden, but clearly ahead of the Baltic states. One in three Finns sends out music-related tips and links to their friends, and more than 50 per cent listen to the links their friends send them at least occasionally.

Music is a private matter for Finns

Finns use music to create privacy in public places: most music is listened to with personal devices and while on the move in some way or another: at the gym, 42% of the gymgoers listen to music on a device of their own, while 22% listen to music when they are spending time outdoors. 

Cars offer not just a means of transport, but also a tool for listening to music: as many as 90% of all people who had travelled by car during the past 24 hours had listened to music during the trip. The car is the land of the radio and a safe haven of CDs: in a car, 82% listen to music on the radio, 22% use a CD player and 15% listen to Spotify or a similar service.  One in four people traveling by bus or train usually use a personal device for listening to music at some time during the trip.

Pop most popular, closely followed by rock

Most Finns fluently change between listening to different genres of music. Finnish language pop still remains a favourite (69% of all respondents), with English language pop as the second most popular (62%). Next on the top list are rock in Finnish (60%) and English (58%) and adult pop (47%). Heavy metal and rap are listened to by 30% of the respondents, while other genres are enjoyed by smaller groups.

Good individual songs the most important criterion for listening  

Young people favour hip hop, rap, EDM and indie rock, while older age groups listen to adult pop and more traditional music from Latin to folk music alongside the pop and rock enjoyed by all.

In the 2010s, music fandom that used to be based on artists has drifted more towards song fandom: 77% of all respondents stated that the song is the most important criterion when selecting music to listen to. Only 13% of respondents considered the artist as the primary criterion for choosing music, while just 6% made their choices based on the album and 5% on the playlist. The importance of the playlist was higher among younger age groups, while the older age groups emphasised the artist.

A need for new artists with character

The importance of looking at artists to guide your listening might be on the rise after all: in the open interview questions of the study, all age groups stated that they would like to discover artists with a personal style. Among others, the wish list contained the following specifications:

“A personal style and some new flavour to the old stuff. Using new instruments and finding new styles.”

“Artists renewing their own genre who are also aware of tradition (those successfully mixing tradition and innovation); bold artists that go against the flow of the market forces.”

“Their music is timeless and they perform with a style of their own. I don’t like it when there are new artists who just copy whatever is fashionable at the time.”

Music Consumption in a Nutshell

The world of 20-year-olds

Students with low income. Listening devices: Phone, computer. Monitors tv programmes and music online on a daily basis. Uses streaming daily. Often listens to music while on the move, as well as on a weekly basis while spending time with friends. Uses Facebook, Instagram and YouTube on a daily basis. Often listens to music via phone while on the move.

The world of 40-year-olds
Employed with good income. Listening devices: Car player, phone, computer. Listens to music online almost daily. Occasional Spotify users. Listens to music at home, in the car and occasionally when on the move otherwise. Uses Facebook and YouTube on most days.

The world of 60-year-olds
Nearly one in three is retired. Listening devices: Radio device, car player, phone. Follows the media online, occasionally also listens to music. Knows Spotify by name. Mainly listens to music at home and in the car. Uses Facebook and YouTube on a weekly basis. Spends the least money on music.


In August 2017, Teosto and IFPI Finland commissioned a study that looked into how digital content is consumed in Finland. The study, conducted using a Norstat research panel, gathered responses from more than a thousand Finns aged 16 to 65 constituting a representative population sample.

More information:

Kari Tervonen
Business Analysis Director, CEO Helsinki
+358 50 4370677

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