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As Gen Z Matures, Country Music Moves Into a New Age With Huge Potential

Tell 13-year-old Warner Music Nashville signee Tegan Marie that teens in another era might have been laughed at by classmates for listening to country music, and the reaction is one of complete disbelief.

“Really?” she scoffs.

“It’s a very family-friendly genre, and a lot of my friends love country music,” she adds. “They want to hear good music and listen to it with their parents, and have a good time with it.”

Marie is a card-carrying member of Generation Z, a block of adult-bound consumers that marketers are increasingly targeting. The age group is important for country music’s future — today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults, and though country has its roots in adult audiences, it seems more palatable to younger music fans every year.

“You go to a Kelsea Ballerini show and look at the -audience, there’s a younger audience than ever,” says Disney Channels Worldwide vp music strategy Phil Guerini, who oversees youth-driven Radio Disney Country and its terrestrial outlet, KDRC Los Angeles. “There’s daughters and their moms, and the same can be said — only maybe slightly older — at a Florida Georgia Line show. I went to a Sam Hunt show a few weeks ago, and if I didn’t know that Sam Hunt was a country music artist, it could have been a Shawn Mendes show. It could have been any number of things.”

That development is partially a result of a long-term effort by the country music industry to reach younger consumers. Alabama in the ’80s and Garth Brooks in the ’90s were among the artists who increased the genre’s success among college students. Taylor Swift made the music even more youthful by reaching teenage girls in large numbers during the late 2000s.

Younger consumers are an attractive segment. They have fewer responsibilities and thus tend to spend a larger percentage of

Article source: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/country/7964575/generation-z-country-music-future-tegan-marie-emisunshine

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