Millennials, the huge cohort of young people born between 1980 and 2000, looks at music differently than previous generations. They’ve never known a world without broadband Internet and smartphones. Music has always been free (or close to it). Most of them have never set foot in a record store unless they’ve jumped into vinyl. And they care less about albums than other generations, preferring to go the a la carte choice and picking single songs.
They also have incredibly short attention spans when it comes to music. This is from Digital Music News:
“Millennials have short attention spans and constantly move on to the next new thing. When it comes to music, if a song is a month old, it’s ‘ancient,’ they don’t want to hear it anymore, they want something new and they want it now…”
This is a statement you’ll hear made by Gen Xers and Boomers, as well as Millennials who self-identify as “generation fluid,” not wanting to be defined by their demographics and wishing they “were born in a different generation.” Shit, I’ve probably said something similar to that statement. The fact of the matter is, this is a statement that’s been uttered about every generation when it comes to music, and the more startling fact is that it’s actually less true of this generation than any previous generation (actually, the more startling fact is that I’m about to defend Millennials).
To prove this, we’re going to use the Billboard Hot 100. Some may argue against this, but Billboard is THE trend tracker, adjusting their rules and weights over the years to best display what is being listened to/consumed the most. It’s a sales, airplay, and streaming chart all in one. And it tells us that in the 1970s and 1980s, there were far more hits than there were in 2015.