Music acts inspiring the young today

Which popular music acts today might be best placed to retain their popularity across future years?
21 January 2019
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With Irish pop group Boyzone embarking this month on their farewell tour after 25 years together, it brings to a close a period of remarkable longevity for the group in an industry well known for the short shelf life of many of its acts.

Boyzone have managed to continue to appeal to consumers as their original fan base has aged, which has been key to their enduring commercial success.

Which popular music acts today might be best placed to retain their popularity across future years? Latest findings from our Youth TGI consumer data, which examines the behaviour of young people, and gauges the popularity of around 30 popular music acts, reveal how some acts enjoy success across the age ranges of the young, whilst others see popularity amongst a narrower tranche of children and teenagers.

Ed Sheeran popular across the age ranges

Ed Sheeran is a good example of an act whose popularity is especially high amongst all three of our Youth TGI age splits: 7-10 year olds, 11-14s and 15-19s. A remarkably consistent proportion of 45-48% of young people across each of these three age ranges claim to like him a lot.

Little Mix see growing popularity the younger the age band

Certain other prominent acts see greater variation in popularity. Amongst 7-10 year olds Little Mix rival Ed Sheeran in popularity, with 44% liking them a lot. However, amongst 11-14 year olds their popularity slips a little and acts such as Ariana Grande and Bruno Mars are relatively more popular, though nevertheless 30% of this age group claim to be avid fans of Little Mix.

Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande consistently popular

Amongst 15-19 year olds, the likes of Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande continue to retain their popularity (29% and 26% respectively like them a lot) relative to other music acts, though Little Mix find themselves well liked by only 19% of this age group. On the other hand, our Youth TGI consumer data reveals acts such as Drake are particularly popular with 15-19 year olds, whereas he appears way down the list of the most popular music acts for 7-10 year olds.

From a commercial perspective, it is crucial for brands seeking to engage young people to understand such intricacies – a seemingly insignificant adjustment targeting by age for example can mean a complete change of approach and tone is required to engage the target effectively.

Some singing TV programmes are particularly popular with the young

Children can be very engaged with music beyond simply listening to their favourite artists. For example, ‘The Voice’ is a very popular programme amongst the young, with 18% of 7-10 year olds claiming they ‘like it a lot’, along with 19% of 11-14 year olds. That is significantly more than the 12% of adults who claim they ‘specially choose to watch it’.

Data from our Kantar Social TV Ratings shows that when the first episode of series 3 of ‘The Voice’ launched in early January this year, it saw almost 21,000 tweets (by people of all ages) generated on the day of the first episode, the majority of which were explicitly positive in tone and indeed 44% showed clear admiration for the show.

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