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The kids are alright: Gen Z embracing the analogue music experience, vinyl packaging company reveals


  • Survey conducted by Key Production reveals over half (59 per cent) of 18-24 year olds are listening to physical music - more than any other age group

  • CD purchases also recorded highest amongst youngest age range and Gen Z more willing to pay more for sustainable music

  • Saturday 20th April marks Record Store Day - the annual celebration of record stores and physical music


A recent survey exploring music listening and buying behaviour has revealed that the proportion of people listening to physical music is greatest amongst Generation Z (ages 18-24).

The research, conducted by Key Production, the UK’s leading bespoke packaging agency for vinyl, CD and cassettes, found that over half (59 per cent) of the 18-24 age group surveyed listen to either vinyl, CD or cassette at least once a week. Significantly, this was proportionally greater within this age range compared to the 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-65 age groups - which all reported between 40-45 per cent. Furthermore, when asked about purchasing physical music albums, the highest proportion of those buying CDs is within the 18-24 bracket (34 per cent) alongside the 45-54 age group (34 per cent) - which is perhaps more expected. 

This insight into the younger generations’ music consumption follows the annual reports from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Digital and Entertainment Retail Association (ERA) which revealed that physical music sales continue to grow in the UK - with vinyl sales increasing for a 16th consecutive year and CDs reporting its best year in 20 years.

Ahead of Record Store Day this Saturday, the annual celebration of record stores and physical music across the UK, this latest research supports the ongoing trend of physical music popularity - but shows that it’s not just older generations listening to and buying physical music.

Karen Emanuel, CEO of Key Production said: “It’s hugely promising to see younger generations listening to physical music. We know vinyl and CDs are popular again but it’s encouraging that it’s not the generations who grew up with them! From the warmer audio quality, to the beautiful artwork and holding a physical record in your hands - buying physical music formats just can’t be matched and it makes me happy that younger people recognise this too and are embracing the analogue music experience.”

What’s more - the survey found that between all the age ranges, 18-24 year olds are more willing to pay a small premium on buying vinyl LPs if the records were to be produced with a proven reduced impact on the planet (71 per cent). The willingness to pay a premium on more sustainable products among the older age groups was also considerable, however to a lesser degree (25-34 year olds - 54 per cent / 35-44 & 45-54 year olds - 45 per cent / 55-65 year olds - 41 per cent).

This finding comes ahead of Earth Day on Monday and during a time when the environmental impact of vinyl production is being discussed across the music industry - with singer Billie Eilish recently questioning the music industry’s attitudes towards producing multiple varieties of vinyl releases and announcing an eco-friendly album plan.

Seeing that younger music consumers are more willing to pay a bit more for environmentally friendly music is really significant”, Karen Emanuel continues. “There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the environmental footprint of vinyl production. As a B Corp, we know records can be produced more sustainably and most importantly now we know younger listeners are willing to support this.”

Key Production is a Certified B Corp and works with music industry bodies ensuring the best practices for sustainability within physical music production are met throughout the whole supply chain. Founded in 1990, the London-based company is best known for its work with artists such as Nick Cave, Alt-J, IDLES, Little Simz, Ezra Collective, PJ Harvey and Raye on her Brit Award winning album - amongst many more.


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