Music tops leisure interests for millennials: study

Researchers at Repucom found Taylor Swift to be the most marketable artist for US millennials, with 96 percent familiar with the pop superstar (AFP Photo/Christopher Polk)

New York (AFP) - Music is the top leisure interest for the millennial generation, with the booming festival industry offering vast untapped opportunities for brands, a study said Thursday.

Repucom, which researches sports and entertainment markets, found that 86 percent of millennials said they were interested in music.

By comparison, 83 percent said the same about movies, 79 percent about television and 59 percent about sports.

The excitement level was also more intense, with half of music-inclined millennials "very interested" in it, higher than for other leisure pursuits.

"Music is clearly the most universal thing that people have a general interest in," said Mike Wragg, Repucom's executive vice president and head of global research.

The study surveyed a total of 3,000 people between ages 13 and 34 in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States.

The study said that music festivals -- whose number and size have grown rapidly in recent years -- offered unique potential for companies to connect with the hard-to-reach demographic.

"It's becoming harder and harder to communicate in other ways effectively with this audience," Wragg said.

"This audience is very focused on authenticity, very hyper-aware of anything which doesn't quite fit," he said.

The survey found that most US and German millennials learned about music events through friends and family.

Facebook was the most popular way for British and French millennials to hear about concerts, while television was the leading source in Japan.

Amid the rapid growth of festivals, Wragg said that corporate sponsorship of music events has become increasingly acceptable.

More festivals have seen sponsorship as a way to keep ticket prices down, despite past reluctance by many artists.

Todd Palmerton -- who is in charge of live music in North America for Red Bull, the energy drink that is especially active in sponsorship -- was quoted as saying in the report that few marketers "are thinking long-term" about reaching the vast demographic.

"Staying creative, relevant and credible are the biggest challenges -- people are on their smartphones more than ever, taking pictures, filming shows and sharing," he said.

Repucom ranked Taylor Swift as the most marketable artist for US millennials, with 96 percent familiar with the pop superstar.

She was followed by Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce.