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Gen Z’s Summer Music Vibe: Sad

(Bloomberg) -- Gen Z is searching for sad music on Spotify Technology SA more than any other generation, leading the streaming platform to dub the past few months a “bummer summer” for the youth.

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“Sad” is Gen Z’s most-searched term on Spotify globally, the audio service said in a blog post Monday. In comparison, it’s the 13th most-searched term for Millenials. “To match the vibe in the US and Canada,” Spotify said it’s added new “sad” playlists and even installed a fountain of tears shaped like the artist d4vd in Houston, Texas.

The rise in Gen Z’s searches for sad music comes as the younger generation’s mental health is increasingly seen as at crisis levels. Nearly all indicators of poor mental health among high schoolers increased from 2011 to 2021, according to a Center for Disease Control youth risk behavior report, while a McKinsey & Co. Inc. survey found Gen Z had the “least positive” life outlook.

The desire for sad music also contrasts the upbeat tone of the summer’s biggest concert tours — Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. The pop stars brought millions in tax revenues to cities across North America, and Swift’s tour looks set to gross more than $1 billion.

Younger listeners are seeking music that helps “normalize their feelings and humanity,” Spotify said in its blog post, adding that the new playlists include “moody” and “soul-filling” songs, and aren’t exclusively “sad.”

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