Going viral is Gen Z’s ultimate career ambition, claims Mastercard report
The majority of Generation Z would rather go viral across the internet than perform a sell-out show at Wembley, according to new research by Mastercard.
The research reveals what success looks like for the future of our creative industries, and it’s clear social media has ushered in huge changes:
Young people (aged 16-24) see social media as their best route to success; forty per cent (40%) of those asked believe going viral is key, compared to traditional routes such as gigging in a pub (11%) or winning a talent show (15%).
When speaking to people currently working in the creative industry specifically, four out of five (83%) listed going viral on social media as a personal career goal, showcasing just how important platforms like TikTok, Snap Chat and Instagram have become.
Indeed, 65% of people would rather go viral than sell out a show at Wembley Stadium. Almost half (49%) of those who work in the creative industry say having their own work go viral would be the ultimate career success.
Gen Z lead the way in seeing the benefit of social media, with a third believing success is reaching one million streams on a music streaming platform (33%), followed closely by going viral on social media (30%). Whereas 41% of people aged 40-55, Gen X, take a more traditional view that making it into the top 40 is the ultimate career milestone.
Discovering music via social media
Viral TikToks and Instagram reels seem to be taking over the way listeners and artists discover and connect to each other, with nearly half (45%) revealing it’s important to them to see their favourite artist ‘active’ on social media.
TikTok, initially launched in 2016, now has over 30.8 million daily users, with the average user opening the platform 19 times a day with young people aged 10-19 its leading audience (25%).
The research also showed nearly two-fifths (37%) of Brits are discovering new music through social media (highest amongst Gen Z at 40%) compared to 17% of Brits who choose to go to live music gigs. Over half (56%) of people aged 16-24 would rather take a music recommendation from social media compared to 16% of people aged 55+.
As we continue to see the effect social media has on individuals, especially those of the younger generation, it is no surprise that people are wanting to understand more. Nearly half (47%) of Brits surveyed thought schools should start teaching people how to use these platforms to optimise their careers.
Social media is currently shaping the way music is discovered, downloaded and digested by listeners but this research also shows where music might be going next; the Metaverse. Artists like Lil Nas, Charlie XCX and the Foo Fighters have already hosted virtual gigs.
Nearly half of Brits (43%) know the metaverse is used for gigs and almost a quarter (23%) of people aged 16-24 have already attended a metaverse gig. Eight percent of all Brits asked revealed they have watched a performance of their favourite artist on the platform in the last year. With people over 55 the most likely to have never interacted with the metaverse (65%).
Social Media in education
In the run-up to the recent BRIT Awards Mastercard asked students from a variety of disciplines at The BRIT School, including music, art, and dance, for their thoughts on what success looks like and the skills required for their future careers.
Nearly half (47%) of students revealed that they had showcased their work on social media to be able to kick-start their careers. With a further one-third (29%) using social media itself to learn how to promote, share and reach new audiences with their work.
As reflected by the other research, nearly half of all students (47%) believe that going viral on social media can seriously propel you forward in your career.