Gen Z Don’t Buy Media Anymore; They Just Rent

Read original story on: Wired

It’s been widely reported that when it comes to music, today’s teens tend to just stream it instead of buying on iTunes. The Wall Street Journal reported that digital music sales on iTunes, the world’s biggest music seller, had declined 13 percent to 14 percent since the start of the year. But what if their media consumption habit has spread to other media content as well?

During the last quarter, Amazon’s North American sales of media—books, music, movies, games—grew five percent of quarterly growth, the lowest year-over-year growth in North American media sales in over five years. If this is any indication, then it looks like younger generations are indeed choosing convenient access to media content over physical or digital ownership.

Ironically, this long-predicted shift in consumer priorities also seems to be perpetuated by the digital media sellers themselves. In the case of Amazon, textbook sales dipped sharply in part because Amazon makes textbook rentals so easy, similar to the way Amazon Prime Video discouraged DVD purchases. Similarly, Apple also has iTunes Radio for streaming music, not to mention the soon-to-integrated Beats music.

That being said, there might be a bit of over-generalization, as Gen Z evidently does still listen to MP3, paid for or not. Still, the trend towards a rental-based, on-demand economy has been a long time coming. And with the younger generations embracing such ways of media consumption, it’s time for companies built on the practice of purchasing media to reexamine basic assumptions.