Password-protected websites and a return of EPs: gen Z culture predictions for 2023
Want to find gen Z at their true passion points? For The Drum's Predictions Deep Dive, gen Z marketing agency Seed shares predicted trends for 2023 in the realms of music, fashion, and sport.
Will 2023 see the decline of the LP? / Karthikeya GS via Unsplash
2022 was a transitional year for most, as we ventured out of lockdown and established (another) new normal. Music tastes evolved, shopping habits changed and, with the help of the Euros, we grew an affinity for women's football. Below, gen Z minds at Seed share their thoughts on what’s to come in 2023.
Brands using password-protected websites
Alex Diprose, campaigns assistant
Corteiz, Unknown, Drama Call, and GCLO are all leading the way with password-protected websites. The benefits resemble the creation of a cult-following of a brand: an air of exclusivity, which young people feed off.
These websites keep brands on their toes and build up hype, turning what is commonly a transactional relationship into one with more depth and meaning. These relationships are what young people are seeking, especially after Covid19, giving the feeling of being part of a community.
This allows brands to orchestrate more outlandish, fun, and creative ways to interact and engage with consumers in real life. For example, fashion brand Corteiz only allows customers to pay for their 99p cargos in exact change. Hype around these drops shows that consumers are embracing and feeding off them.
If well-established brands copied this style of customer engagement carried out by these brands, it might be called out as transparent copying. However, what brands can learn is that they should be giving unapologetically to their customer community and wider society. Brands need to be cool, different, always evolving and have a genuine commitment to social causes.
Drill is out; South African house music is in
Mutsa Chimera, campaigns assistant
Targeted toward the Black African community (although its beauty is that the beat can captivate all, no matter your age or ethnicity), South African house music is the genre to watch out for in 2023. You will be hearing a lot from artists like Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings), Felo Le Tee, Busta 929 and Major League DJz, to name a few.
During lockdown, there was a massive buzz surrounding Major League DJz and their Balcony Mix videos. They broadcast their sets via YouTube with many of their 1-hour sets amassing over 1m views and rising.
In 2020, people began to discover amapiano music, discovering new artists and sounds. The sound soon spread to TikTok where many were sharing and recreating dance moves, creating more hype. These moves became adopted by influential TikTok dancers who would use the moves (including Dakine, Umlando and Vosho) in their choreography.
We’re seeing the amapiano sound merge within the afrobeat space: Wizkid, Davido and Burnaboy, the 'GOATs' of afrobeats, have all collaborated with Amapiano producers and DJs over the last two years on songs which have amassed hundreds of thousands of streams and merged the Western African and Southern African sounds.
Seasoned artists turn to EPs
Shorayi Mauluka, account executive
Albums are not completely dead, but in 2023 there will be an uplift in seasoned artists focusing on EPs. Due to their shorter nature, EPs are easier to make than albums, less time-consuming and more cost-effective. Artists will feel less pressure to release fully-fledged albums, especially after observing the number of popular singles upcoming artists are releasing (think Pink Pantheress and Jim Legaxcy).
Previously, artists would release EPs between albums at the beginning of their careers to build momentum. EPs will increasingly be pushed out by established artists, as with the mixtapes we’ve seen from Skepta, Drake and Central Cee.
Gen Z will only be looking for structured albums from their favorite artists that have had time to establish their sound. Albums will remain a better way of gauging an artist’s ability to put together a body of work, but EPs bring less pressure to adhere to a consistent narrative.
The rise of women’s football
Lucy Trott, campaigns assistant
2022 has been a monumental year for women’s football. The rise of representation in mainstream media has been a huge help toward changing social attitudes. The Euros being shown on national television meant huge exposure for the sport and players, with a 16,000% increase in searches for players like captain Leah Williamson.
We’ve seen a massive increase in demand to see the Lionesses play. There has also been integration between the men’s and women’s games, with ex-Arsenal player Alex Scott appearing as a presenter for the men's World Cup. This is significant in combating the notion that women are clueless about the sport.
People are starting to develop fan culture for players and clubs alike. Arsenal’s women’s team are seeing increases in attendance at their games, with this season having the highest attendance of any Women’s Super League (WSL) season. This will continue to grow as Sky Sports and the BBC have entered a $24m broadcasting deal with the WSL. On the back of England winning the Euros, this year we'll see women's football use this piqued interest to sustain an audience and fight for the success of the sport.
For more takes on the year ahead, by and about marketing agencies, check out our Agencies Predictions hub.
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