Generational Music Purchasing decision making creating(fen wang 16615811)


For a strategic marketing plan, the most vital points are to segment the market and determine interesting target groups. (Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders and Wong 2003). Realizing the distinctive target group would be a large help for planning the market. Subculture is defined as "a distinct cultural group that exists as an identifiable segment of a larger, more complex society."(Schiffman and Kanuk, 2009)According to Schiffman and Kanuk, the same subculture age group who were born in the same ear would share the unique beliefs, values, and traditions and also the central or core cultural themes. According to the cohort theory, the same socio-economic climate will foster similar consumer behavior for the same generation. (Valkeneers and Vanhoomissen, 2012)People from different generations have different experiences, desires and expectations, values which influence their purchasing behaviors. (Anderson, 2014). Across cohorts, different values, attitudes, and lifestyles that have experienced the highest rates of economic growth (Abramson and Inglehart 1995). All these elements would influence how the consumers make their decisions.

How Different Generations Get Music

Decision-making Model

The process of consumer decision making can be divided into three stages: the input stage, the process stage, and the output stage. (Mothersbaugh et al., 2016). The age subculture theory defines people into different age groups who share the same values and lifestyles due to the same social environment they are living in, which leads to different decision making patterns for the information selections and also the ways they access the products.Applying this model to the music buying, the consumer behaviors influenced by the age subculture which leading different values and lifestyles for the distinctive groups. The different self-concept and lifestyle create different needs and desires for their decision-making process. (Mothersbaugh et al., 2016)

An overview of the millennials and their previous generations

The Figure above demonstrates the generational arrangement of the U.S. populace and the extent of every era. Every era is an unmistakable subculture and market portion since its individuals have one of a kind needs and buy designs. (Schiffman and Wisenblit, n.d.) the table below describes the specific information of each generation according to the date of birth, a number of individuals, and age as of2009. (Williamas et al.) n.d

Millenials is also referred as generation Y as the table above shows who are a group of people born after 1994. They are also known as echo boomers, why generation, net generation, gen wired, next generation or texters. They are self-retained and independent with a solid feeling of freedom and independence. They are self-assured, sincerely and mentally expressive, and address everything.the grew up in a fast-paced change period when the computers in the home and schools. (Williamas et al., n.d.)

The millennial generation's previous generations including commonly called baby boomers, generation X, generation Y, pre-depression and depression, which were born in the different time and different from one anther. (Williamas et al., n.d.)

Lifestyles and Values behind the Generational Music Buying

Lifestyles are defined psychographics in marketing including views, interests and activate. The consumer buying patterns, consuming opinions, and social issues, leisure activities. (Williamas et al., n.d.)Internet technology has been a cultural marker recently and contributes to shaping generational differences. (see Hargittai & Hinnant, 2008; Korupp & Szydlik, 2005; McMillan & Morrison, 2006). (Sintas, 2011) Millennials were born in the internet age. They are the newest generation and they are self-controlled, planned, structured. High- tech is their daily custom and they are exposed to multiple information sources which are from all sides.In the US, this group of people spends one forth their time on multiple media. They are influenced by the virtual friends, the power coming with the new technology.

And the baby boomers are heavily influenced by TV, rock and roll, the Beatles, and the first computers. They valued themselves over teamwork, they valued individualization, self-expressionand be here now. (Williamas et al., n.d.) while generation x were the pioneers for the video games and they have an experience of increasing influence of personal computers. (Williamas et al., n.d.)

Having different social and lifestyle would lead people to the different groups of music tastes. (Bourdieu, 1984; López-Sintas &Katz-Gerro, 2005; López-Sintas et al., 2008; North & Hargreaves, 2007; etc.) (Sintas, 2011) Different generations may seek different gratifications in different media programs.(Dou, Wang and Zhou, 2006)The relationship between musical preferences and a specific age group is explained by the formation of music tastes. Burns (1996). the music consumption can be divided into:” the physical format basically cd albums but also to the digital format either the complete content of the CD or selected songs only, purchased from the internet, free downloads.” (Sintas, 2011) And the access for people to get music is varied from generation to generation.

The millennials are different for the boomers who are identifying deeply with rock and roll, they have a wider range of music to listen. metal rock, R&B, HIP-HOP and country, the favorite for them are Beyonce, Eminem, Tim McGraw, and Kanye. (Christian,2011) This generation downloads music through digital access.(Moore, 2012) They want music and want it instantly and they usually get thousands of songs in their maps or iPods or their smartphones. (Kopaničová and Klepochová, 2016)

And for the decision making for the consumption, “Millennials turn to their social networks for help in making major life decisions." (Generational Marketing: How to Target Millennials and Lister, 2017) because the peer acceptance and fitting in are very important for this generation, the music and the musicians choosing are all influenced by their peers. (Kaylene and Robert, 2017). the sense of belonging is the key trait for them. The people partially creates their self-concept they hang around. (Williamas et al., n.d.) they share the music with their friends and have interactions with peers about the music. It appears that this generation uses music as a tool for them to keep the interpersonal connections.

While for their previous generations, the boomers, for example, who grew up with the music in their lives from the movies they watch, the fashion they follow and even politics (green, 2008) rock n roll closely guided this generation. (Christian, 2011; Grossberg, 1992; Kotarba, 2002; Kotarba, 2012; Larsen, 2015; O'Shea,2012) the music of that period carried the story of that generation, the music they listened to convey the values of their life. And the most popular trend rock n roll is comprised of blues, country, rock and soul. Pop music is not their interest.

For this specific group of people, rock n roll is the attachment for them between their intrinsic part of their identity with the music itself. Therefore, boomers have made a high investment on the recorded tracks. (Kotarba, 2013 as cited in Larsen, 2015) (Saldana, 2016) compared with the generation y, boomers prefer to go the brick and mortar locations to buy the products they need and the records of music and CDs. They will be less price sensitive if they think the product will develop a good value. Instead of following new trends, boomers are more likely to maintain old habits.


It is obvious that the different generations share different lifestyles, values, and different decision-making behaviors, however, they do have similarities.

Although different subcultures hold unique values beliefs and attitudes, every specific era shares a core value and dominant culture. For the music purchasing, everyone including the old generations is influenced by the high technology trend and learn to use the internet to access the music.(Schiffman and Kanuk, 2009)

For the music buying, both millennials and boomers behave according to their own values.(Saldana, 2016) Even though the generation z download their music from the internet, their social networks and the tradition media are still heavily relied on . their consumer behaviors are influenced by the popular culture around them and their friends. While the boomers took freedom and creative expression as their core values and rock n roll became their symbol and because of their large demand for the rock n roll music, they had the opportunity to promote this type of music.


This paper is trying to put the consumer decision making model into the different cohorts context who were born in the same era sharing the similar consumer needs, preferences, and attitudes because they grow up in the same culture of socio-economic and compere the differences and similarities of the different generations because of the different lifestyles. The results of the surveys are all on the positive side for this theory. The lifestyles led by different age subculture group of different show a distinctive diversity which have an influence on their decision making. Though there is a common trend for all the generations the decision made by them, (influenced a lot by their peers like millennials or focus on the value of the product like boomers ) the buying preferences are different.


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