Claim: nightclubs closing due to new Millenial social patterns

The number of nightclubs in the UK has declined in the last decade and here is one possible reason why:

Even famous London dance-music clubs such as Turnmills, Bagley’s and The End have succumbed to a process that has seen the UK’s total portfolio of nightclubs shrink by almost half from 3,144 in 2005 to 1,733 a decade later.

The statistic from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) is a signal not just of the effect of the smoking ban and the imposition of student loans but of a fundamental shift in the way a new generation chooses to spend its entertainment budget…

A night out at a pop-up restaurant or a secret cinema feels more adventurous than yet another club night, which will only drain finances needed for that ambitious summer holiday trip. According to Yakob, nightclubbing has become for many young people a “couple of times a year” experience, hearing the best DJs on the best sound systems…

Twice a year punters aren’t going to pay a nightclub’s bills. But even for some dedicated music fans, the lure of a night of House music could be reduced by their long hours of listening to playlists on a premium streaming service during daily commutes. The UK is among Spotify’s strongest markets. Felim McGrath, analyst at market research company GlobalWebIndex, says: “In years gone by you would go to a nightclub at the weekend to discover music played by a top DJ. Now you can do that online via a curated playlist.”

While this isn’t good news for the nightclub economy, the social ramifications are interesting. For pre-teens to young adults, music is often an essential part of the social experience. It is part of creating an identity, burn off steam and/or transgress boundaries, and unite with other people. All of this can be done with music online – it just takes different forms. For example, instead of going to nightclubs or as many concerts, users can post in forums and comment sections about their favorite artists. Instead of interacting with strangers (who may share the same music interests) at venues, the music is now more privatized as users can select what they want wherever they want. Like many experiences with the web, users get more choice in more places but lose embodied experiences with others.

At the worst, in the future no one will emerge from their headphones and personalized experiences. At the best, perhaps the music listened to and discussed online can lead to new kinds of unique experiences outside of the typical nightclub and concert experiences.

Older adults like bigger things, like McMansions; younger adults like smaller things, like skinny jeans

Here is an example of tying consumption of things like McMansions or skinny jeans to certain generations:

If there’s one thing today’s young people know it’s this: size doesn’t matter.

From watching movies on cell phone screens to driving micro-cars like the Honda Fit, less is more with this generation.

Known as millennials, people born in the years just before and after 2000, believe in small carbon footprints and short attention spans. They don’t watch television episodes, they watch YouTube clips. Even email is too cumbersome for them. Millennials prefer to communicate with more instantaneous social media like Facebook chat and text-messages.

Compare this with people from Gen X and older and you see how wide the size-gap has become.

We Gen X’ers wore baggy jeans, flannel shirts and puffy hair. Many (too many) of us have oversized televisions and drive Hummers as big as tanks. We live in McMansions and super-size our lunches while today’s younger people wear skinny jeans, live in small apartments, and eat more salad.

We had record and compact disc collections with gigantic stereo speakers. They have iPod Nanos and ear buds.

The conclusion of the argument is that doing more with less is probably better on a crowded planet. Comparing the consumption of a McMansion to a tiny house (a comparison made a few paragraphs later) is one way to measure things: one house is bigger than the other and requires more resources. But, how do you compare a McMansion to an iPhone? The McMansion might require more resources (though all that goes into making an iPhone is more hidden) but can’t the consumption of an iPhone still be a problem (if younger adults are spending hours and hours with the device – and at least some are)? Plus, if you consume smaller objects, theoretically you might do it more often and collect a lot of stuff in the long run, even if it is more in the form of digital files. And then skinny jeans versus baggy clothes? Is this more about aesthetics rather than the size of consumption objects?

All that said, making sweeping claims about consumption patterns across generations can be difficult. We might be on safer ground by arguing that younger generations today are buying different kinds of products (digital, in particular) and may not be valuing “traditional” American consumption (cars, bigger houses).