Music listening in Finland 2021 survey results: Rock and hip-hop are today’s Finnhits music


Music listening in Finland 2021 survey results:
Rock and hip-hop are today’s Finnhits music, the listener’s personality is reflected in their taste in music and some four million Finns now listen to music on their phones  

For Finns in the 2020s, “Finnhits” – or “iskelmä” – is a synonym for a hit song with mass appeal, with artists such as Apulanta, JVG, BEHM and Popeda now being classified as Finnhits artists. People’s taste in music is influenced the most by their temperament and their friends in their teenage years, but the music their parents listen to is also a surprisingly significant factor. The year of COVID-19 accelerated the transition of music listening in Finland to people’s phones, Spotify and YouTube. These are some of the results of the latest Music listening in Finland survey. The study also investigated the effect the artist’s gender has on the popularity of their music.

Over one thousand Finns between 13 and 75 years of age responded in August 2021 to the Music Listening in Finland survey commissioned by Teosto and IFPI Finland. The survey, which was conducted for the eighth time, was designed and analysed by Roadmap Director Kari Tervonen from Omnicom Media Group.

The data obtained from the survey respondents was enriched during the analysis stage by comparing it to extensive previously collected data, other Finnish and international studies in the field of music as well as expert knowledge.

Apulanta, JVG, BEHM and Popeda are the Finnhits artists of today

The list of artists named by Finns as their favourites in the genre of Finnhits – or “iskelmä” – is now full of performers that were previously consciously categorised as rock, rap, pop or even punk, and that have also been marketed strictly as representatives of a particular genre. However, for music listeners, the genre classification and the “Finnhits label”, which is perceived as a negative in certain contexts, are not significant according to the survey results: Finnhits are hit songs with mass appeal and an easy and catchy chorus.

The list of artists most frequently named by the respondents as their favourite Finnhits artist is eye-opening in its diversity. The list includes the following artists and bands, among others: Lauri Tähkä, Kaija Koo, Juha Tapio, Kari Tapio, BEHM, Suvi Teräsniska, Popeda, Haloo Helsinki, Agents, Anna Puu, Antti Tuisku, Apulanta, Arja Koriseva, Arttu Wiskari, Eppu Normaali, Erin, Hector, Irwin, Jari Sillanpää, Jenni Vartiainen, Johanna Kurkela, Juice, JVG, Katri-Helena, Leevi & the Leavings, Matti ja Teppo, Olavi Virta, Paula Koivuniemi, Paula Vesala, Rauli Badding, Sanni, Souvarit, Tapio Rautavaara, Tuure Kilpeläinen, Vesa-Matti Loiri, Yö and Yölintu.

What the artists named as favourite Finnhits performers have in common is the ability to appeal to listeners in highly diverse groups. Indeed, the artists that have emerged as the most popular performers in the new genres of music that have made it to Finland over the past decades are precisely those who have had the courage to shift their artistic expression the most towards the preferences of the Finnish masses, which is what the term Finnhits represents.

People’s taste in music is shaped primarily by their temperament, but also their home and the favourite music of their friends in their teenage years

International long-term studies of how people’s taste in music is shaped provide strong support to the view that taste in music is something that we are partly born with. In this year’s study, the Finnish respondents also indicated that they believe their temperament is the most significant factor influencing their taste in music – even more significant than their music preferences in their teenage years.

Is Finland the promised land of metal music because our national character is shy and reserved?

The music genre preferences that are the most heavily guided by the listener’s temperament include metal, classical music, progressive rock and jazz. The listeners of these four genres of music are also more likely than average to be somewhat shy. Is it a coincidence that Finns – who are considered to be the most introverted people in Europe – have also achieved international success in all of these genres of music?

People who listen to classical, prog and jazz are eager to experiment with things and prepared to become engrossed in new experiences. International studies have also rated them as being more creative than average. People who listen to metal, in turn, want music to help them release their internal tension.

People who are avid listeners of hip-hop, rap and pop are more extroverted than average and they often have high self-esteem. In addition to being influenced by the music itself, the listeners of the aforementioned genres are also significantly influenced by the degree to which the artists are viewed as interesting personalities, influencers and style icons.

International studies have not found that any genre of music has a particular correlation with aggressive or violent behaviour.

Taste in music is inherited from one’s parents through genetics and listening habits

The significant impact that the musical environment of your teenage years and youth has on your taste in music has already been highlighted in previous results of the Music listening in Finland survey.

This year’s results highlight the surprisingly large effect that parents have on the music young people listen to. Most of the respondents aged between 16 and 24 years believe that the artists their parents listen to have as significant an effect on their taste in music as Spotify, and a much larger effect than radio.

The importance of music to a person peaks during the 16–24 age range, which is a time when people define themselves through music to an especially significant degree. People also use music to reflect on their relationships with others and music serves as “social glue” in groups of friends as well as between parents and teenagers.

A person’s favourite music during their teenage years typically stays with them throughout their life: across the world, roughly half of people’s favourite songs are the ones they listened to the most when they were teenagers or in their early twenties.

The digital leap taken during the year of COVID-19 is also reflected in music listening habits

The number of Finns who have listened to music on their phone during the past 24 hours crossed the 50% milestone for the first time. The phone is the only music listening device whose use has grown significantly during the past two years: some four million Finns now use a phone to listen to music at least once a month. The number of people who use a computer to listen to music is only about half of the number of people who use a phone.

The number of people who listen to physical recordings has again nearly halved during the past two years. The number of listeners using standalone radios has also decreased slightly. Phones and computers now account for about one-fifth of all radio listening.

Spotify and YouTube both reach about 50% of Finns on a weekly basis as music listening platforms.

The study also investigated the reasons behind the differences in popularity between male and female artists 

Each year, the parties that commission and carry out the survey have been asked whether the gender of artists matters. This year’s survey included a question aimed at assessing this topic in spite of it being a sensitive and challenging issue.

75% of the respondents could not – or did not want to – express an opinion on whether they prefer to listen to male or female artists.

Among the quarter of the respondents who did express a preference, approximately two-thirds said they listen to male artists more than female artists. Among female respondents, the most common reason given for preferring male artists was enjoying low vocals. Among male respondents, the most common reason was the larger supply of male artists, especially in certain genres such as metal, rock and hip-hop.

The most common reasons given for preferring female artists were relatable lyrics (especially among female listeners), enjoying higher vocals (especially male listeners) and the view that female artists are currently bringing more interesting fresh ideas to pop music than male artists.

The respondents’ age and gender were not significant factors in their preference for artists of either gender.

Read the survey from here:


For further information about the survey, please contact:

Kari Tervonen, Roadmap Director, Omnicom Media Group
tel. +358 (0)50 437 0677,

Tommi Kyyrä, IFPI Finland
tel. +358 (0)50 566 4226,

Susanna Perämaa, Teosto
tel. +358 (0)40 558 8023,