Audience at VV's (Ville Valo) concert at the Provinssi 2023 festival on Törnävä Island in Seinäjoki on June 30, 2023. LEHTIKUVA


A recent study conducted by IFPI Finland ry reveals a significant shift in Finnish music preferences over the past decade. The Music Listening in Finland 2023 study conducted by Norstat’s consumer panel in August 2023 surveyed over a thousand individuals aged between 13 to 75, with a majority falling within the 13-18 age group.

In a noteworthy transformation, Finnish music taste has evolved into a diverse pop-centric culture over the last ten years.

Unlike 2015, where traditional rock dominated musical preferences, the majority of respondents in 2023 expressed a preference for Finnish pop music. Particularly, a striking surge in popularity was witnessed in modernized pop-inspired iskelmä (Finnish Schlager) music, which is now favored by 20 percent of Finns, compared to 10 percent in 2015.

“Five to ten years ago, our research indicated that Finns had stricter style and genre boundaries in their music tastes, at least in terms of what they found enjoyable to listen to,” explained Kari Tervonen, the lead researcher of the Musiikinkuuntelu Suomessa 2023 study from Omnicom Media Group.

According to Statista Global Survey (2022), 65 percent of Finland's adult population enjoys listening to chart-topping pop music, making them the most avid listeners globally. Following Finland closely are Sweden (65%) and Italy (59%), while the global average stands at only 39 percent. The study also highlighted that 19 percent of all Finns and as much as 32 percent of 13-25 year-olds are listening to more chart-pop than before, indicating a significant shift in the listening habits of younger generations.

“When we inquired about Finnish listening habits, the responses from younger age groups indicated a major shift in music consumption. Young Finns are more likely than older age groups to discover new music through video games, listen to music by female artists, prefer Finnish music, and explore new artists from past decades. This is largely due to the fact that music holds the utmost significance for people during their teenage and young adult years, when musical tastes tend to expand rapidly. Part of it is also attributed to the active and diverse use of digital interfaces for music consumption,” added Kari Tervonen.

The study also highlighted regional differences in music preferences across Finland:

  • Finnish chart pop is less popular in Uusimaa (19%) compared to the rest of Finland (26%).
  • Metal and hard rock have a smaller fanbase in Uusimaa (19%) versus the rest of Finland (27%).
  • English chart pop is more popular in Uusimaa (20%) compared to the rest of Finland (16%).
  • R&B and soul find more listeners in Uusimaa (11%) compared to the lowest listenership in Northern and Eastern Finland (6%).
  • Classical music has more enthusiasts in Uusimaa (13%) than the rest of Finland (9%).
  • Latin music has a lower appeal in Northern and Eastern Finland (3%) compared to other regions in Finland (8%).

Furthermore, the study revealed that the average duration of chart hits has shortened by up to 50 seconds over the past ten years. Songs featured on the US Billboard chart have reduced in duration by 50 seconds, now averaging three minutes. Interestingly, half of the Finnish respondents consider three minutes to be the ideal length for a hit song.

Key factors that Finnish listeners appreciate in hit songs include an engaging rhythm, memorable lyrics, and a catchy chorus or melody. Additionally, a good song often breaks traditional patterns at some point and surprises the listener.

Among the classic Finnish hits, Käärijä's "Cha Cha Cha" emerged as the most recognized song among all age groups, with a staggering 95 percent recognition rate. Following closely were Dingo's "Autiotalo" (93%) and Hector's "Lumi teki enkelin eteiseen" (92%). The most beloved hit among all age groups was "Lumi teki enkelin eteiseen," garnering 53 percent of the votes. Across age groups, "Cha Cha Cha" remained a favorite among younger listeners, while Rauli Badding Somerjoki's "Paratiisi" gained popularity among older generations.

The study also identified "Cha Cha Cha" as the most frequently mentioned summer hit of 2023, followed by "Ylivoimainen" by Kuumaa, "Viimeinen tanssi" by Behm and Olavi Uusivirta, and "Blondina" by Ibe.

Kari Tervonen, commenting on the findings, said, "Hits from evergreen artists like Hector, Juice Leskinen, Eppu Normaali, and Dingo enjoy widespread popularity across all age groups. Nevertheless, in the present moment, 'Cha Cha Cha' stands out as the most universally recognized light music song of all time."

The study's results provide valuable insights into the evolving music landscape of Finland, showcasing the dynamic nature of musical tastes and preferences among different age groups and regions.