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Spotify has launched its new podcast, Dear Teenage Me, which spans 26 episodes and highlights some of the most common problems that the younger generation faces today. Produced by Yuvaa Originals, and hosted by actor Ahsaas Channa, the podcast aims to pass the mic to Gen-Z voices.

New episodes of the series drop on Tuesday and Thursday every week and delve into topics such as body image issues, societal pressures, mental health, and beyond.

Each episode, 6-8 minutes long, will feature raw, real, and relatable stories, and valuable lessons. Ahsaas and her guests will share deeply personal anecdotes based on their teenage years that felt like a rollercoaster ride with its various ups and downs. Through popular content creators and inspirational individuals, the podcast hopes to connect with listeners and put issues – big and small – in perspective.

Dhruvank Vaidya, Head of Podcasts, Spotify India, said, “As a digital-native generation, the Zs are engaging in conversations around gender, careers, mental health, patriarchy, and more on social media, audio platforms, and in offline groups. Podcasts are increasingly becoming the go-to source for information, entertainment, and educational content, and listeners trust and form an intimate bond with them.

Our Culture Next Report showed that nearly 50% of Zs ranked their trust in podcasts higher than their average trust in traditional media sources, including TV, newspapers, and radio. With Dear Teenage Me, we want to bring these conversations to as many young listeners as possible, and also to those who are curious about how the youth experience life today.”

“Dear Teenage Me is close to my heart since I belong to Gen Z too, and was a teenager not too long ago. Hearing these incredible stories of young people talking about everything from mental health to relationship problems, and academic pressure to body issues, has been such a powerful experience for me, and I’m excited to share these stories with our listeners.

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I hope that this podcast, made with the team at Spotify and Yuvaa, takes people back to their teenage years and reminds us of all our unique journeys, and makes us kinder and more empathetic”, said Ahsaas Channa.

The podcast features a diverse cohort of young voices from across genders, sexualities, class, castes, and communities. Yuvaa, a Gen-Z-driven youth media and insights organization, tapped into its network of over 500 colleges and thousands of students, to bring together the most meaningful stories for the podcast.

The first six episodes of the Spotify Original will release today, featuring the following topics and guests:

  1. Ahsaas Channa opens up about learning to be her authentic self instead of trying to fit in
  2. Prajakta Koli talks about the anxieties of keeping up in college
  3. Harteerath Singh from the Hemkunt Foundation on academic pressure in school
  4. Sonia Bhatia on struggling with body image issues and finding therapy
  5. Daaniyal in conversation about issues of class and feeling lesser than
  6. Nikhil Taneja shares his views on the expectations of masculinity that teens face

The Spotify Culture Next Report 2021 highlighted how audio is encouraging the Zs to tune into themselves with 77% of them agreeing that they use audio to reduce their stress levels and 79% believing audio to be healing. The study also showed that podcasters are perceived as being authentic, accessible, and trustworthy.

In fact, the average podcast listenership increased over 300% among Zs in Q1 2021 vs. Q1 2020, and mental health witnessed the most impressive growth as a genre, with an increase of over more than 900% among Zs. Other popular genres include alternative health, spirituality, self-help, and nearly 70% of Zs agreed that podcast hosts “sometimes feel like a friend”.

Besides Dear Teenage Me, there are several other Spotify Originals and Exclusives from India that are popular among the Gen-Z listeners, including The Mythpat PodcastWhat’s Up SisterHorror Time with Sarthak MishraThe Ranveer ShowYours Positively, and Shuddh Desi Gay, among others.