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Not With The Band: New Study Says We Don’t Care For New Music After 33!


Evolution of music tastes with age (Skynet & Ebert)

Sometimes studies do not surprise me at all, and this one just confirms what I have always thought: people stop listening to new music as they age, and this is even more dramatic when they reach the age of 33.

With the amount of data that Spotify accumulates on his users, it is more and more easy to conduct a study, and Ajay Kalia of the website Skynet & Ebert just did this, using data from US Spotify listeners, as well as data of research company The Echo Nest, to ‘generate a metric for the average popularity of the artists a listener streamed in 2014’. Spotify basically knows which artist you stream, and how many times you stream this artist, and Echo Nest tells us about the popularity of such artist (Taylor Swift is #1 of course). At the top of this, it was very easy to look at users of a specific age and demographic profile. As shown by this graph, Kalia found that teens’ music taste is dominated by very popular music (center of the graph), but, as they age, the proportion drops, with a more accentuated change around 33, and they end up mostly listening to artists who are not so hot: the arrow reaches 2500 on the hotness scale when the listener is in his/her late 40’s.

And there’s even a difference between sexes when we age. If female and male teens listen to similar music, men’s mainstream music listening decreases much faster then it does for women… what does it mean? That women stay child-like for a longer period of time than men? That sounds so sexist, but this is what the study says…. May be that says that women are more open than men!

The ‘worst’ people are the ones having children, as they listen to an even smaller amount of mainstream music than an average listener of the same age, male or female. But I don’t blame them, who has time for Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith when children enter your life…

It is an interesting study, however music’s popularity was only considered in this study, but popularity doesn’t necessarily mean novelty… certain hot artists recycle very old sounds and I guess both examples I cited above (Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith) are not going to chock any ‘old’ ears. I suppose old people just don’t care for Ed or Sam when they have better in store. But I suppose this is probably very different for Avicii and Wiz Khalifa (also high ranked on Echo Nest hotness list). I am way above 33 and I can’t stand EDM, so it would certainly be interesting to know if we are really refractory to new sounds and rhythms after a certain age, as I presume.

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