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Survey: Music Exploration Fades with Age

Editor’s Note: The videos above and below have nothing to do with the story. Here are two from Portishead. Above is “Glory Box” and below is “Wandering Star.” (HT: DW)

Business Insider reports on a survey by Deezer that found people stop listening to new music when they are about 30 years old.

The bottom line is that people tend to drift away from all but the music they loved earlier in their lives. The BI story says that the survey found that about 600 out of 1,000 people surveyed in the U.K said that they are in a “musical rut” and that a quarter said they aren’t likely to try music from beyond their accustomed genre.

The story says that the peak age for new is 24. At that age, 75 percent said they listened to 10 or more new tracks per week and 64 percent said they seek out five (or more) new artists monthly.

The reasons for the drop off are understandable:

Some of the reasons the survey revealed were people being overwhelmed by the amount of choice available (19%), having a demanding job (16%), and caring for young children (11%). Nearly half of respondents said they wished they had more time to dedicate to discovering new music, so at least for that 47% it wasn’t due to a lack of interest.

The story referenced research done three years ago by the Skynet & Ebert blog that looked at U.S. Spotify and Echo Nest data. It suggests that people stop listening to new music at age 33.

There may be deeper issues than being too busy. Other research – including a study published in the journal Memory & Cognition – cited in the BI story suggests that music’s role in evoking memories may be the driver of musical tastes. It therefore may be more important in the curtailing of musical curiosity than day to day issues such as having little time. In short, the older one gets, the more likely it is that main purpose of music is to stimulate memories.

Here’s a guess: It’s possible that a major reason, though it doesn’t get much play in the story, is that delivery methods have changed so much. At least some people probably shy away from exploring new music simply because they don’t want to deal with what they perceive to be complex and confusing choices in finding music. The nostalgia may not only be for the actual songs. It may extend to the simplicity of finding music.

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