What shapes our Musical Identity?

“[Music] reflects our mood and personality, as well as the important people, places, and times in our past.” – Environmental Changes and the Dynamics of Musical Identity, Spotify

Last year, Spotify published a very interesting study.

The company analyzed listening patterns of over 16 million users in the United States – tracking what state they were in and how many times they streamed a specific song/artist per day. They also looked at the relationship between a song’s release year and the age of its current listeners.

The study found that the kind of music a person consumes in their adolescence and their environment during those years, shapes their “lifelong” musical identity.

Let’s break that down. Suppose you’re over age 30 right now. Spotify is basically suggesting that you predominantly listen to music that was popular (or you consumed a lot) when you were between age 10 to 20. And those genres of music have shaped your musical preferences.

I interviewed my grandfather (born in 1950) in a double-blind test. He said, “I only listen to songs that came out between 1951-1970”. That’s between the age 1 to 20 for him. Pretty precise.

Do you think that’s an accurate representation of your musical preference? And does Spotify recommend you songs from your adolescent age in the app?

Reference: Environmental Changes and the Dynamics of Musical Identity. https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.04948
Picture Credits: Omid Armin/Unsplash