When was the last time you listened to a new song? If you’re beyond the age of 33, new research suggests that it’s probably been a long time.
According to a new survey published online at Skynet & Ebert, the average American music fan stops listening to new artists at the ripe age of 33.
Ajay Kalia, who conducted the research, found that most Americans follow a similar trend when it comes to their music preferences. During their teenage years, people tend to be more hip and trendy, listening predominantly to mainstream music. As the teenage years fade into the 20s and 30s, people's musical tastes become more seasoned.
“As users age out of their teens and into their 20s, their path takes them out of the center of the popularity circle,” wrote Kalia. “Until their early 30s, mainstream music represents a smaller and smaller proportion of their streaming. And for the average listener, by their mid-30s, their tastes have matured, and they are who they’re going to be.”
The research, which was based on data from U.S. Spotify and The Echo Nest, identified two main reasons why adults move away from popular music: First, adults don’t come across new music like they did when they were teens, and second, adults are quite likely to return to the music that they enjoyed in their earlier years — even if it isn’t popular anymore.
And most adults in their 30s will probably agree: There’s a certain nostalgia that comes when you hear songs from your youth.
In an interview with Slate, Petr Janata, a psychologist at UC-Davis, said that music from one’s youth “gets consolidated into the especially emotional memories from our formative years.” Maybe that’s why your favorite songs from high school and college remain favorites throughout life; they strike a proverbial chord in your heart.
For those who are aging and feel that they’re no longer part of the popular crowd, Kalia reassures you that once you have children, you’ll be right back in the mainstream music mix.
“If you’re getting older and can’t find yourself staying as relevant as you're used to,” he wrote, “have no fear — just wait for your kids to become teenagers and you’ll get exposed to all the popular music of the day once again!”
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