Spotify study reveals our musical tastes peak as teens

New data shows the way in which we decide what kinds of music we'll like for the rest of our lives by the time we're 14.

New York Times chart showing musical preferences as teenagers
New York Times chart showing musical preferences as teenagers


Ever wonder why so many people get stuck in their musical ways? Do you find yourself revisiting the same albums over and over, lamenting the current state of the music industry for not being “like it used to be?”

It turns out science has some answers about why our musical tastes develop (and then stay) the way they are.

A new analysis at the New York Times of Spotify data by analyst and past Big Think Expert Seth Stephens-Davidowitz shows that the majority of our musical leanings are locked as teenagers and rarely change. By the age of 14 for men and 13 for women, we have selected our musical influences for the rest of our lives!

 

Using Radiohead’s popular song “Creep,” Stephens-Davidowitz was able to see that the chart-topping hit was the 164th most popular song for 38-year-old men, who would have been 14 in 1993 when the song first released. The song doesn’t even chart for people born 10 years later or 10 years before. A similar analysis for every number 1 hit on the Billboard charts between 1960 and 2000 yielded similar results.

Our early 20s are about half as important in solidifying what music we like as we get older. As we become adults and are able to make more choices about what music we buy or what concerts we go, and all of these choices either reinforce pre-existing biases towards certain genres and artists or allow for new discoveries that add to our overall sense of “good music.”


Kundun' - New York Premiere (Getty Images)

 

Among other interesting results, the study revealed the not-so-surprising fact that senior citizens really don’t like hip-hop: “One of the facts I discovered is that Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is extremely unpopular among women in their 70s,” said Stephens-Davidowitz.

What were you listening to when you were 13? We were just jamming out to “Weird Al” Yankovic last week. Some things never change.

--

How New York's largest hospital system is predicting COVID-19 spikes

Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.

Credit: Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
  • Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Excavation of a triceratops skull in South Dakota.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Keep reading Show less

World's oldest work of art found in a hidden Indonesian valley

Archaeologists discover a cave painting of a wild pig that is now the world's oldest dated work of representational art.

Pig painting at Leang Tedongnge in Indonesia, made at 45,500 years ago.

Credit: Maxime Aubert
Surprising Science
  • Archaeologists find a cave painting of a wild pig that is at least 45,500 years old.
  • The painting is the earliest known work of representational art.
  • The discovery was made in a remote valley on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Keep reading Show less

What can Avicenna teach us about the mind-body problem?

The Persian polymath and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age teaches us about self-awareness.

Photo by Andrew Spencer on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
Philosophers of the Islamic world enjoyed thought experiments.
Keep reading Show less
Videos

The incredible physics behind quantum computing

Can computers do calculations in multiple universes? Scientists are working on it. Step into the world of quantum computing.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast