… which all makes sense, because if you like what teens like while in your thirties, you're not hip, you're creepy.
Upon turning 33: Your life becomes culturally worthless, you begin to hate new things and you’re probably less socially desirable than the neighbor across the street you’re always staring at with envy. So suggests (kind of) a new study out on the Internet that claims after the ripe old age of 33, people lose all desire to seek out new music.
The data, collected by a site named Skynet & Ebert, is graphed by combining US Spotify users’ streaming habits vs. a house-made “popularity” scoring of artists through music history. The results are then compared with self-reported age data and graphed in a fancy circular fashion to show the behavior of listeners through their preferences in comparison to how old they are. *gasp for air*
Which basically means a few devoted math nerds took the information you didn’t know they had and figured out something arbitrary that will likely be used against you later on in marketing warfare.
Such is the Internet …
Hopefully there doesn’t have to be a warning label on new “studies” coming out on the Web about their tendency to convolute multiple ways numbers can be interpreted. That behavior now is kind of the norm; take this all with a grain of salt.
As is the case with this particular study; there are many variables at play that could affect exact results and shift outcomes — but the findings are still interesting to us music geeks and number nerds none the less. Also it killed a few hours in the office. Paid mental vacation, anyone?
According to Skynet & Ebert, what it found was that, on average …
… while teens’ music taste is dominated by incredibly popular music, this proportion drops steadily through peoples’ 20s, before their tastes “mature” in their early 30s.
… men and women listen similarly in their their teens, but after that, men’s mainstream music listening decreases much faster than it does for women.
… at any age, people with children (inferred from listening habits) listen to a smaller amounts of currently-popular music than the average listener of that age.
Which is clearly just a broad look at a personal run of choices for millions of people. The data collected doesn’t necessarily reflect each individual’s reality, like any good chart. But it does make sense that when you grow up you tend to not care about what’s hot with teenagers. That’s what we in our 30s call “creepy” or “disturbing.”
Likewise, new music isn’t directed towards 30-year-olds. 30-year-olds have bills, and rent, and responsibilities and a fulfilled life. Teenagers have allowances, loose spending habits and little need for savings.
What the study fails to mention, however, is how repetitious “new” music is, and how the powers at work tend to recycle old hits and polish them up for another round on the Billboard charts. At 33, listeners tend to have already heard the same thing as when they were teenagers, with the chart suggesting they’d rather go back to the version they love than worry about some hot new dingbat ruining a classic.
So while the chart looks pretty neat on screen, it’s likely not going to mesh well with current culture in the way we grasp media. Some new music is good. Some new music is shit. That’s just the way it goes.