Why Your Music Tastes Change When You Hit 30

It’s often assumed that enjoying and finding new music is the preserve of the young, but there is, in fact, now science to explain why we become less interested in hearing new sounds as we age.

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Music streaming service Deezer conducted a study on 1,000 people and found that we reach “music paralysis” by the time we reach 30 and a half, reports Business Insider. The peak age for discovering new music was found to be 24, when 75% of respondents said they listened to 10 or more new tracks a week, and 64% said they sought out five new artists per month.

For most over-thirties, their reluctance to try new music wasn’t down to a lack of interest. Factors included being overwhelmed by the amount of choice available (19%), having a demanding job (16%), and caring for young children (11%).

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“With so much brilliant music out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed,” said Adam Read, the UK & Ireland music editor at Deezer. “This often results in us getting stuck in ‘musical paralysis’ by the time we hit our thirties.”

Earlier this year, a study – published in the New York Times – found that if you were in your early teens when a song was released, then it’s likely to be popular within your age bracket a decade later. The reason? Teenagers’ brains are ever-changing, sponge-like and more sensitive, so the happy chemicals released when we hear our favourite songs – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin – are felt even more acutely. This means if you find a song you love when you’re a teenager, you’re more likely to still love it decades on.

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Another study by the Memory and Cognition journal said nostalgia plays a big part in why we listen to the same music we did in our teens or twenties. Music is a powerful way of recalling old memories or feelings, be it at school or university. The link between music and memory is strong is music, which contributes to why we feel happy to hearing certain songs from our past.


From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK