“You are what you listen to.” Discuss.

All of us go through a coming-of-age period when it comes to must, a time that extends roughly from the time you enter high school until when you’re ejected into the real world in your 20s. This is a sweet spot when it comes to music, a time when we use music to determine who we are as people and to project our identities to the world. In other words, proclaim that you are what you listen to.

Fred Jacobs at Jacobs Media takes this a little further.

In fact, they conducted three extensive studies comprised of more than 80,000 respondents that ascertained it is indeed possible to predict music tastes and artist connection via personality, rather than the other factors we so typically use in music research: sex, age, ethnicity, station preference, etc. The study used a list of 50 artists across genres for this experiment, and the results were telling.

The theory behind the research is that while hooks, beat, guitar solos, and pounding drums all may play a role in musical preferences, there’s a more powerful psychological connection between the bands we love – and ourselves. This “self-congruity” suggests we bond with musical artists that have similar personality traits to our own. And it transcends all the demographic groupings us radio programmers and consultants pore over on those music test spreadsheets.

Among other things, the study’s authors also analyzed the lyrics of songs written by these artists for insights into their psyches – attitudes, beliefs, values, and their storylines.  They theorized that even for artists that don’t write all their songs (Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber) or for musicians who often collaborate with others (Elton John, Billy Joel), there’s an inherent endorsement of a song’s lyrics.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.