New University of Leicester study identifies links between musical tastes and lifestyle

The music we listen to can tell a lot more than you might think about what kind of people we are, according to research findings by a University of Leicester psychologist.

Now, Dr Adrian North is extending his research worldwide. He is looking for 10,000 people from all over the world to take part in an online survey at www.musicaltastetest.com, stating their preference from over 50 musical styles and completing a questionnaire.

The survey, funded by the British Academy, will help Dr North and his team determine to what extent people's musical tastes can be predicted on the basis of basic demographic information, such as age, sex and earnings.

Dr North said, "Although we know a lot about musical preference, musicaltastetest.com is the largest ever academic survey of who likes what. Nothing on this scale has ever been attempted before."

Related research by Dr North about to be published in the journal Psychology of Music shows that a person's musical preference tells a great deal about their lifestyle and interests. Over 2,500 people in the UK were asked to state which musical styles they liked most, and then complete a questionnaire about their living arrangements, political and moral beliefs, travel, personal finances, education, employment, health, media preferences, and leisure time interests.

When it comes to relationships, beliefs and breaking the law, fans of different musical styles gave very different responses, with fans of hip-hop and dance music standing out in particular. 37.5% of hip-hop fans and 28.7% of dance music fans had had more than one sexual partner in the past five years, (compared with, for example, 1.5% of country fans). They were also the least likely to be religious, least likely to recycle, least likely to favour the development of alternative energy sources, least likely to favour raising taxes in order to improve public services, and least likely to favour the retention of a National Health Service.

In addition, they were more likely to have broken the law. 56.9% of dance music fans and 53.1% of hip hop fans admitted to having committed a criminal act (compared, for example, to just 17.9% of fans of musicals). Hip hop and dance music fans were more likely to have tried a range of illegal drugs. However, about a quarter of the classical music and opera fans admitted to having tried cannabis, and 12.3% of opera fans had tried magic mushrooms.

On questions concerning money, education, employment and health, fans were separated along the lines of socio-economic status. Fans of classical music and opera had lifestyles indicative of the middle and upper classes. They had an average annual income of 35,000 before tax, whereas dance music fans earned only 23,311. Classical music and opera fans also paid a much higher proportion of their credit card bills each month than fans of dance music (75% and 49% respectively).

They were also more likely to have been educated to a higher level. 6.8% of opera fans had a PhD, compared to none of the chart pop fans. When it comes to eating, fans of classical music, opera and jazz tended to spend rather more money on food and preferred to drink wine to a greater extent than fans of other musical styles.

Results also showed that fans of different musical styles often had different tastes in the media. Viewers of BBC1 are more likely to be fans of rock or classical music, whereas ITV1's viewers are more likely to listen to disco and pop music. Readers of broadsheet newspapers are more likely to listen to classical and rock music, compared to readers of the tabloids, who prefer dance music, pop and music from the sixties.

Dr North added: "Surprisingly, there have been very few studies on how people's age, sex, socioeconomic status, and personality relate to the music they enjoy listening to. Moreover, this limited amount of research has focussed almost exclusively on North America. This is despite the fact that music is enjoyed by people all around the world and, in addition, there are numerous stereotypes about the types of people who listen to certain musical styles that may or may not be true (e.g. goths are depressed, classical music fans are upper-class, jazz fans are like the presenter of The Fast Show's 'Jazz Club' etc.).

"Musicaltastetest.com aims to recruit over 10,000 people to paint the first worldwide picture of who likes what."

###

Note to editors: Further information on Dr Adrian North and his research, including a photo of him, a screen capture of www.musicaltastetest.com, and full details of the findings, is available at http://www.le.ac.uk/pc/acn5/acn.html. Dr North can be contacted on tel. +44 (0)116 229 7183 / +44 (0)7811 121950, email acn5@le.ac.uk.

Below are examples of the main musical preferences among people who watch different TV stations, listen to different radio stations, and read different newspapers. The numbers refer to the number of people who nominated the musical style in question. For example, of the 870 people whose favourite TV channel was BBC1, 77 liked rock music the most, making it the most popular musical style among BBC1 viewers.

BBC1 -- TOTAL 870

ROCK77
CLASSICAL74
ADULT POP58
MUSICALS57
DISCO51
SIXTIES47
R&B45
CHART POP43
INDIE39
SOUL 35
DANCE/HOUSE 33
BLUES 31
COUNTRY&WESTERN 28
OTHER POP 27
OPERA 25
JAZZ25
OTHER20
DJ BASED19
CHORAL17
HIP HOP/RAP17
BAROQUE12
IRISH FOLK12
REGGAE11
FUNK/ACID JAZZ10
HEAVY METAL10
DRUM 'N' BASS9
WORLD MUSIC8
PUNK8
ENGLISH FOLK7
NEW AGE/RELAXATION 5
20TH C CLASSICAL 3
RENAISSANCE 3
AMBIENT 2
PSYCHEDELIC 2
ELECTRONIC 0

BBC2 -- TOTAL 163

ADULT POP14
CLASSICAL12
SIXTIES12
INDIE11
JAZZ10
OPERA9
ROCK9
CHORAL8
SOUL7
DISCO7
BLUES7
DANCE/HOUSE 5
MUSICALS5
OTHER5
HIP HOP/RAP4
BAROQUE4
HEAVY METAL4
COUNTRY&WESTERN3
R&B3
WORLD MUSIC3
AMBIENT3
CHART POP2
DRUM 'N' BASS2
PSYCHEDELIC2
PUNK2
DJ BASED2
OTHER POP2
20TH C CLASSICAL1
ENGLISH FOLK1
IRISH FOLK1
ELECTRONIC1
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
RENAISSANCE0
REGGAE0

ITV1 -- TOTAL 452

DISCO43
ADULT POP34
ROCK33
CHART POP33
SIXTIES28
DANCE HOUSE26
R&B24
OTHER POP21
SOUL20
COUNTRY&WESTERN17
INDIE16
CLASSICAL15
MUSICALS15
HIP HOP/RAP14
OPERA11
DJ BASED11
JAZZ9
REGGAE9
IRISH FOLK9
OTHER9
ELECTRONIC8
WORLD MUSIC7
PUNK6
FUNK/ACID JAZZ6
AMBIENT5
BLUES5
HEAVY METAL5
ENGLISH FOLK3
DRUM 'N' BASS2
BAROQUE2
NEW AGE/RELAXATION2
PSYCHEDELIC2
CHORAL1
20TH C CLASSICAL1
RENAISSANCE0

CHANNEL 4 -- TOTAL 244

DANCE/HOUSE24
INDIE22
R&B20
DRUM 'N' BASS16
HIP HOP/RAP15
SOUL14
ROCK13
DJ BASED12
CHART POP10
DISCO10
MUSICALS9
FUNK/ACID JAZZ9
JAZZ8
REGGAE8
OTHER8
CLASSICAL6
AMBIENT6
PUNK5
ADULT POP4
OTHER POP4
OPERA3
BAROQUE3
BLUES3
IRISH FOLK3
COUNTRY&WESTERN2
SIXTIES2
CHORAL1
20TH C CLASSICAL1
ENGLISH FOLK1
ELECTRONIC1
HEAVY METAL1
WORLD MUSIC0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0

CHANNEL 5 -- TOTAL 61

R&B6
DANCE/HOUSE6
HIP HOP/RAP5
DISCO4
ROCK3
SOUL3
CLASSICAL3
MUSICALS3
SIXTIES3
HEAVY METAL3
OPERA2
JAZZ2
WORLD MUSIC2
BLUES2
PUNK2
ADULT POP2
FUNK/ACID JAZZ2
COUNTRY&WESTERN1
CHART POP1
DRUM 'N' BASS1
REGGAE1
INDIE1
IRISH FOLK1
DJ BASED1
OTHER POP1
CHORAL0
20TH C CLASSICAL0
AMBIENT0
BAROQUE0
ENGLISH FOLK0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0
ELECTRONIC0
OTHER0

BBC RADIO 1 -- TOTAL 937

DANCE/HOUSE98
R&B88
INDIE77
CHART POP68
ROCK60
DISCO60
DJ BASED52
SOUL45
HIP HOP/RAP45
OTHER POP31
OTHER30
ADULT POP28
DRUM 'N' BASS25
FUNK/ACID JAZZ25
MUSICALS24
SIXTIES21
CLASSICAL20
JAZZ17
HEAVY METAL16
COUNTRY&WESTERN15
REGGAE15
PUNK14
AMBIENT13
OPERA9
WORLD MUSIC6
IRISH FOLK6
ELECTRONIC6
BAROQUE4
ENGLISH FOLK3
PSYCHEDELIC3
CHORAL2
NEW AGE/RELAXATION1
RENAISSANCE1
20TH C CLASSICAL0

BBC RADIO 2 -- TOTAL 258

ADULT POP35
SIXTIES27
ROCK24
MUSICALS24
CLASSICAL23
COUNTRY&WESTERN17
DISCO17
OTHER POP13
JAZZ11
IRISH FOLK10
BLUES9
SOUL7
CHORAL7
OPERA6
R&B6
CHART POP4
BAROQUE4
OTHER4
WORLD MUSIC3
DANCE/HOUSE2
ENGLISH FOLK2
20TH C CLASSICAL1
REGGAE1
DJ BASED1
DRUM 'N' BASS0
HIP HOP/RAP0
AMBIENT0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0
INDIE0
PUNK0
ELECTRONIC0
FUNK/ACID JAZZ0
HEAVY METAL0

BBC RADIO 4 -- TOTAL 295

CLASSICAL40
MUSICALS24
SIXTIES21
ADULT POP20
OPERA19
ROCK16
SOUL16
INDIE16
JAZZ14
CHORAL13
BLUES13
DISCO12
COUNTRY&WESTERN11
IRISH FOLK8
CHART POP6
20TH C CLASSICAL5
BAROQUE5
ENGLISH FOLK5
OTHER5
FUNK/ACID JAZZ4
R&B3
WORLD MUSIC3
REGGAE3
HEAVY METAL3
DANCE/HOUSE2
NEW AGE/RELAXATION2
PUNK2
OTHER POP2
AMBIENT1
PSYCHEDELIC1
DRUM 'N' BASS0
HIP HOP/RAP0
RENAISSANCE0
ELECTRONIC0
DJ BASED0

BBC RADIO 5 LIVE -- TOTAL 97

ROCK7
BLUES7
INDIE7
ADULT POP7
DISCO6
SIXTIES6
REGGAE6
SOUL5
MUSICALS5
OTHER POP5
CHART POP4
CLASSICAL4
OPERA3
DANCE/HOUSE3
FUNK/ACID JAZZ3
DJ BASED3
JAZZ2
PUNK2
HEAVY METAL2
OTHER2
COUNTRY&WESTERN1
R&B1
CHORAL1
HIP HOP/RAP1
WORLD MUSIC1
AMBIENT1
IRISH FOLK1
ELECTRONIC1
20TH C CLASSICAL0
DRUM 'N' BASS0
BAROQUE0
ENGLISH FOLK0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0

CLASSIC FM -- TOTAL 74

CLASSICAL17
ROCK7
BAROQUE6
OPERA5
MUSICALS5
IRISH FOLK5
CHORAL4
ADULT POP4
COUNTRY&WESTERN3
CHART POP2
R&B2
WORLD MUSIC2
INDIE2
HEAVY METAL2
OTHER2
SOUL1
DANCE/HOUSE1
HIP HOP/RAP1
BLUES1
SIXTIES1
PUNK1
JAZZ0
DISCO0
20TH C CLASSICAL0
DRUM 'N' BASS0
AMBIENT0
ENGLISH FOLK0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0
REGGAE0
ELECTRONIC0
FUNK/ACID JAZZ0
DJ BASED0
OTHER POP0

THE TIMES -- TOTAL 363

CLASSICAL35
ROCK25
R&B23
SOUL22
ADULT POP21
MUSICALS19
SIXTIES19
INDIE19
DISCO18
OPERA15
HIP HOP/RAP15
OTHER POP13
JAZZ12
BLUES12
DANCE/HOUSE11
CHART POP9
REGGAE8
CHORAL7
IRISH FOLK7
OTHER7
COUNTRY&WESTERN6
PUNK6
DRUM 'N' BASS5
HEAVY METAL5
WORLD MUSIC4
ENGLISH FOLK4
FUNK/ACID JAZZ4
DJ BASED4
BAROQUE3
AMBIENT2
ELECTRONIC3
20TH C CLASSICAL1
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0

THE GUARDIAN -- TOTAL 209

ROCK15
CLASSICAL12
ADULT POP12
R&B11
CHART POP10
SOUL10
DANCE/HOUSE10
SIXTIES10
INDIE10
OPERA9
JAZZ9
MUSICALS9
FUNK/ACID JAZZ9
HIP HOP/RAP7
DISCO6
DRUM 'N' BASS6
IRISH FOLK6
OTHER6
AMBIENT5
BLUES5
DJ BASED5
BAROQUE4
REGGAE4
OTHER POP4
PUNK3
COUNTRY&WESTERN2
CHORAL2
WORLD MUSIC2
20TH C CLASSICAL1
ENGLISH FOLK1
NEW AGE/RELAXATION1
PSYCHEDELIC1
RENAISSANCE1
HEAVY METAL1
ELECTRONIC0

INDEPENDENT -- TOTAL 85

ROCK11
DANCE/HOUSE7
DJ BASED5
SOUL4
AMBIENT4
INDIE4
OPERA3
JAZZ3
CLASSICAL3
MUSICALS3
BLUES3
REGGAE3
PUNK3
ADULT POP3
OTHER3
CHART POP2
DISCO2
DRUM 'N' BASS2
SIXTIES2
FUNK/ACID JAZZ2
HEAVY METAL2
COUNTRY&WESTERN1
R&B1
CHORAL1
20TH C CLASSICAL1
BAROQUE1
ENGLISH FOLK1
NEW AGE/RELAXATION1
RENAISSANCE1
IRISH FOLK1
ELECTRONIC1
OTHER POP1
HIP HOP/RAP0
WORLD MUSIC0
PSYCHEDELIC0

TELEGRAPH -- TOTAL 143

CLASSICAL17
ROCK14
INDIE10
ADULT POP9
DISCO8
MUSICALS8
OPERA6
COUNTRY&WESTERN6
CHART POP6
CHORAL6
SIXTIES6
SOUL5
WORLD MUSIC5
BLUES5
OTHER POP5
FUNK/ACID JAZZ4
DJ BASED4
HIP HOP/RAP3
JAZZ2
R&B2
DANCE/HOUSE2
BAROQUE2
REGGAE2
HEAVY METAL2
AMBIENT1
NEW AGE/RELAXATION1
IRISH FOLK1
OTHER1
20TH C CLASSICAL0
DRUM 'N' BASS0
ENGLISH FOLK0
PSYCHEDELIC0
RENAISSANCE0
PUNK0
ELECTRONIC0

THE MIRROR -- TOTAL 245

SIXTIES21
ROCK19
COUNTRY&WESTERN18
R&B17
DISCO16
MUSICALS16
CHART POP13
CLASSICAL13
HIP HOP/RAP13
DANCE/HOUSE10
ADULT POP10
INDIE9
OTHER POP9
BLUES8
IRISH FOLK8
DJ BASED8
SOUL6
DRUM 'N' BASS6
JAZZ4
FUNK/ACID JAZZ4
OTHER4
HEAVY METAL3
ENGLISH FOLK2
PSYCHEDELIC2
REGGAE2
PUNK2
CHORAL1
BAROQUE1
OPERA0
20TH C CLASSICAL0
WORLD MUSIC0
AMBIENT0
NEW AGE/RELAXATION0
RENAISSANCE0
ELECTRONIC0

DAILY MAIL -- TOTAL 446

ADULT POP37
DISCO36
ROCK31
MUSICALS31
CHART POP30
SIXTIES27
CLASSICAL25
R&B24
SOUL23
DANCE/HOUSE23
JAZZ22
COUNTRY&WESTERN 17
OPERA13
INDIE13
OTHER POP12
BLUES10
DJ BASED9
HIP HOP/RAP8
IRISH FOLK8
FUNK/ACID JAZZ8
OTHER8
REGGAE7
CHORAL6
HEAVY METAL5
WORLD MUSIC3
DRUM 'N' BASS2
AMBIENT2
BAROQUE2
ENGLISH FOLK2
NEW AGE/RELAXATION1
RENAISSANCE1
20TH C CLASSICAL0
PSYCHEDELIC0
PUNK0
ELECTRONIC0

THE SUN -- TOTAL 287

DANCE/HOUSE25
R&B22
ROCK20
DISCO20
INDIE20
SIXTIES17
ADULT POP17
CHART POP15
OTHER15
DJ BASED12
OTHER POP12
CLASSICAL10
COUNTRY&WESTERN9
DRUM 'N' BASS8
MUSICALS8
SOUL7
HIP HOP/RAP6
PUNK6
REGGAE5
FUNK/ACID JAZZ5

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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