At 27, you give up on new music

At 27, you give up on new music


norman lebrecht

February 05, 2019

From AFP:

A survey by streaming service Deezer found that the average person reaches “musical paralysis” — when she or he primarily listens to familiar tracks and does not seek out new genres — at the age of 27 years and 11 months.

Musical discovery peaks nearly three years earlier, with 25-year-olds on average listening to at least 10 new songs per week.

Deezer surveyed 5,000 adults online across Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Same in classical?


  • We privatize your value says:

    So I am not am average person, right? Could have told you so. 🙂

  • Nigel Harris says:

    For what it’s worth, I have found my own musical tastes and openness to new discoveries broadening a lot specifically in my fifties. I know I’m not the only one, either. Something to do with you no longer needing music to help construct your own identity and being more confident about dealing with new challenges? That may be rubbish, but it’s what it feels like.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      What exactly is it, to use music to “construct your own identity”? I am genuinely puzzled, as I am by most modern talk of identity, since a generation ago we could say everything we wanted to about ourselves without talking about ‘my identity’. But these days “I’m English” seems to have become “I have an English identity”.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Music does not construct an identity. Sharing comparable tastes may help constructing a group identity but that is only a surface matter. Classical music helps clarifying one’s identity by resonating here and there in the emotional realm, thereby making things conscious. But it is all a subliminal process, not a rational one.

        Classical music is supposed to make us more human, more ourselves, and ‘better people’, by appealing to the better sides of human nature. Which does not mean that it works with everyone, of course. But if the process is meaningful, it stimulates a stronger experience of Self and that may be considered a reinforcing of identity.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Classical music is not average, and the trajectory of understanding and discovery is fundamentally different from the trajectory of entertainment music. When youngsters find-out what pop actually is, they don’t want to waste time on continuous ‘exploration’, in the same way one has seen all modern housing blocks after having seen one or two. The discovery of classical music however, could be compared with seeing city scapes like the Parisian or the Viennese one for the first time, or of Florence or Rome, which need a lifetime to take it all in, the layers of historical meaning included.

  • Emanuele Passerini says:

    I’m happily discovering new music everyday, almost.. my tastes have probably consolidated between 25-30 yo (meaning about 20 yrs ago) but I can’t stop looking for new sounds even today (my CD/FLAC library is exploding far beyond my physical available space…), and I believe the streaming services are killing young people’s brain and musical tastes by providing everything anytime anywhere without any criticism… I’m sure I’m not alone here

  • Grace says:

    My experience with a streaming service (Pandora) is limited, but here’s what I observed. When Pandora first opened shop years ago (free), I tried it out. What I discovered was that when I tagged a selection as something I liked, the service refined my stream to be “more of the same” – so for example, if I happened to tag a piece in a major mode, then major mode music would predominate. I ended up with a very narrow stream — more of a rivulet — of similar-sounding music that ended up very boring (stultifying!) and I abandoned the whole thing within a few days. I wonder if some people LIKE this blandness, or if they somehow assume that the streaming service (or rather, its algorithm) “knows best” what they “should” listen to. Either way, I find these algorithm-driven services to be … stultifying. And for many people, online listening is perhaps their only music experience.

    I think people would be surprised to know the extent to which algorithms drive our online experiences. Years ago I turned off all Google’s customizations so that my search results are not automatically refined according to where I am, what I last searched for, what’s in my neighborhood, etc. (Necessary for one who does research for clients around the globe!)

  • MacroV says:

    I’m not surprised. Classical music lovers (who of course cover a wide range; from Monteverdi to Stockhausen, etc.) are often derided as unadventurous, but go to hear the Rolling Stones, U2, or some other big band. Do their fans want to hear their new stuff (if they even have any)? No, they want to hear their hits.

  • Max Grimm says:

    I gave up on ‘new music’ long before age 27.
    Ah, I see, ‘new music genres‘….my apologies.

  • Steve says:

    ..and I’m sure this age limit will only continue to fall as serious music is deemed less and less important in society; and as culture and education decline in general, it all goes hand in hand..

  • buxtehude says:

    Survey in TFA refers to pop music, the range of soundtracks for hooking up and pairing off. That this morphs into nostalgia by late 20s shouldn’t surprise.

    Classical is something else.

  • Saxon Broken says:

    My experience with most of the people I know is that after the mid-twenties, they lose interest in “pop music”. But most begin to have an interest in classical music (if little developed); if they decide to listen to something, it will often be something classical even if they don’t know much about it.

    Young people between 1960 and 1990 had much more interest in popular music (especially contemporary music), and used it to identify themselves, in ways that the young people of today just find bewildering. It is just less important to the current generation than the previous generation.