Has your music taste stopped evolving? Why/why not?

dmgtz96

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This is especially interesting for those on this forum that are over 30 years old.

We commonly hear about the good old days, when music used to be much better. This isn't an @ at trance or anything like that, but music in general. I'm sure that if you surveyed X number of people at random, you will find that most of their favorite songs were released back when they were teenagers or young adults (high school/college age). In fact, according to an article from The Verge [1], a study by the NYT on Spotify data found that men were on average ~14 years old when their favorite song was released. For women, the average age was ~13. In that study, the NYT analyzed Billboard chart-topping songs from 1960 to 2000. For example, Radiohead's Creep was pretty popular (#164 most listened) among men aged 38, who would have been ~14 when the song was released. Yet, this song wasn't within the top 300 for men below 28 or above 48.




This difference in popularity is one of the reasons the Superbowl reportedly shows artists that were popular 20 years ago [2] along with current trendy artists. According to the same skynetandbert post that used Spotify data from 2014, teenagers' music taste is largely dominated by popular music. As people grow older and into their 20s, their taste is shaped less by popular music. What struck me the most was that, past 30 years old, one's music taste "matures." There are other factors at play, too, like gender and having children. Men decrease their pop music consumption faster than women, and people with children (inferred by the author) listen to less popular music than people of the same age without children. Here's a weird-looking circular graph from the article. The closer to the center, the more popular the artist is.



The author suggests that the transition away from popular music happens due to two driving factors:
  1. Discovering less-familiar genres that were not played on radio stations back when they were teens
  2. Returning to old music that is now no longer popular
A study done on 1000 Brits, reported by Business Insider [3], found similar results:
  • People stop listening to new music at just 30 and a half
  • Peak age for discovering new music is ~24
The reasons given were somewhat different:
  • Too many music options available - 'musical paralysis'
  • Job is too demanding - cannot spend much time discovering new music
In both studies, having children was cited as one of the reasons for being unable to keep up with new music. The Business Insider article also suggests that older listeners might listen to older music because that music evokes their memories from (pre-college) school and university. This is different from merely lacking time to discover new music; instead, you're looking at a cocktail of brain chemicals as the reason people's music taste "matures."

In summary, peak influence for one's musical taste occurs very early on, in late middle school and early high school. A person's musical taste then quickly develops, peaking at around 24-25, then it slows down until maturity at age ~30. The reasons for this vary, ranging from having children to having not enough time to discover new music to reminiscing on the good old days of high school and college (thank you, brain chemicals!).

[1] Our musical tastes peak as teens, says study. URL.
[2] Music was better back then: When do we stop keeping up with popular music? URL.
[3] We stop discovering new music at age 30, a new survey suggests - here are the scientific reasons this could be. URL.

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The questions I would like to raise to other trancefixers:

Has your music taste stopped evolving? Why or why not?

For those whose music taste has not stopped evolving, how do you keep up?

For those whose music taste has stopped evolving, would you like to discover new music?


Personally, it's a bit scary to know that I'm right at the peak of my musical taste (24, along with @Gagi). Discovering new music is one of my main hobbies, and I can't imagine reaching 30 and just... not finding out new things. There's no shame in that, but that doesn't sound like me, haha. As a late millennial, I think it's cool that I can still enjoy some of the generation Z music (Billie Eilish, Soundcloud rappers, recent Ariana Grande releases and so on) while still remembering the music that was trendy in high school (Skrillex/Deadmau5/LMFAO/other early 2010s acts). It's just weird to know there's a limit. I also wanted to learn more from ohers who may (or may not) have experienced this musical maturity.
 
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Gagi

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Haha I love that there's a member here who has a discussion with references. It clearly took you a lot of time to make this, mad respect. 👊

A couple of things I deviate from here is that, at 13, I was listening to a lot of gay-boy-band pop (US5), and rap (Eminem, Xzibit and some domestic artists). And even though I can still digest 2 songs from US5 at most and a lot more of rap songs, my favourite songs ever are the ones discovered late in secondary school and college. And even though most of them were released when I was a kid or a teen, I still discovered them later, so there's no connection there for "music was better way back when...", at least for me. I didn't even know of some genres back then.

And most of the genres I discovered had come way after 13 - except for rap, I discovered trance at 17 for instance, and only a small subset of it, the taste and preferences kept developing more and more. A lot of which I love now has come even later (but I'd still say that discovering trance was a major event, not just genre-wise, but I found out I want something deeper, more meaningful from music).

But I do deviate more and more from the popular stuff (even though I'm not afraid of it either). Music interests me a lot, and always has, so I just kept digging and digging. It's getting easier and easier to do so, so that might be a factor as well.

The 30 years being the cutoff point due to "life" makes sense. I thought it was 26, as it's often hypothesized that most of the great artists, scientists etc. made their best work before they were 26.

I am 25 BTW, soon to turn 26 and I still discover a lot. That would be a lot different if I had a job, which I should have had by now, but I don't.

---

Let's get to your questions.

Has it stopped evolving? Well, no, and yes. I'll look at it in two dimensions: width vs depth. I'd say as far as width is concerned, I think it has stopped. I don't know if there's anything else to discover, I think I have found a lot of genres I enjoy and I think I'll stick to them. Instead, I'm exploring the depth, which is kind of still developing your taste more, with various eras of genres, different styles, artists etc. And who knows, maybe I fall in love with a genre because of it. As far as any new stuff that suddenly appears, I don't know if I'll enjoy that, so my preferences are kinda set.

I honestly don't know how I keep up. Except for trance (where this forum and YouTube are my primary sources), I kinda stumble upon the rest. Personal recommendations, some browsing, clicking randomly, watching movies...even going to a festival and stumbling upon a stage with acid and non-4x4 house, which I didn't even know existed. And once something grabs me, I try to explore it in depth. Go through the artist's discography, sets, similar artists etc.

I would love to discover more, of course, and I will. There's lots of artists that I discovered in the past year or so, in the genres I already love but it still felt like something fresh. I love that.

---

One question though, if you love some sub-genres already (like uplifting trance), but discover another sub-genre within its parent genre (say progressive trance), would you still count that as expanding your taste?
 

dmgtz96

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Haha I love that there's a member here who has a discussion with references. It clearly took you a lot of time to make this, mad respect. 👊

😊

A couple of things I deviate from here is that, at 13, I was listening to a lot of gay-boy-band pop (US5), and rap (Eminem, Xzibit and some domestic artists). And even though I can still digest 2 songs from US5 at most and a lot more of rap songs, my favourite songs ever are the ones discovered late in secondary school and college. And even though most of them were released when I was a kid or a teen, I still discovered them later, so there's no connection there for "music was better way back when...", at least for me. I didn't even know of some genres back then.

And most of the genres I discovered had come way after 13 - except for rap, I discovered trance at 17 for instance, and only a small subset of it, the taste and preferences kept developing more and more. A lot of which I love now has come even later (but I'd still say that discovering trance was a major event, not just genre-wise, but I found out I want something deeper, more meaningful from music).
Honestly, same. I didn't listen to much pop music until after I had graduated from high school. That was the same year I worked at a dead-end job before heading off to college (sometimes you need that to figure out what's worth it, haha). Pop from 2008-2014 reminded me of the "good old days" even though I didn't like high school as much as other parts in my life. I think it reminded me of a more optimistic time with less stress and responsibilities. When I discover new music from other genres (like kpop), there's just something special about the late 2000s and early 2010s that's hard to describe. I didn't know this music back then (not even a snowball's chance in hell), but it feels oddly nostalgic even today.
Interestingly enough, I started listening to trance mid-2011 when I was turning 15 years old. That was my go-to genre during high school, since everyone else heard pop or reggaeton. Not that there's anything wrong with those genres, but I liked listening to this sound that (for me) felt so foreign and unique.

I would say my peak influence (first graph) happened at either age 18 or 23-24, when I opened up to pop music again.

But I do deviate more and more from the popular stuff (even though I'm not afraid of it either). Music interests me a lot, and always has, so I just kept digging and digging. It's getting easier and easier to do so, so that might be a factor as well.
Same.
There's some cool stuff out there, but many popular songs feel like rehashes of things we heard years ago (incl. Despacito, which has a very basic chord progression). I think our older colleagues feel the same way about much more music.
I'm always glad to hear something popular that hadn't been done before or I wouldn't have imagined years ago, like The Weeknd - Heartless, Ariana Grande - Bad Idea, and BTS - On.
The 30 years being the cutoff point due to "life" makes sense. I thought it was 26, as it's often hypothesized that most of the great artists, scientists etc. made their best work before they were 26.

I am 25 BTW, soon to turn 26 and I still discover a lot. That would be a lot different if I had a job, which I should have had by now, but I don't.
I think, at least for scientists today, most of their best work will happen past the age of 30 or even 40. Unless they were child prodigies that obtained their PhD at 20, most scientists will still be PhD students at 25-26, when they're basically rookie researchers learning the ropes of scientific research. The great scientists were outliers indeed, and their work happened in a period where it was possible to perform groundbreaking research at such a young age.

One question though, if you love some sub-genres already (like uplifting trance), but discover another sub-genre within its parent genre (say progressive trance), would you still count that as expanding your taste?
I would say yes!
I think that's beyond the scope of the original authors' intent, since they mainly analyzed top 40 / top 100 charts. The key is in not listening to the same songs over and over without ever hearing something new.
 
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SecondNature

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Amazing write up, @dmgtz96!

What's interesting for me is that my older brother introduced me to trance at age 12 since he and his friends were listening in high school and it literally blew my mind; ever since then, has become a huge part of my life. It was just so interesting to listen to a lot of instrumentals and I was enthralled by the idea of mixing tracks together seamlessly. It was the opening of the world of electronic music and rave culture for me and honestly, I was ostracized for it because it was totally different from what my friends were listening to, which was a lot of rap & hip hop. BUT I always just loved music in general and thought of it as futuristic classical music with beats. Really breakthrough stuff.

Has your music taste stopped evolving? Why or why not?

I am 32 going on 33 and currently have no children, but I would say that my musical taste has not stopped evolving...but this also may be because I love, compose, and produce music, so I welcome different genres and perspectives, which I think helps people become more refined in their tastes and what they like. Without getting too philosophical, I think music truly transcends genres and people get attracted to whatever wavelength they can most best relate to.

For those whose music taste has not stopped evolving, how do you keep up?


I think the mindset of having to "keep up" with music can have a bit of a negative FOMO effect (Fear Of Missing Out, as the younger kiddos would say :sneaky:).

For me, I don't really keep up. I listen to the artists I like and discover new music when it comes my way. I make the music I want to listen to and don't feel the need to know the hottest new artist all the time. And honestly, there's so much great music out there that people discover everyday without it having to be at the bleeding edge of the musical forefront. Discovering great music released in the 90's is just as awesome as finding a new artist to listen to today.

When I do feel like searching for a new artist, I simply search related artists to artists I like. I discover music from family, friends, at parties (when they used to have them pre-covid), film scores and soundtracks, and even the good old folks here at TranceFix! I've taken note of the suggestions from the other music threads here and they're not the newest music, but they're new to me, and I'm alright with that.
 
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Psybee

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I'm a little skeptical of the 13/14 age date, but hey, the charts might not account for different cultures. For me at least, I didn't start listening to a lot of my favorite musicians until late teens through twenties. My tastes have gotten less aggressive, less speedcore/hard dance and more baleric/psytrance/ambient.

Overall, though, the article as a general rule seems pretty right on. Stuff that reminds me of the past, even if I'd never listened to those things back in the day, is something I'm interested in. For example, 80s pop is way better than I had realized.
 
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Magdelayna

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At 38,this is the first year i havnt had a yearly 'best of' Trance playlist...ive had one every year pretty much 1999...but this year i havnt even made one - a bit sad really that ive lost interest but i really havnt liked the direction the scene has been heading for a while now. Theres been a few tracks ive enjoyed this year,but thats it - im not sure why its got to this,i havnt even gone onto another style of music or anything. I just tend to listen to older Trance now - i suppose i have got over 20 years worth of it to listen to hehe.
 
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Recharge

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Hm interesting, according to that study at 14 my interest peaked, for me thats - (1999/2000) when I started listening to a lot of trance, so that's so on point. Around 25 - 2010 I lost interest because of various reasons - decline of trance, and such. I turned actually to more aggressive music which is contrary of most studies I know - Future bass and trap(bit of dubstep too), a lot future trance and hands up (still think they are the same style), happy hardcore. Then at 30 - 2016 I moved to the UK and started going to parties and rediscovering trance. I few year later I started learning how to dj. I know my taste is evolving constantly because these days I enjoy a lot of 90's trance and dance that back in the 90's I didn't so much. Also I started eventually getting into slower progressive and progressive house which is kind of on point with studies I know that with age we start loving slower/chiller music.

I still think my taste is evolving with times. Might be a fluke, because of djing. I am actually on the other side now, from a hardcore trance purist to someone who enjoys listening and playing all melodic electronic music. BTW I am a firm believer that everything around us evolves, and that we need to evolve too. But on the other hand right now I am rediscovering 90's trance and dance too and I love it.

Sometimes I feel strange saying that I am a purist because I also enjoyed the more pop vocal early 2000's trance - Lasgo, Ian Van Dahl, Groove Coverage. They have their place in history too. I think its because as a kid I loved 90's euro dance and euro trance and that music evolved into dream trance or these music/artists.

But this week working on my last song I feel I am slipping further and further from trance, the song is progressive breaks, but I see some future bass influence in the song. Another thing is I enjoy djing and listening trance, but not producing it. Feels less interesting...
 

Katadunkass

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Now, before I answer this one it's important to note I'm nowhere near being 30..... nowhere near! /sarcasm

This is for non-trance
Maybe I'm the odd one out here, but I actually listen to way more music now than I ever did. Back when I was 10-13 I mostly listened to a bit of easy-going rock and 80% 90's music which pretty much fills up my quilty pleasure list, haha.
During my 20's I started spreading my musical wings and "discovered" a lot of underground/indie music in lots of different sub-genres. I started to listen to a lot of indie-pop with darker tones and atmopheres and especially rock became a bigger part of my life, which, thanks to my dad, evolved even further to some fast-paced artists like Astronoid and Unreqvited.
Turning the clock backwards a couple of years and looking at my late 20's I finally discovered underground hip/hop and rap, which is like the last genre I never really enjoyed; Now I absolutely love RTJ and a lot of underground stuff from the 90's, but I honestly think if I discovered those tracks 10-15 years ago I would have dismissed them and quickly turned to DIdo with White Flags yet again (that track still bangs)

As for discovering new genres, artists and tracks I did something I told myself to never do again; Listening to radio. Danish radio stations are some of the worst in the world; If you're lucky you'll get like 10 songs each hour, the rest is talking and screaming from excentric hosts who tries to be funny. Instead I turned my ears to England and found BBC Radio 6 which I absolutely LOVE. They play a lot of non-popular songs and everything from Nils Frahm to Linkin Park can be played there.
I also spend a lot of time on Spotify and Bandcamp searching for new artists and trying to expand my musical taste even more. Today I would say my favourite genre is progressive-rock and indie-pop, but I can honestly say I've never listened to a wider range of music than I do now.

A genre of music I could never live without are game and movie soundtracks. Some of my best memories with music are from various game and movie ost's and some of them still gives me the chills. Now, many of these are for nostalgic reasons no doubt, but holy hell, NieR 2's soundtrack, which I discovered this year, might be some of the best I've listened to in years. So, thankfully I still discover awesome new music there as well.

As for what would happen in my 30's; I, of course, don't know, but my guess would be a deep dive into some of the favourite genres. Looking deeper into specific genres I like and perhaps even some classical music like Mozart and Vivaldi (Vivaldi rocks man). I surely do not hope my musical taste will stop evolving from here on out, but I'm almost at a point where I think I've listened to every genre in the world, haha (I know that's an over exaggeration). The only type of music I really haven't delved into is modern asian like k-pop.

As a final note; The lovely thing is; I still absolutely love most of the 90's stuff which I jacked off to back in the days. Seriously, Aqua is still awesome as hell and so is pretty much every single nut-hitting euro-house track released 20 years ago. That decade is still one of cheesiest and goofiest decades of music, but my god I love it to bits.
 

dmgtz96

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The only type of music I really haven't delved into is modern asian like k-pop.
Oh man, I remember not knowing Asian music even 2 years ago.
Someone with your wide music background would likely be a better fit for kindie/kr&b/khop vs. purely kpop. Something like this vs. the latest BTS/Blackpink release
 

Psybee

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As for what would happen in my 30's; I, of course, don't know, but my guess would be a deep dive into some of the favourite genres. Looking deeper into specific genres I like and perhaps even some classical music like Mozart and Vivaldi (Vivaldi rocks man).
Dude, listen to Waltz #2 by Shostakovich and the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. Those classical pieces are fire.
 
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