People stop listening to new music at 33, study shows

Ajay Kalia of Skynet & Ebert conducted the survey using Spotify data from US listeners

A new study has aimed to investigate at what age music fans stop listening to new artists.

Ajay Kalia of the website Skynet & Ebert conducted the survey using data from US Spotify listeners, as well as that of research company The Echo Nest.

Kalia’s results found that people, on average, stopped listening to new music at the age of 33. He writes, “While teens’ music taste is dominated by incredibly popular music, this proportion drops steadily through peoples’ 20s, before their tastes ‘mature’ in their early 30s,” continuing, “Until their early 30s, mainstream music represents a smaller and smaller proportion of their streaming. And for the average listener, by their mid-30s, their tastes have matured, and they are who they’re going to be.”


The study also shows that there’s a slight gender gap at play (“Women show a slow and steady decline in pop music listening from 13-49, while men drop precipitously starting from their teens until their early 30s, at which point they encounter the ‘lock-in’ effect”), also stating that becoming a parent “has an equivalent impact on your ‘music relevancy’ as aging about 4 years”.

Kalia attempts to explain the tendency to gravitate towards less mainstream, non-current music, writing, “Two factors drive this transition away from popular music. First, listeners discover less-familiar music genres that they didn’t hear on FM radio as early teens, from artists with a lower popularity rank. Second, listeners are returning to the music that was popular when they were coming of age – but which has since phased out of popularity.”

Read the full study here.

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