Musical Paralysis Happens A Lot Younger Than You Think

Unless you’re a teenager, you’ve probably noticed that our taste for discovering new music stagnates as we age. Musical paralysis is real, and it disturbs many adults we feel their love for music has decreased as they age. There are a lot of studies that back that feeling up, but sometimes the best data comes from the streaming platforms that actually serve us the music we listen to.

Musical paralysis by age

A New York Times review of Spotify data discovered that our musical preferences are set by what we listen to between the ages of 13 and 16 years old. In fact, for female listeners this is set more deeply set than in males. What’s more, a YouGov survey found that what we consider the “best decade in music” is largely dependent upon the era that we grew up in.

We Stop Discovering

Actually, there’s more to it than that. A study by streaming service Deezer found that our music discovery peaks at age 24 and begins to stagnate at age 31. By 33 we’re locked into what we listen to for the rest of our lives. We no longer listen to whatever music is popular at the moment and we listen to fewer artists when we stream.

So the question is, “If I loved music so much in my youth, why don’t I care as much about it after I hit 30-something?” If you think about it, the answers are pretty obvious, and the Deezer study confirmed them. We listen to music less because:

  1. We’re overwhelmed by the amount of choice available: 19%
  2. We have a demanding job: 16%
  3. We’re caring for young children: 11%

So basically, we’ve entered into real adulthood and that changes our priorities drastically.

These are exactly the same reasons an artist or band have a harder time getting people out to their gigs as they get older. Life gets in the way, and that doesn’t happen when you’re in your teens and of college age.

Like I said, there have been many studies on this, and the streaming platform data just lends credence to the findings. Music becomes less personally important to us as we age, even if we’re in the music business.

So if you’ve been bothered by musical paralysis, remember that it happens to everyone.

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