Seth Stephens-Davidowitz of the New York Times decided to do a study to find out when most people form their primary musical tastes. The findings showed that most women form their favorite musical tastes by the age of 13 while men form them by age 14.
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For the study, streaming music provider Spotify provided data on the listening habits of men and women. The data was looked at to figure out what chart-topping songs between 1960 and 2000 men and women listened to most. For example, the song “Creep” by Radiohead was the 168th favorite song of 38 year old men. That song came out in 1993, when those men would have been 14.
According to Digital Music News:
The most important period in forming lifelong musical tastes for men comes between ages 13 to 16. Women formed their tastes slightly earlier than men, roughly between ages 11 to 14. Analyzing Spotify’s data, Stephens-Davidowitz found that older women’s favorite songs typically came out when they were 13.
When people turned 20, the new music they heard became only half as influential as new music heard during their teenage years.
But it’s not all cut-and-dry.
69 year old women, for example, love Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty woman” which came out when they were 11. On the other hand 63 year old men love Can Morrison’s “Crazy Love” which came out when they were 16.
But something that was intuitively assumed – the idea that we form our musical tastes as young teenagers – now has some hard data behind it.