The Demographics of Taste

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Friday fun link: Last.fm musical preferences graphed by age and sex.

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  1. How is it that The Beatles are still that popular?

    1. What’s really striking is that their fan base skews so young.

      1. I found that true of a lot of bands. I didn’t know anyone under the age of 30 listened to Iron Maiden or Rush. The gender balance was generally what I expected to see across the board.

        1. I work at a university, and it’s certainly not unusual to see kids in Zeppelin, Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden t-shirts. The other day, I saw a guy in a Saxon t-shirt, which really threw me. They were barely worth listening to back in the day.

        2. Really, I didn’t think men listened to James Last. Then again, I didn’t think anybody listened to James Last any more.

          1. Who’s James Last

            1. James Last, crappy German bandleader.

              Oh my, he’s got his own website, and has scheduled another concert tour for Germany and the UK for 2011.

      2. I’m guessing this simply averaged the age of all people listening to X, and there are just way more young people on last.fm.

        They should have made one where they corrected for demos.

      3. Guitar Hero. My kids picked up quite a bit of classic rock from the games.

        1. I have no doubt that Guitar Hero and Rock Band in all their iterations have exposed younger people to bands they might not have listened to otherwise.

          1. I have no doubt that Guitar Hero and Rock Band in all their iterations have exposed younger people to bands they might not have listened to otherwise.

            Slash from Guns’n Roses?

      4. MP|10.8.10 @ 3:33PM|#
        How is it that The Beatles are still that popular?

        reply to this
        Jesse Walker|10.8.10 @ 3:39PM|#
        What’s really striking is that their fan base skews so young.

        When they played their music to the focus group, the kids thought they were listening to Oasis.

    2. MP|10.8.10 @ 3:33PM|#
      “How is it that The Beatles are still that popular?”

      Maybe the music is good. Just a guess.

  2. Thanks for confirming I was born at the wrong time.

    1. Thanks for confirming I was born at the wrong time.

      FIFY ;P

  3. Based on my favorite groups listed, Im 31 years old and 85% male.

    1. Which is weird because Im 41 and thought YES (and Kings X) would have scewed a bit older, not younger.

      I guess its the fact that their listeners are so young. Plus, Rush is sitting in the mid 20s (but, while Im a fan, I dont consider them one of my favorites).

      1. The occupations chart fits my musical age better than my actual age. Huh.

    2. Based on my favorite groups listed, I don’t exist.

  4. How do Rush, Yes and Genesis trend younger than Tangerine Dream?

    1. How does Yes trend yournger than King’s X?

    2. I’m also surprised that Tangerine Dream was such a pickle party band. And apparently, fusion jazz is the one genre women hate more than death metal.

      1. Yes, women hate Chick Corea, apparently.

  5. Haha. U2 suck so bad they didn’t even make the list.

    Disturbingly, however, is that The WuTang Clan didn’t either. I’m calling racism.

    1. No Zeppelin on there either, I think, which is surprising.

      1. Am I the one person who can’t stand either Led Floyd or Pink Zeppelin?

        1. Yes. Although I know Johnny Rotten hated Floyd. Of course Floyd’s very contemplative, and if you’re Johnny Rotten I’m guessing contemplation would be quite irritating. Also, my wife doesn’t like LZ but she likes pop country so you know her opinion doesn’t really count.

          1. I don’t like pop country either.

            I’d like to beat the shit out of Toby Keith; that’s got to count for something in terms of taste.

    2. U2’s audience is a focus group.

      1. And sometimes a list is just a list.

  6. Why is the author surprised that NPR rates so high with men when later he notes that jazz rates higher with men? In most cities NPR is the only radio outlet for jazz.

    1. I’ve got DirecTV, and they’ve got a couple dozen music channels in the 800s, of which two or three are jazz. (Not that I listen to them; I listen to the 80s channel if I listen to any of them.)

  7. It’s a graph of how marketing-determined the sexes’ consumer preferences are.

    And that’s why TV sucks.
    (“FUCK YOU MAN my gf went to the High On Fire show with me and fuckin’ dug it.”)

  8. I have alays wondered why more gays aren’t outraged by the stereotype that they only enjoy shitty music.

    1. Have you known any gay men? I remember parking in the garage of the insurance company I worked for, when this rather flamboyant guy came driving in, blaring ABBA.

      At the same company, I was in a meeting with a gay friend and another woman who could be somewhat loopy. We were trying to tell her that there was only one instance of a particular problem, and she wasn’t getting it. We repeated “One!” over and over, until he launched into “One” from A Chorus Line. I mean c’mon – any straight guy would have gone with Metallica or Harry Nilsson.

    2. Probably the same reason they don’t rail against the stereotype that they’re totally gay.

    3. Is that so? Why then can you dance at a gay club, but all you can do at a straight club is be annoyed by all the douchebags?

      1. Because you’re going to the wrong straight clubs? Or you just get annoyed at the fact that none of they guys there want to fuck you?

        I should have added to my anecdotes that Joy Division / New Order, Bronski Beat, Depeche Mode, etc., etc., have come out with some good songs. But the Broadway shit has got to go.

      2. Here you go, Tony – the British Lady Gaga, circa 2002.

  9. In my experience everyone, without exception, despises Lenny Kravitz’ version of American Woman. It is universally accepted as truly awful.

    WHY does this song still get played?

    1. Because Lenny Kravitz oozes cool

      1. I have to agree with Jeff on this one. He oozes something entirely different on that song.

    2. I join the “it sucks” vote.

    3. The worst cover song ever made. When a song is perfectly good, don’t bother covering it… or take a steaming dump on in this case.

      1. Worse than the Baby I Love Your Way/Free Bird medley?

        I have a feeling some of you might select the Captain and Tennille version of Shop Around, but I like it.

        1. You’re making that up.

        2. You should die in a fire for knowing that pile of steaming excrement exists. And now I should, too. Thanks.

        3. WHAT.

          THE.

          FUCK.

          Thanks for exposing us to that, asshole.

  10. Women in their 20s listen to Etta James? 30-year-olds listen to Abba?

    It is a strange and wonderful world.

  11. Is Zappa listed? How the hell can any list of musicians favored by males not include Zappa!

    I am sure my 22 & 25 year-ol sons are not unique in their enjoyment of the late 60s & early 70s guitar gods: Santanna, Clapton, Zappa, Greg Allman, Jeff Beck and their ilk. Again my sons will not be alone in being blasted from birth while riding in the car with their dad by the guitar gods (as opposed to their mum always playing whatever the latest chick C&W performer was on the charts).

    1. The list isn’t meant to be all inclusive, or obviously the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson (to name two huge omitted artists) would be on there.

      1. I’m pretty sure this is “the white folks'” list.

        1. Pretty sure that “white folks” don’t listen to Kinki Kids, black gospel, the O’Jays, or Tomohisa Yamashita (????, Yamashita Tomohisa in last name first order) aka “Yamapi,” to take a few names on the list.

          Perhaps you’re only recognizing the “white folks” thing on the list?

    2. You know, I don’t just not like Floyd and Zeppelin, I find that I dislike most boomer rock.

    3. Duane Allman, praise by upon him, is the guitar God. Greg played the piano and sang.

  12. The survey tended to be predominantly transgendered or bi, if I’m reading the graph axis right, so this chart might be more relevant to the feministing crowd. 😉

    Seriously, didn’t see any groups I listen to on the chart at all — no Low, or Modest Mouse, or Los Halos, or Acetone — WTF?

  13. David Lindley?! I’m supposed to be listening to David Lindley… and Dan Fogelberg? Am I reading this (difficult to read) plot correctly?

  14. And 20-year-olds are still listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers? How quaint.

  15. Where is the machine music?

  16. Jesus, my age cohort listens to some unmitigated crap. And just about everything I listen to is on the 20 yo axis.

    I guess my wife is right. I never grew up.

    1. I resemble that remark.

  17. This assumes the age data is accurate. On every free internet site I register on, I’m 14 years of age. Last.fm thinks I’m 17 now.

  18. I like the Soilwork-Slayer-Iron Maiden-Metallica stack there. Soilwork is sort of tolerable, but it’s kind of stunning that they’re popular enough to be on that list.

  19. I don’t see any EDM on there, so they’re obviously missing a huge section of the population.

    Never heard of last.fm anyway – I produce my own music, download from beatport, and have xm satellite radio, so I don’t have to listen to the same music that came out almost 40 years ago.

    But different strokes for different folks, of course.

    1. I don’t see a shitload of artists that, whether I listen to them or not, is irrelevant. Unless there’s something I’m missing here, let me take a stab.

      There’s this “Usher” fellow I’ve heard of. Seems to be popular. I don’t see him on the board. But “Kings X” makes the board.

      This Last.fm outfit must draw predominantly white men who can’t find certain things in print or on the regular radio anymore, and thus go to Last.fm.

      Or something.

      1. You’re partially right, but I think wrong about the “white men” part. I see bands like Kinki Kids in the second graph. That’s a Japanese boy band. Also various Korean and Chinese bands as well.

    2. Hey — one of my favorite genres is music that came out a quarter millennium ago. Give me Bach, Vivaldi, H?ndel, and the other baroque composers any day.

      1. Vivaldi wrote the same concerto 400 times. Kind of like The Ramones.

  20. Also, why do womyn after the age of 40 not listen to music?

    1. Oh Oh! I can answer that. Because by the time we hit 40, we just want a little peace & quiet (ahhhhhh phone rings NOOOOOOOOOOOO)

      except at 5 AM when you wake up rarin to greet the new day & it’s Bush, Aerosmith, Metallica & Green Day 2 notches below full volume
      paybacks are a bitch

  21. What’s also interesting is that certain bands seem to maintain their age demographic.

    Suggesting that people grow out of their sound and move on, with new listeners moving into their audience, then growing out etc.

    Take Metallica. Popular with young men of the late teens early 20s set.

    ORly? Metallica has been around since before I was in high school and I’m supposed to be listening to Dan Fogelberg, according to the chart. So that should give you an idea of my age.

    Why isn’t Metallica moving down-chart with their aging 40+ yro fans?

    1. Because this chart is total bullshit. That’s why. Just sayin’

      1. I mean seriously, how many 35 year old women can be listening to Donny Osmond? In fact, I can’t imagine more than a handful of people listening to many of these artist on a regular basis. Catain & Tennille? Really? If we have that many woman in this country listening to Muskrat Love, we should all be very concerned.

        1. Not *that* many of either, since in both cases the fonts sizes are kind of small.

  22. Saffron from Republica… the only woman in the world who can rock a mullet and still be sexy.

    That is all.

  23. I still don’t understand how last.fm works.

    I have trouble believing that anybody in their mid-20s listens to, let alone remember, the Murmurs.

    1. Last.fm: You listen to stuff, or else just tell them what you like. They recommend things that are supposed to objectively sound similar to what you listen to, and things that people who listen to the same things as you listen to.

      Pandora: Similar, except that they don’t try to use software to objectively measure songs. Instead, they have a bunch of human musicologists do the same thing, and recommend songs similar to what you like.

      They both try to do complicated things like figure out exactly why you like A, based on the fact that you also like B and C. (For example, people can like the Beatles for lots of different reasons, and it doesn’t easily predict what else you’d like.)

  24. I hate those charts. I can’t wait for the whole “visual presentation of information” fad to pass.

    1. Pass? Don’t be silly. Next up is 3D presentation of information.

  25. Did anyone else notice that women pretty much STOP LISTENING to LastFM after about 30?

    1. Yes. That was the most amazing datum presented.

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