The Age When Your Music Taste Officially Gets Old, According To Research

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woman dancing listening to music in headphones

Music seems like a very weird, yet common thing that all older people gripe about. They typically all agree that each younger generation's music is garbage and that their music is far, far superior.

Your parents griped about your music, and you probably swore you would never, EVER be like that when you got "old."

The age when your music taste officially gets old, according to research.

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We're sorry to break it to you, but you are like that or are on the way to being like that. 

A study that crunched info from American Spotify users and Echo Nest artist popularity data found that people start finding new music as "racket" at age 33.

There are two reasons for this: 1) The older crowd starts to find music they weren’t listening to in their early teens and that was less popular, and 2) They tend to go back to the music that was popular and relatable during their "coming of age" years.

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The study found that although we're heavily into popular music during our teen years that begins to steadily decline throughout our 20s. Our musical tastes then "mature" in our 30s. Interestingly, men revolt against mainstream music sooner than women, right after their teen years end.

Men and women also listen to similar music in their teens, but after that, men’s mainstream music listening decreases much faster than it does for women. At any age, people with children (inferred from listening habits) listen to a smaller amount of currently popular music than the average listener of that age.

Parents tend to listen to less currently popular music than non-parents, and having kids speeds up your music-aging process by four years.

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The average U.S. teen is almost exclusively listening to and streaming very popular music. Even in the age of media fragmentation, most young listeners start their musical journey by listening to music among the Billboard 200 before branching out to other genres.

And that is exactly what happens next. As people age out of their teens and grow up into their 20s, their music taste takes them out of the most popular songs. Until their early 30s, mainstream music represented 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.

What we don't know is if this process is inevitable, but if you hear yourself at a bar or restaurant saying "What the heck is this they're playing," you'll know it's begun, and if you don't know what music is popular, wait until you have kids and they can tell you when they're teenagers.

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Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.