Radio programmers who work in country and other adult-leaning formats might well be heartened by a new study from an online company that suggests listeners over the age of 30 have little time for music discovery.
Deezer’s poll of 1,000 Americans found that on average, people reach “musical paralysis” — a point when they stop actively seeking out new music — at 29 years and 10 months, roughly four years after their music discovery efforts reach their peak.
The behavioral changes don’t signal a distaste for music — in fact, 60 percent of respondents indicated they would like to expand their musical repertoire. An equal 60 percent said they feel stuck in a musical rut, listening only to music they already know.
But many are overwhelmed by the volume of music available to them, and others cited the encroachment of life demands as a reason for their change in music-discovery habits. Some 24 percent said demanding jobs reduced their ability to stay on top of new music, while 15 percent indicated that caring for children pushed new music to a lower priority.
That information leads to some interesting, if unsubstantiated, interpretations. It would suggest that around age 30, most consumers are likely to increase their reliance on pre-curated platforms that offer music they’re likely to enjoy. Given the desire to increase their repertoire, it also indicates that the platforms that succeed in holding their attention will provide at least enough new music to satisfy that taste for new selections and keep them from losing interest.
The ideal balance between new and familiar titles, of course, remains up for debate, but the jobs of music directors and playlist specialists remain vital, particularly in formats with heavy adult audiences.