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New Study Indicates That “Musical Paralysis” Sets In By Age 30
Andrew O'Brien | Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Photo: Christian Stewart, from SweetWater 420 Fest 2018

A new study conducted suggests that people over the age of 30 tend not to seek out new music, a state referred to as “musical paralysis.”

The survey, conducted by music streaming service Deezer, polled 1,000 Americans about their listening habits and found that, on average, people reach “musical paralysis” at an age of 29 years and 10 months. The results also indicate that people, on average, reach the peak of their music discovery efforts around age 26.

However, the study suggests that this phenomenon does not result from an overarching opinion about new music, but rather is an issue of time and convenience. As Billboardnotes, “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.”

Diving further into the causes of this 30-year new music plateau, the study observes that many people over this age feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music now available to them. 24% of respondents noted that they are too busy with professional responsibilities to devote time to actively discovering new music, while 15% cited childcare as the main reason behind moving new music down on their list of priorities.

With just 1,000 respondents participating, the study is relatively small in scope—likely too small to make any broad proclamations based on its results. It was also conducted by a streaming service that counts music discovery capabilities as one of its features, meaning it potentially has a considerable amount to gain from these favorable results.

However, the study does illuminate some interesting ideas and common sentiments. One such takeaway is the notion that by age 30, music consumers are more likely to patronize platforms that easily curate the music they already know and love. The generally agreed-upon desire of respondents to expand their musical horizons is also notable. While listeners may be more likely to engage with a service that easily provides music familiar to them, the majority of people appear to crave a platform that also provides easy, low-effort access to new music.

Of course, there’s something to be said for figuring out what you like and remaining loyal to it. Your relationships with the bands you love can be some of the most positive relationships you have in your life. But don’t forget—at one point, you had to discover them, too. There’s plenty of fish in the musical sea. As you get on in years, don’t let “musical paralysis” close you off to the possibility of falling in love all over again.
 

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If you read the article, you get the impression that “Musical Paralysis” is a highly inaccurate name for the phenomenon and was, therefore, made up for the purpose of a catchy headline rather than accuracy. Per article, what actually happens is that people get too busy to spend time on new music discovery by age 30. That’s not paralysis, that’s just getting too busy. Convenient music discovery, for example as implemented by Spotify’s various auto-customized lists, is a solution.

Still interesting, thanks for posting!
 

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If you read the article, you get the impression that “Musical Paralysis” is a highly inaccurate name for the phenomenon and was, therefore, made up for the purpose of a catchy headline rather than accuracy. Per article, what actually happens is that people get too busy to spend time on new music discovery by age 30. That’s not paralysis, that’s just getting too busy. Convenient music discovery, for example as implemented by Spotify’s various auto-customized lists, is a solution.

Still interesting, thanks for posting!
I think we change socially as well.
I don’t go to a friends house anymore and sit in his room “listening to tunes” the way I did when we were teens. If I see a friend, it’s over lunch or golf. Again, related to the lack of time adults have, or maybe a different preferred use of time.
 

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I think we change socially as well.
I don’t go to a friends house anymore and sit in his room “listening to tunes” the way I did when we were teens. If I see a friend, it’s over lunch or golf. Again, related to the lack of time adults have, or maybe a different preferred use of time.
Fair enough, but it is still not paralysis, a term which to me implies some inherent inability to do something. It is just a change in life priorities, not an age-related mental change implied by the word paralysis.

I guess I take personal offence to this inaccurate term here. I have absolutely discovered and now regularly listen to a bunch of new music and music styles as recently as yesterday, and I am a little over 30. I even coined a new term for some relatively new music style I call “Millennial Hippy” — I make good humoured fun of the generation, but I sure do like some of its music :).
 

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Many of the people I know who don’t play an instrument are still listening the Darkside and such. They pretty much stopped taking on anything new before they hit 25.
 

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I like stuff I would have hated when I was 29 yeaRS & 10 months
And Vice versa
 
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Fair enough, but it is still not paralysis, a term which to me implies some inherent inability to do something. It is just a change in life priorities, not an age-related mental change implied by the word paralysis.

I guess I take personal offence to this inaccurate term here. I have absolutely discovered and now regularly listen to a bunch of new music and music styles as recently as yesterday, and I am a little over 30. I even coined a new term for some relatively new music style I call “Millennial Hippy” — I make good humoured fun of the generation, but I sure do like some of its music :).
Paralysis is a strong word. It implies an inability of sorts. I don’t think that’s accurate.
It’s a lack of interest to explore, a stagnation. Even a monogamy. But I do think it exists. Many posts on this forum reflect it IMO.
 

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I was in my mid 30's when a buddy at work introduced me to some Black and Death Metal. I've gotten heavier as I got older (not in weight, I'm still 145lbs. lol) I'm a bit of an anomaly I guess.
 

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I’m well over 30 but am discovering new music all the time. Never listened to blues before, now I do, never listened to pop before, now I do. Never listened to extreme alt bands like Sigur Ross, now I do. I call BS but maybe folks in this guitar-oriented forum are an exception.
 

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There has been something that has improved my musical paralysis...it's called retirement.:)
 

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My parents were so closed-minded to my music, I swore I'd never be like that. I'd always be up on the newest stuff and stay open-minded. But the generation after me came out with such shitty music, that wasn't an option. :D I had to hate it. Just like may parents hated mine. So it wasn't my closed-mind, it was those new creators not accurately hitting me as their demographic. LOL


Seriously, IME, this happened to me and my buds at closer to 40 years old. Perhaps they should have stake the time as 35 yo, +/- 5 years?

It isn't so much that I don't like newer music, I'm just not exposed to it or listen for it. I drive around listening to talk radio (more interested in current affairs and politics now than I was in my 20s). I also find, with limited time, I'm listening more to learn songs than for my own enjoyment. As @Diablo said, I don't sit around with my buddies smoking blunts and listening to the newest purchases.

And I'm not the only one. The rest of my band struggles with incorporating newer music into our set list because we don't listen to much of what's out there, we just hear 'the big sellers'. the 'top of the pop'. And, as always, 'the biggest sellers' isn't the best music being produced. It's the McDonalds of musical creation.
 

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Well, my parents sticked to "60-"70 ies radio music...
We had no money for the arts...
As a young adult, I was studying, studying, studing, working and got married with kids.
Been a few yeays without any guitar in the house... Had no money for the arts...
By 35, I joined Columbia Records and bought a bunch of "Best of..." cassettes of artists/groups I did not know.
By 50, I dived in ol Delta Blues my parents would not dare listen to.
So, I feel I am quite odd...as in odd ratios... out of these statistics... ;-)
 

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I'm old (55)... listen to Alt Nation (Sirius satellite) or Today's Al (on Google). I realized a while back that I couldn't live with my past and need to look to today.,.
 
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