Does your music define you?


Widely reported across the news networks (and on BBC News) is a study by a Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University which claims musical taste and personality type are closely related.

Apparently people can be lumped in to genre categories, much like some music publications lump music. And it seems being a Metallica fan tells the admen lots about you. Over to the Prof: “If you know a person’s music preference you can tell what kind of person they are, who to sell to.”

This might be rather sinister were it not so obviously flawed. It presupposes that classical music fans would only ever listen to classical music; that Metallica fans would only ever dress in black and thrill to the sound of Kirk Hammett’s axe.

At least he clarifies one thing: “The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things.”

The study claims that if you identify with whatever “indie” is these days (English boys strumming their way to major label Tesco success, perhaps) then you have low self-esteem, you are creative but not hard working and, most curiously, you’re not gentle.

Yet I’m probably not alone in knowing of people who are as happy listening to a Philip Glass CD as they are throwing shapes to whatever Paul Oakenfold happens to be spinning. Depending on my mood I’m as happy with The Field‘s electronic dystopia as I am with the lonesome acoustica of Bon Iver.

Does the Prof understand the people he presumes to study? Do you define yourself by your music taste?

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