Do older people hate new music?

I saw this article today: Why do older people hate new music?

We know that musical tastes begin to crystallize as early as age 13 or 14. By the time we’re in our early 20s, these tastes get locked into place pretty firmly.

In fact, studies have found that by the time we turn 33, most of us have stopped listening to new music. Meanwhile, popular songs released when you’re in your early teens are likely to remain quite popular among your age group for the rest of your life.

There could be a biological explanation for this. There’s evidence that the brain’s ability to make subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms and melodies gets worse with age. So to older people, newer, less familiar songs might all “sound the same.”

Has anyone here found that to be true? I’m not convinced that it’s due to age. I’m in my 40s and I listen to new music all the time. :thinking:

I think it’s easy enough to get into new music by playing it repeatedly in the background for a while. After you’ve listened to it in the background for a few days, then listen to it while paying attention. Ears need time to get used to a new style before they can understand that style’s way of creating tension and release.

While we’re on the topic of music, feel free to post links to some music that you like. It might help other users find interesting things to get into. :slight_smile:


Mmm interesting. Maybe because as we grow old we do less diverse things and stick to what we have come to love throughout many years. But I doubt its biological because Ive met some elderly that really got hooked to learning new things and music and develop a love for a diversity of new stuff. But its clearly much more complex than that evidently.

Arvo Pärt is my most listened to composer these darker days. When all meditation fails to help me clear my mind and breath, he does the trick. Well him and Anouar Brahem

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I have heard this many times: “good music ended in the 70s”, “nothing like the 80s”, “nowadays they don’t do music like 20 years ago (2000)”, “today’s lyrics are meaningless”’ etc.
Yes, people grow old, and there might be a biological reason, but also some people get old in their mind, and some DECIDE, in spite of biology, to stay young and open to new things. I don’t want to blame biology for everything that happens in my life.

In addition to that, the way music is produced and transmitted has change a lot during the last century, and each decade works on a different way: radio, lp, video, digital streaming, etc. One cannot just expect to turn on the radio and hear good music, one needs to go and actively search for it, and with the internet now, possibilities are endless.

I am not a musician, nor an expert in music, but I have friends who understand more and introduce me to new music (new for me). Recently I listen early baroque, neo-progressive and other things I do not know how to categorize.


I love Arvo Part but it is not something I can listen to everyday.

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Yes, sometimes I do need to listen a piece or a song few times before “connecting” with it.
Regarding memory, I have some pieces of baroque that I use as background when memorizing. Not all classical music is useful for me, but I have some pieces that work better for me.

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I didn’t really like any music until I was in my mid teens.

I often hear about people have certain types of songs that they listen to and like. They tend to classify it as pop,jazz,rock and etc. I suppose when you are older you may take such categorisation as a barrier to music and reinforce it, preventing yourself from liking anything that is not it. For some people this may be ‘new music’ or ‘older music’. I don’t really think there is enough of a biological case to prevent you from liking new music.

I haven’t experienced requiring listening to a song multiple times to like it but I have found some songs I liked more the more I listened to them. I have also had songs I strongly disliked in the past but like much more now. All this said I am not exactly old enough, so I wouldn’t personally know.

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That’s interesting. I like oud music. I don’t know how to play, but I used to have one. Thanks for the links.

That Arvo Pärt song reminds me of Erik Satie.

I remember when I discovered YouTube and suddenly could find any obscure music I was interested in. There are over 100 years of recorded music from around the world, so the choices are nearly endless. :slight_smile:


Q: What do you get when you play C&W music backwards?

A: You get your job back, your truck back, your dog back…

I don’t like most music. I think it’s too sophisticated for my tastes. For various reasons, there was not much music in my childhood. In other families people listened to radio, cassette decks etc and talked about the music but I didn’t take an interest.The result is that my appreciation is underdeveloped and I find modern music difficult. I play a hand drum because percussion is easier to understand.

I’m sure I could remedy this were I motivated. I believe @Josh’s suggestion of background exposure would be effective but I have other things I’m interested in. I’ve never felt the need for music just to fill the space in my head.

It wasn’t always so, this ubiquity of music in a wide range and high quality. Through most of history, if you lived in a village or a town you were stuck with local talent and a limited range. The first changes were the radio and gramaphone till today when you can carry a week’s listening in your pocket. One effect, I believe is that even light popular music has become quite complicated and sophisiticated.

I compare this with Visual Arts and Painting where most people have very limited exposure and find abstract art totally baffling. One needs to look closely at quite a few good paintings before one can appreciate what modern artists are doing.


It is very interesting to read about the background of others, so as to be able to understand a bit more why we like different things, have different perspectives or even a completely different worldview.
During my childhood music was always present at home, often classical music or other kinds of music, from various styles, periods and languages. Years listening to my father playing the piano, my mother singing, one of my brothers playing guitar and singing -from rock to opera- my sister dancing. I received zero musical gifts, and I am almost tone deaf, but that exposure made music relevant to my life.
[Edit] The same with books. My house was full of books, of all kinds, and my parents were always reading, and at table we often had conversations of all kinds from biology and chemistry to philosophy or history, or religion. Of course most of the time was just normal topics, but again, the exposure is important.
Sorry for extending this post. I never was exposed to racism at home (or classism, that is more common in my country), not even a bit. I knew there was racism in the world, but I was not able to detect it close to me until much later. I had racist classmates, but at that time I did not discovered it, only later I understood. Early exposure is important.
I was not exposed to memory methods :rofl:


I think that’s true about childhood exposure. Whether or not parents read at home for is probably the most important factor in a a child’s literacy. As in your house, I grew up with books. Books were interesting, they were important. My father was an author.

But it’s complicated and natural talent or propensity is is a big player. I just am very verbal and took to the books eagerly. And I took to other things that my parents had no interest or even ability for. I couldn’t be kept away from machinery. When my parents left the house, I would grab a screwdriver and start taking things apart. The tape recorder, the telephone, if it had screws I would wait my chance. Nor was there any math or science but I found my way to those too. Had I really wanted music, I could have sought it out for myself.

Much later in life, I decided to take an interest in music because I believe it is important. I took up hand drumming and a bit of singing for my own enjoyment. It’s been very enriching and enjoyable but it did not unleash a great surge of enthusiasm or ideas. I think the most useful insight was that I am not much music and should be following other things.

I too wonder what my life would have been like had been taught memory techniques as a child. More poignantly I wonder what I could have done for my kids had I known such methods existed.


One aspect most articles like these forget when it comes to music is that it is not just the music that plays a role in wether or not older people hate new music. I am just 21 so I still keep up with new music and in my opinion, the “environmental” factors also play a huge role like dancing, clothingstyle, trends and something that gets more and more important; technology.

I was a bit out of the hiphop game and dance trends for a while and I experienced something that perhaps others have experienced as well.
When I tried to listen to new music that came out, I sometimes just wouldn’t get it, I couldn’t get the appeal that other would have but then I would see a video of someone dancing with this new dance move and suddenly “I get it”, the music becomes more appealing and fun.

Listen to this song:

It doesn’t sound very appealing, it is simple and repetitive. One might say just simply ugly.

Now watch this video with the same song but now with people in the video.

Something is different, right? You were still hearing the same music but because people were dancing to it, it all felt more appealing.

Now imagine that but also with clothing, dances, trends etc all of these can influence your taste in music as well and wether or not you like it. For older people, this seems like a completely new world because it is often not just the music that you have to “get” and sometimes it is not the music at all that you have to get in order for you to like the music!

I think that this plays a very important role in this topic’s question.


I cannot completely say what makes someone hate or love music and its different types.

As for my case, My twin brother and I have grown up together,sharing the same environment but we both have grown different tastes and interest towards music.

My brother cannot live without music,he listens to it all the time, he cannot even study without his headphones on. He also does music producing in free time.

He likes songs with good music,bass and beat. He searches for songs with good drops and music.

However as for me,I like music only when I am in the mood of listening otherwise its a distraction.

I prefer songs that expresses a deep meaning through its lyrics. I search for the literal meaning in a song.

So I guess the taste towards Music comes from one’s thinking and personality. Thus it is unique for everyone’s case.

I think this taste changes with age because our thinking changes, the way we see the world and everything.

However its not necessary, one can also change their taste based on the events one is facing in his/her life.


I love new music. I may not like every genre, but I love exploring and finding bands that I love in genres that I generally dislike.

As for the general music that I like, I prefer to listen to music with a message, genre then no longer matters. Music that makes you think, music that makes you feel, music that you have to put on repeat if you want to fully grasp the lyrics and the emotion.


… I will take the yes side …

Or it could be that much of the junk on the radio is trivial, contrived, repetitive noise with little or no variation in tempo or volume. Music written by children for children with all of the angst and immaturity of a teenager.

Being older means that I have listened to an incredible range of musical talent. It also means that all the silliness and angst of youth is behind me and that the lyrics often just annoy me as insipid or inane.

I don’t hate this but I am not the target market and even in my youth I was not interested in music/musicians that had a target market.


My parents told me this about the music that was popular when I grew up.

My grandparents said the same things to my parents.

Their parents told them too.

And their parents cited the same lines.

Every generation judges the next because they think the new generation refuses to see the beauty of what was, while themselves ignoring the beauty of what is. They complain about the ugly that is but ignore the ugly that was.

So to expand on my previous comment:

We live in a world where every small thing reaches us and we complain about that while forgetting that we came from a world where we were forced to like every bit of information we got because it was precious. Music has the same problem. People used to buy albums and you better deal with the songs you didnt like. Now we get faced with more than we can grasp and we complain about the huge variety that is presented.

We have immense musical talent in the world, more than ever before. But that same system also forces us to filter more. Every day sees the rise of new talent, but with that comes a great amount of experimental, non-mainstream tunes. The great succes of current day music is proven by the great following it developed. The fact that defined groups generally do not appreciate it is no valid measurement of quality. Otherwise mozart would be terrible because most metalheads, indies, hipsters and rockers dont want to listen to it.

Watching the modern day talent shows this. Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, they are known for being immature and reckless. Though we ignore that they have slowly grown more mature as well, as has their music.

Music did not get worse, the variety got larger and the need to filter got more important. Most teens listen to music that is not mainstream, like they always have. They are searching for themselves through the mediums that are proposed to them. Be that books, movies or music. Let them explore, let them enjoy, and let them discover. Allow music to be what it develops to be, and it can do everything humanity as a whole wants it to do


Hi Folks,

I read an interesting study about pop music becoming homogeneous over time. Maybe it could be related to quality.

After peaking in the 1960s, timbral variety has been in steady decline to the present day, the researchers found. That implies a homogenization of the overall timbral palette, which could point to less diversity in instrumentation and recording techniques. Similarly, the pitch content of music has shriveled somewhat. The basic pitch vocabulary has remained unchanged—the same notes and chords that were popular in decades past are popular today—but the syntax has become more restricted. Musicians today seem to be less adventurous in moving from one chord or note to another, instead following the paths well-trod by their predecessors and contemporaries.

On the other hand, I think that maybe when people have fewer resources available, creativity can flow more freely.

For instance, I usually listen to (very) old music, like this:


Is that Sephardic music? It sounds like there is an echo of Renaissance melody just after 1:07. (The phrase reminds me of John Dowland at 0:17 here.)

The youth have been a disaster in every generation since there were words to complain with.

In every generation the next has turned its back on fundamental values, let standard slides and avoided anything that requires hard work. They mock all that’s sacred are damn noisy about it too.

The first human beings were saints - it’s been steady decline ever since.


I do feel that a lot of youth music is irrelevant to me. It’s about emotions and experiences that young people like to spend time with - that’s probably as should be. Young people should be doing their thing.

For me, “new” music doesn’t necessarily mean recent in time — it just means new to me. I don’t really like the sound of processing techniques like this that remove subtleties like micro-rhythms. The music is so uniform that you can literally copy and paste sections of the song on a computer around without problems. :confused:

Maybe every generation has had a tendency to reject new technologies (amplification, distortion, synthesizers, dubbing, etc.), but my dislike of that processing method isn’t related to the original article’s speculation:

There could be a biological explanation for this. There’s evidence that the brain’s ability to make subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms and melodies gets worse with age. So to older people, newer, less familiar songs might all “sound the same.”

This is an example of a “new” kind of music that I never liked in the past, but got into recently. I think it was released almost 20 years ago.

I still don’t like the production so much, but the guitar playing is good, like the section that starts around 19 minutes and 45 seconds into the video.

From there, I discovered 1970s fusion guitar players like (older) Allan Holdsworth , John Etheridge, John McLaughlin , and Pete Cosey. I’ve been listening to them non-stop for weeks.

Part of my interest in that style was started by Allan Holdsworth’s talk about scale construction. I started listening to a few tracks based on his ideas about scales and then found the old recordings from the 1970s and the similar guitarists based on recommendations. Once I understood a little bit about what he was trying to do, and listened to it enough times for it to make sense, I started to like it.

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