I argued in an earlier post that the age group (or cohort) into which you are born shapes your tastes and preferences. Pew has the results of an interesting study about the “generation gap” that takes a look at how music preferences vary by age group. They found:


While there are some groups that seem to transcend age categories (especially The Beatles), there are significant differences as well. While those who are 65 and older really like Frank Sinatra he doesn’t do as well among the younger group. On the other hand, the older group, however, doesn’t seem to particularly like Kanye West or Nirvana.

One of the things that would have been interesting was to include more groups/individuals that the youngest age category “likes a lot” to see how they would have scored among the older age groups (including those in the middle). Note, for example, that  only 3 of those listed for the 16-29 age group score over 33%. The reason for this is that they selected top artists for various decades to get a sampling of various top acts across time.

The full report from which these data come, “Forty Years After Woodstock, a Gentler Generation Gap,” [pdf] is well worth a look. It considers much more than differences in musical taste, though it also looks at the relative popularity of various musical genres. It’s primary focus is on  the differing perspectives people have about the issue of a generation gap. It reports on  how values and perceptions of values vary across groups and more. It includes multiple tables and graphs. There is also a web-based summary here.

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