Your Favourite Song Was Probably Released When You Were 14

Puberty greatly influences whether you listen to rock and roll, country or hip-hop later in life. Music you listen to as a teenager sets your musical taste as adults, according to an unscientific analysis of Spotify data by the New York Times.

Spotify provided information about how frequently songs are listened to by men and women of a specific age. The analysis found that men generally form their musical taste between the ages of 13 to 16 and are 14 years old when their favourite song is released. Women typically form their musical taste between 11 and 14 and are 13 when their favourite song is released.

The Times analysis examined every single chart-topping song released from 1960 to 2000. It found, for example, that Radiohead’s “Creep” is the 164th most popular song among men aged 38. The song was released in 1993 when these men were 14 years old, demonstrating the correlation between age and song popularity. For people, 10 years older or 10 years younger, “Creep” didn’t even make their top 300 songs.

Tracks that were released decades ago are typically more popular among men and women who were 13 or 14 when they were first released. When people enter their early 20s, the music they listen to is about half as influential in determining what they put on their playlists as adults.

So, if you’re in your 40s and still love listening to Hall & Oates, Metallica, or Madonna, blame your inner 14-year-old. Your kids may think you’re old fashioned, but you’re actually just tapping into the music you loved when you were on the cusp of becoming a young adult.

This writer was 13 when “Faith” by George Michael was released and vividly remembers buying his album on cassette tape. INXS, Rick Astley and Guns N Roses also topped the charts in 1988. The Times’ unscientific analysis weirdly makes sense because, yes, I still listen to similar music today.

The Times predicts that Valentine’s Day it’s highly likely that 30-somethings will have played Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” while 45-year-olds will opt for Van Halen’s “When It’s Love” and a 60-something will play Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”



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