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Essay: Young peoples’ musical preferences and influence

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  • Subject area(s): Music Essays
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  • Published: 20 July 2022*
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  • Words: 1,947 (approx)
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It is no doubt that music has played a vital role in our society. Everything from loud, head-banging concerts to religious ceremonies have utilised the medium of music because of its awe-inspiring qualities. Music is basically the control of sound. We can control this sound by varying the pitch, tempo, octaves, dynamics and so on. There are thousands of ways that we can use music and to shape it to how we want to hear it. But how much has music influenced the way we think today? Why is it so popular?

There has been significant change in the type of music being made around the world over the past few decades which has its own effects on the type of music preferred by people. The technology linked with music industry has also undergone rapid growth in recent times due to which the time allotted by people to music has changed drastically.Regional channels, like MTV Asia and Channel V, adapt Western pop culture to Asian tastes, in a process of assimilation that has been accelerated by the rise of English as a major language among Indian youth. This study of young peoples’ musical preferences first examines the rise of Western popular music in the diverse socio-political climates India, and then presents the findings related to various other aspects of music’s relation with an individual.

Reviewing the Literature

Music taste is something which is dynamic and keeps on changing time to time. What we liked to listen as a kid doesn’t makes sense to us now. We observed that the previously the research attributes the music choices and genre liking to various variables like peer group, age, family also a relation between native tongue and choice of language in which the subject prefers his/her music was observed. Also, various researches conducted on adolescents in US marked certain specific genre famous amongst the young.

Ages and inclinations for different classifications of melodic styles are connected. The more seasoned subjects and those in advanced education demonstrated a more noteworthy inclination for traditional and Western styles including society, pop and works of art, while the casual melodic experience of the more youthful members in this investigation appeared to be increasingly influenced by their friend gathering. They for the most part favoured nearby instead of outside pop and were less intrigued by different styles. Further examination into the relations between friend societies, instructive accomplishment and the development of individual melodic tastes is required. The same paper concludes the following points: –

  1. The comprehension of tune verses among youngsters does not fundamentally impact their well-known music inclinations.
  2. The globalization of the music showcase does not really prompt socially heterogeneous procedures.
  3. The advanced education dimension of youngsters would keep up a higher rate of every melodic style just as a higher respondent rating for Western works of art, English people and pop. [1]

Gender is a primary social distinction, and, not surprisingly, research into young people’s preferences for musical styles has indicated that there are consistent gender differences in musical taste. For example, in an investigation of the preferences of U.S. college students, Christenson and Peterson (1988) found that women had stronger preferences for mainstream pop, contemporary rhythm and blues, soul, late ’70s disco, and Black gospel music than did men; while men had stronger preferences for southern rock, psychedelic rock, and blues. In the United Kingdom, Hargreaves, Comber, and Colley (1995) found that English secondary schoolboys liked heavy metal and rock more than girls did, while girls liked chart pop, reggae, jazz, classical, folk, and opera more than boys did. Although there has been some variation in gender differences, depending on the styles used and musical fashions, greater liking of rock and heavy rock generally has been found among males, while females have expressed greater liking for lighter music, particularly mainstream pop.

These gender differences have been linked to the consonance of the styles with traditional gender-role-related attributes and the relationship of the themes expressed with the developmental issues of young men and women (Schwartz & Fouts, 2003). Lighter mainstream music tends to have lyrics that focus on emotions and relationships with others, which are concerns of young women; while heavy music is associated with aggression, dominance, and rebellion, which relate to the concerns of young men. Heavy metal and heavy rock music have particularly masculine connotations and have been linked to both antisocial behaviour and physical aggression (Rubin, West, & Mitchell, 2001), and Hansen and Hansen (1991) found higher levels of Machiavellianism and machismo among students who expressed a liking for these styles of music.

Most of the researches on music and the choice of musical taste related it to some prominent problems faced by younger people such as substance abuse.

The prominence of various types of music shifted cross-broadly. The most prominent sorts of music among 15-year-olds in Europe were Pop and Urban. Shake and Dance were significant less prevalent, and Highbrow music was least prominent. While the general designing of prominence of various styles was very comparative over the 10 nations, some cross-national and sexual orientation contrasts were watched. Standard Pop was generally prominent in Ireland and less all around enjoyed in Estonia and Switzerland. Dutch youth were not especially enamoured with Rock music; Irish and Portuguese youth were into Pop and Urban music, while youngsters in Greece and Spain essentially supported Pop; Dance was preferred most in Belgium, and less so in Greece, Switzerland, and the UK. No generous cross-national contrasts were seen in (dis)liking Highbrow music. Pop and Urban were essentially increasingly famous among young ladies. Substance utilize likewise contrasted cross-broadly. Substance use was especially high in the Netherlands and the UK, and low in Portugal and Macedonia.

Knowledge Gap

The various literature available on the topic were done in more or less ethnically and linguistically homogenous countries. In India, a country with vastly different culture every 100km or so, the results and conclusions were bound to large errors. So, we worked on the following questions,

  • The Correlation between the language of preferred song and the subject’s native or mother tongue.
  • Is there any similarities and differences amongst the subject’s musical preference around variables as age, gender, education level etc. in India?
  • Are the frequent music listers generally young?
  • Do young people listen to the songs that were composed before they were born?
  • Is there any relation between top genres liked by the youth and the suggested top genres in the medium the listen music in?
  • Are the music choices in India a method of showcasing fake cultural capital?
  • Are general biases towards women listening to mostly romantic and soft music is true among young female listeners?


We are making the following hypothesises based on our previous knowledge and understanding of the topics:

  • Girls listen to more romantic music.
  • EDM is most common genre among younger generation in English language.
  • Indian Pop is most common genre among younger generation in Hindi language.
  • Mother tongue does affect the choice of language of music preferred.
  • Music is just for entertainment purpose and has no effect whatsoever mentally on the subjects.

Research Method

This Research study involved a non-experimental, cross-sectional design using qualitative methods. Data was collected through a questionnaire which was circulated via google forms to various parts of the country and with individual interviews of people in regions of Rae Bareli and Lucknow.

Subjects in the age group of 16-22 were selected based on a non-probability sampling in our college (Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Jais) and by snowball sampling in the following institutes of the country:

  • FDDI, Fursatganj
  • Christ University, Bangalore
  • NIT Durgapur
  • LNCT, Bhopal

Subjects in the age groups of 23-30 and 30+ were selected by representative sampling in the localities of Charbagh, Aminabad, Gomti nagar, Dubagga and Hazrat Gunj areas of Lucknow. These areas were under our consideration for the reason being the accumulation of all classes of people, which in turn resulted in a good representation of the whole population.


The youngsters like fast and beat music, it is a fact. The Adrenalin rush that it creates is unprecedented. This is clearly seen in the findings of our survey. The EDM Music is known for its beats and the POP for its fast nature and in an unsurprising manner, the likeness is reflected as the percentage of population liking these two genres are highest with EDM liked by 67.17% of subjects between 16-22 and POP liked by 56.48% of the population in the same age group.

The liking for EDM is same even in the subjects between the age group of 23-30. However, there is a visible increase in the liking of Rhythm and Blues genre which in turn, causes the liking of previously heavy liked genres to decrease. The Rhythm and Blues genre falls bit on the slower beat music and its increased liking may be accounted as somewhat increase in the civility as seen by the society as we know that the genres such as punk rock and heavy metal are associated with Rebel Groups and isn’t liked by the society. We know that 23-30 is the age where people go in the society, so people don’t want to have a negative impression within the society, as a result they try to mask their likings.

In case of Hindi Language music, the Romantic and Pop genre topped the charts with nearly 74% and 56% of respondents between 16-22 choosing the genres as their favourites respectively.

The same trend was observed in case of respondents aged between 23-30.

Interestingly, the respondents aged between 30+ showed variation in the choice of music genre. Though in this age group, there was significant people still voting for Romantic genre, however the people voting for Qawwali increase at the cost of decrease in the percentage of population who liked rock and pop genre. The liking is same somewhat as the trend seen in English whereas age increases the music choice becomes more civilized (Somewhat Slow Beats).

In our study it was found that most Youngsters especially teenagers listen to music on a frequent basis with over 65% of them listening to the music daily for periods extending over 3-5 hours. This may be a way to enjoy the free time that they get during their day to day activity.

Another point which was highlighted by the study was that as the age increases the percentage of subjects who listen to music rarely, increases and as much as 25% of the subjects over 30 years of age responded that they rarely listen to music. This direct proportional nature may be explained by pure logic.

As the Teenager becomes a young adult, he is burdened with some sort of responsibilities. These responsibilities increases with the increase in age. The subjects between 23-30 years of age were generally working class and didn’t get enough time to enjoy luxuries such as calmly enjoying music. This effect is even pronounced in the 30+ age group when people generally have a family and children to look after, which reduces the time that they devote to themselves, for their relaxations.

Another interesting finding was that as the age group changes from that of 16-22 to 30+, there is a gradual decrease in the percentage of population listening to English and other foreign language music.

Upon pondering over the reason for the above findings, we came thorough the concept of globalization of music.

Globalization is the process by which businesses and other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. Globalization in music is a tool to share stories throughout the world. In the past only rich countries such as the USA and U.K would be able to distribute its music all across the world.


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