Personality and Music Genre Correlations – Music For Businesses

Photo: storify.com

Just like your hobbies and your sense of fashion, your taste in music reflects a lot about your personality. You can probably deduce a lot about someone’s personality just by looking at their Spotify or iTunes.

 

Meyer and Briggs Personality Test

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Recently, I  took the Meyer & Briggs Personality Test when a coworker referenced it to me, as I was curious what archetype I would fall into. The Meyers Briggs test categorizes you into 16 distinctive personality types. If you haven’t taken it yet, it’s a fun  and more widely known test that is worth checking out. After taking it, I began to wonder what kind of correlation there was, if any, between the type of music you like and your personality. 16 personalities did a study with a sample pool of 4,000 people asking them what type of music they enjoy. Their findings are quite interesting:

  1. Punk music was most popular amongst the Intuitive and Prospective types instead of the Observing/Judging types. This includes 51% of Logicians (INTP), 49% of Mediators (INFP), and 48% of Virtuosos (ISTP).
  2. Jazz music was most popular amongst the Extroverted, Intuitive, and Assertive types. This includes 64% of Commanders (ENTJ), 64% of Protagonists (ENFJ), 62% of Campaigners (ENFP).
  3. Classical music was most popular amongst the intuitive over the observant personality type. This includes 79% of Commanders (ENTJ), 78% of Architects (INTJ), and 76% of Debaters (ENTP).
  4. Rock music was most popular amongst Intuitive and Prospective types rather than observing and judging ones. This includes 84% of Debaters (ENTP), 82% of Mediators (INFP), and 82% of Logicians (INTP). Ambient music was most popular amongst Intuitive, Prospective and Feeling types. This includes 65% of Campaigners (ENFP), 64% of Adventurers (ISFP), and 62% of Entertainers (ESFP).
  5. Pop music was most popular amongst Extroverted, Observant, and Turbulent types than Introverted, Intuitive, and Assertive ones. This includes 88% of Entertainers (ESFP), 80% of Consuls (ESFJ), and 78% of Adventurers (ISFP).
  6. Metal music fans “are a nearly perfect opposite of pop lovers: Introverted rather than Extroverted, Intuitive rather than Observant, Thinking rather than Feeling, and Prospecting rather than Judging.” This includes 50% of Entrepreneurs (ESTP), 48% of Logicians (INTP), and 42% of Architects (INTJ).
  7. Hip hop music was most popular amongst extroverted types. This includes 58% of Entrepreneurs (ESTP), 57& of Entertainers (ESFP), and 57& of Executives (ESTJ).
  8. Electronica was most popular amongst extroverted and prospecting types than introverted and judging. This includes 79% of Entrepreneurs (ESTP), 75% of Campaigners (ENFP), and 70% of Commanders (ENTJ).
  9. Country music was most popular amongst Extroverted, Observant, Feeling types. This includes 53% of Consuls (ESFJ), 52% of Entertainers (ESFP), and 46% of Protagonists (ENFJ).
  10. Soul music was most popular amongst Extroverted, Feeling types. This includes 58% of Campaigners (ENFP), 57& of Consuls (ESFJ), and 56% Entertainers (ESFP).

From personal experience, I tested as INTJ and do find that I am drawn to classical music more so than the other genres due to the more analytical nature of classical music as well as my desire to determine the structure and knowledge of how a piece of music works. As with everything, there are exceptions and may not always be a reliant way to judge a person’s taste in music, but I think it does show an interesting correlation between prominent characteristics in your personality and preferred genres of music. I would love to hear what others’ experiences are!

Music Psychology Study by Adrian North

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Photo: fossbytes.com

Music psychology scholar Adrian North, conducted a 3 year study with more than 36,000 participants. His findings come surprising – heavy metal fans are actually quite similar to classical music lovers, just younger. This matches the INTJ results from the 16 personalities test, that shows people who like classical and metal music have similar personality types (i.e. 78% of INTJ like Classical and 42% of INTJ like Metal). Specktor recounts some other results from his findings,

Heavy Metal fans are gentle and creative… Classical fans are smart (and know it)… Hip-hop fans are extroverts… Pop fans are outgoing and nervous… Rock fans are easygoing but selfish… Folk, jazz, and blues fans are deep thinkers… Country fans are hardworking and close-minded.

There are definitely some interesting commonalities between North’s and 16 personalities’ results, namely introvert and extrovert types. North’s study is in a sense a TL:DR version employing more general personality descriptors than the more detailed Meyers & Briggs personality archetypes in relation to their preferred musical genres.

 

Applications – For Composers and Artists

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Photo: alejandrocoello.com

So aside from being a fun test that shows similarities in various personalities in conjunction with different music genres and styles, what are some useful applications for this knowledge? As a composer, I find it super helpful to know beforehand what type of music the stakeholders of your projects like. It gives you a better idea of who they are and what they like and increases the likeliness that you will compose music that will get approved. Though this is my experience based on a composer’s perspective, I believe this is applicable to any artistic or creative endeavor. Furthermore, knowing the personality type of your stakeholders will allow you to figure out how to most effectively communicate with them. Half of the battle when working on a project is calibrating yourself to what your stakeholders mean when they say what they do. Music is one of those abstract things that is very hard to describe using words, so having some insight into what type of personality  type/genre of music your stakeholders like will go miles.
Application- For Companies and Businesses
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Photo: entrepreneur.com

A lot of social media companies, like Facebook for instance, thrive on finding out as much data about their users as possible so that they can provide custom new feeds that show you posts that represent your viewpoint; this also helps with monetization as they can cater ads that have a higher chance of their users clicking on based on their interests. Music plays a big part in how we perceive things and knowing your target audience as a company, will allow you to customize the most enjoyable music experience for your users.  Think for instance, if you own and run a restaurant or a store. What type of people are drawn to your store? Are you able to attract the type of audience you want to your business based on the music you play? Stay tuned in the next blog post as we continue discussing more about this!

 

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6 thoughts on “Personality and Music Genre Correlations – Music For Businesses”

  1. I think it’s hard to define a personality through time. Today I was an ISFJ-T but I was something different ten years ago. We evolve, we change, we take new roles, new challenges etc. So personality is not a consistent constant. Which is a good thing right?

    The music we listen to is however very consistent. It’s usually the result of two things: the period of time we grew up in, and the culture around us. Having said that, because worldwide culture has massively changed in the past few decades into an incredible mix of everything, things are getting more blurry: these days, what is pop music? Isn’t 90% of it hip-hop? How about pop music that would have been tagged heavy metal in the 90s? What about artists that are constantly toying with music genres their entire careers? So I feel like it goes –super roughly- this way:

    Boomers: grew up in the 60s/70s, culturally very segregated so music taste is well, quite a stereotype. They can tolerate some other music but not for long.

    Gen X: grew up in the 80s/90s, massive cultural changes, music taste becomes much wider. It’s also the start of “unicorns” that is, people from a certain cultural background listening to something extremely different from what is going on around them.

    Millennials: grew up in the 90s/00s when a massive musical crossover fest happens while electronic music explodes. Unicorns are common.

    So business-wise I would be like “tell me where you grew up and what kind of music you felt *all the feels* for the first time and who is your target?” and go from there 🙂

    Cheers,

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    1. I would say that yes our personalities can change but so can our tastes in music. People often go through a lot of different phases where they’re really into this type of music or that, so I wouldn’t say that the music we listen to is very consistent. I do believe that regardless of if your personality or your taste in music changes, there is still a correlation between personality and music preference. Business-wise, it’s definitely important to know who your target audience is and often times company do that as mentioned in my article by collecting data on the users’ preferences.

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      1. Right, but what if a personality doesn’t match a music preference, then what?

        Is the target audience a group of people or the person who writes the checks? How do you make them both happy?

        About music tastes, yes they wildly change before we settle on something and pretty much listen to that major/main type of music all our lives. It is usually connected to our generation and our cultural background.

        Just thinking out loud on this super interesting topic! Thank you for writing those articles btw 🙂

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      2. Q: Right, but what if a personality doesn’t match a music preference, then what?
        A: Nothing is ever always guaranteed. Think of zodiac signs. Based on all the data from generations and generations of humans, they have categorized people into different zodiac signs based on the patterns and similiarities they’ve seen through history. Some people may not think they match the characteristics listed with their sign, but in general, there is a strong correlation that exists between people born in a certain time of year and their personalities. In the same way, there is a strong correlation between people’s personalities and their music preferences. If you’re running a business, this shouldn’t be the only thing you base your target audience’s preferences on, but it is one of the tools that is more rooted with statistical data and proof that you have to help you be able to zone in on your audience’s tastes.

        Q: Is the target audience a group of people or the person who writes the checks? How do you make them both happy?
        A: In the article, my reference to target audience was the customers of your product. Both your customers as well as your boss, or the one writing the checks is important, but this article’s focus was being able to cater music to the customers of your product. Hopefully if you can successfully do that, it will make your boss more money and make both your boss and the customers happy.

        Q: About music tastes, yes they wildly change before we settle on something and pretty much listen to that major/main type of music all our lives. It is usually connected to our generation and our cultural background.
        A: I have known people who change their preference in music throughout their lives. I woudln’t say that this music genre is something that everyone necessarily settles down with at a certain point all their lives. Even now, I find myself fascinated by and drawn to different types of music every day. Yes, it can be connected to a generation or cultural background, but even then, people have such diverse tastes in music within the same generation/culture, which is why lots of different radio stations of different genres exist. There can definitely be influences from generation/culture, but there is also the natural inclinations, tastes, and preferences that people are innately born with because of how their brains are individually wired. Similar to tastes in food, your tastes may be influenced by what your mom has cooked for you, or what restaurants were family favorites in childhood, but you also have your natural inclinations, such as maybe you were born with an inclination to spicy food or a sweet tooth. This makes you naturally drawn to certain types of foods more so than others, similar to how your innate preferences and personality may make you drawn naturally to certain types of music moreso than others. It is essnece like Nature vs. Nurture, and so while you can be influenced by your external things like culture and generation, this post is mainly talking about how your natural personality makes you drawn to certain types of music rather than others.

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