Is there an association between how you listen to music, and who you are? Could looking at your music playback habits (not the music itself) tell others something about what they can expect from you? Fortune tellers – pay attention. Surely this is just as accurate as counting the number of macadamia nuts in a jar of mixed nuts to determine the state of the world economy. Surely this is just as effective as reading about your zodiac attributes on a menu in a restaurant. And since those techniques obviously work, perhaps using attributes of musical behavior to identify other behaviors might actually have some validity. (Or not).
Now, in order to actually map the traits to the way people listen to music, a large sampling of music listeners and their habits must be taken and correlated. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate such a study, and in the absence of evidence, I am left to create my own, largely from opinion. I will now endeavor to do so, mainly because I find it fun. So a word of advice, opinions are cheap. After all, you aren’t paying anything to read this. That’s what the ads are for. And now, to the types and their definitions.
Alpha-listers are people who listen to their music straight down the list. And, because the list is typically alphabetical, these people are denoted by this label. Chronic Alpha-listers can sometimes be classified as lazy or as ignorant. Lazy because they didn’t bother creating a playlist, or ignorant because they don’t know how. Other types can become Alpha-listers from time to time, if they are bored with their playlists and do not have the opportunity to create a new one. Alpha-listers often have many friends, but only a few good friends. They are easy to get to know, and hard to get to know well.
Your typical Randomizer sets their music to play randomly and is happy with what they get. These people are often anal about their music library and purchase only those songs they really want. Randomizers don’t often purchase albums. Randomizers love surprises, and enjoy getting new things. They aren’t particularly creative, and despite the name, they enjoy absolute control over their music via the initial selection. Randomizers are excellent planners. Randomizers often have many friends, and are happy to meet new people. They are outgoing and confident.
Snipers look for specific songs. They’re prone to getting a song in their head, and then wanting to hear it. They’re also prone to getting in car accidents while surfing through their music. Snipers are often creative types that live in their heads. Some of them have excellent memories, and can identify a song in just a few bars. Repeat Snipers are prone to obsession. See Repeaters in the sub-categories section for more information. Snipers prefer meat. Very few of them are vegetarian. And when they are, they’re lethal cauliflower hunters. Beware cauliflowers.
Secret Agents use a queue to create a temporary playlist. This playlist vanishes right after it’s used, just like IMF briefings. You listen once, and it’s gone, then you create the queue again. Like Randomizers, Secret Agents are good planners, but they are obsessed with immediate control, and better at short-term planning than long-term planning. They must have it now rather than later, and are bad at delaying satisfaction. They think quickly, and can become impatient with others. In meetings, they’re the ones shaking their legs or staring out the window.
Playlisters are planners of another sort. These are the people that construct their music lists ahead of time, preparing for contingencies by envisioning the future. Playlisters are often dreamers, and they consider both their own needs and the needs of others. They control their circumstances through contingencies. They’re often excellent at risk aversion, and can identify potential problems before they occur. They love pleasing and surprising other people. Most of them also like pastry and pasta.
People who still listen to music on CDs in their car represent a shrinking class of users that haven’t yet transitioned to the new all-digital paradigm. This may not be their fault. It may not be by choice. Therefore there are actually two sets (and further sub-classes). Those who could transition and haven’t, and those that would like to, but can’t. Diskers are often burners. They’re limited to a small set of music at a time, and so they are similar to Playlisters in that regard. They plan their music ahead of time. You can identify chaotic Diskers, and organized Diskers by the state of their music collection. If the disks are scattered all over the car and poorly labeled, then the individual is likely chaotic and may be good at planning, but poor at implementation. These are your creative types, and they’re fine swimming through chaos and searching for what they want. The other type – the anal planners – will have an organized library they keep intact. These people know exactly where everything is, and need to control their environment. They’re hard workers, and excellent at administrative tasks.
Those who listen to specific artists are music lovers who recognize the talents of specific individuals. These are people who understand patterns and use them to make their decisions. They’re often quiet people, excellent listeners, and effective advice-givers. They pay attention to their music just as they pay attention to other people. They’re cerebral thinkers, with a penchant for analysis. “Can you dig it, can you dig it?” Oh yeah. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the undisputed truth, baby. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re close to everyone, they just understand. A lot of the time, they may keep their mouths shut about “what it is.”
Seekers will move through a song to get to the “good” parts. They know what they want, and they’re impatient to get it. Seekers are those you’ll find in line at fast food restaurants most often. Chronic seekers can be shallow people, and sometimes callous and blunt. They can be creative, but they move from project to project and seldom complete anything, even though they may be capable of brilliant work.
Like Seekers, Repeaters know what they want, but they’re more patient. They can practice delayed gratification to get to the “good parts” but they also enjoy the whole song. They follow the path of the music, letting it wash over them. They’re also prone to obsession, and may have large music libraries because they’ve become bored with specific songs by playing them over and over. Repeaters are most often Playlisters or Snipers.
Filed under: Daily, PsychoBabble, Stupid Shit | Tagged: Music Habits, Music Listening Stereotypes, Playlists and Personalities | 6 Comments »