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Old Dogs, New Music


Researchers for streaming service Spotify have found that 33 is the age when musical taste stagnates. That’s the age when people stop seeking out new music. It turns out most of the stuff people listen to is what they liked when they were 16-24. I’m a little distressed. Music shouldn’t just be nostalgia, and young artists shouldn’t get crowded out by hits from the 80s.

So, if you’re older than 33, I’m talking to you now. It makes sense that you cared a lot more about music when you were in high school and college. That was a time when everything was new for you: first dance, first kiss, first car. Your friends were your music discovery service, and with them you created a soundtrack that accompanied your adventures and established your social identity.

But then life got in the way. It’s harder to justify hanging out and listening to the latest tracks when you’re paying a mortgage. And having a kid was one of the biggest factors, wasn’t it? When this happened, your background music changed to children’s cartoons and the alphabet song.

But there’s no law saying you can’t change. Why listen to the same old stuff? Act young. Sure, you don’t ride your skateboard as much anymore, but you still have two ears.

And I don’t want to hear you say that music was better when you were a teenager, because whenever you were born, there are plenty of counter-arguments. Instead, try carving out a little time and see if you like the latest tunes from Kendrick Lamar, TV On The Radio, Dave Rawlings Machine or the Vijay Iyer Trio. You might surprise yourself, and you’ll surprise Spotify, too.

Mark Foley is principal double bass of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and professor of double bass and head of Jazz Studies at Wichita State University.