Listeners Like New Music Less Than They Say They Do, Study Suggests

07/30/2013 01:54 pm ET
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Do you like new music? Many listeners say they do. But a surprising new study suggests that no matter what listeners say, they're more eager to listen to music that they're already familiar with than the new stuff.

“In three studies, we examined the power of familiarity on music choice and showed that familiarity is a more important driver of music choice than more obvious, and commonly tested, constructs such as liking and satiation,” Dr. Joseph K. Goodman, an associate professor of marketing at Washington University’s Olin Business School, said in a written statement.

Curiously, the findings -- published in the journal Marketing Letters -- contradicted an initial survey in which study participants indicated that they would prefer for radio stations to play more new music.

“Our results suggest that the emphasis on novelty in the music domain, by consumers and people often protesting the current state of the music business, is probably misplaced,” Goodman said in the statement. “In the marketplace, and in our pilot study, consumers say that they want more novelty when in fact their choices suggest they do not.”

It's not the first time new music got the old thumbs-down.

A 2011 study published in the journal PLoS ONE, showed that regions of the brain associated with emotion and pleasure-seeking were significantly more active when study participants listened to familiar music than when unfamiliar music was being played.

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