Your music taste can reveal your social class

Your music taste can reveal your social class
Highlights

Whether you\'re a fanatic for rap or a devout fan of the opera, the music you listen to represents more than just your personal tastes.

Whether you're a fanatic for rap or a devout fan of the opera, the music you listen to represents more than just your personal tastes.


University of British Columbia research found that our musical likes and dislikes may say more about us than we think, suggesting that even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music.

Author Gerry Veenstra said that breadth of taste is not linked to class, but class filters into specific likes and dislikes.

The study involved nearly 1,600 telephone interviews with adults in Vancouver and Toronto, who were asked about their likes and dislikes of 21 musical genres. Veenstra himself is partial to easy listening, musical theatre and pop.

Poorer, less-educated people tended to like country, disco, easy listening, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap. Meanwhile, their wealthier and better-educated counterparts preferred genres such as classical, blues, jazz, opera, choral, pop, reggae, rock, world and musical theatre.

The research touches on a hotly debated topic in cultural sociology: whether one's class is accompanied by specific cultural tastes, or whether "elites" are defined by a broad palette of preferences that sets them apart.

What people don't want to listen to also plays a key role in creating class boundaries. What upper class people like is disliked by the lower class and vice versa, said Veenstra.

The study is published in the Canadian Review of Sociology.
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