Monday, June 27, 2011

You are What You Listen To: Music Preference and Attitude Towards Money

What does your music preference say about your financial habits? According to this recent study by Canadian researchers, quite a lot!

The results of the study show that young adults who regularly listened to ‘adult-approved’ music would be likely to save money, while youths who listened to ‘anti-authority’ music were expected to be more likely to spend their money impulsively. I don't know about you, but music is a very important part of my life; in fact, I can't even begin to imagine life without music (although the world would probably be immensely better off without "The Biebs" or Lady Gaga or both). My music is a big part of who I am and I take it very personally and seriously, so when someone tells me that what I listen to leads to a certain behavior or way of thinking, I tend to shut up, listen, and look at the fine print.

So what does the study exactly mean by ‘adult-approved’ and ‘anti-authority’ music? The authors initially classified various musical genres, based on previous studies, into the following
  • Adult-approved
    • classical
    • musicals
    • opera
    • world music
    • oldies
    • easy listening
    • alternative
  • Anti-authority
    • bluegrass
    • blues
    • hip-hop
    • rap
    • techno
    • trance
    • electronic
    • house
    • dance
    • R&B
    • reggae
    • heavy metal
    • punk
    • ska
    • new age 
As it turns out, the results show that not all genres belonging to a particular group have a statistically significant relationship with financial attitude. To be more specific, only the following genres were found to be significantly associated with spending and saving habits.

So what exactly do these results mean? It means young that young people who regularly listen to dance, electronic, hip-hop, house, rap, R&B, techno, and trance are likely to spend more and those who listen to punk, oldies, alternative, and contemporary rock are likely to spend less; also, young people who are into big band and classical music, musicals, opera, and world music are likely to save more.

With the limitations of the study and the statistical procedure employed (remember, correlation does not necessarily mean causation), we should take these results with a grain of salt. However, I can't help but smile and marvel at the plausibility of these results, especially when I think about the MTV Cribs episodes that I've watched and how many of my friends who are heavily into hip hop and R&B are actually big spenders. I don't have any problems with listening to more Sex Pistols and Pearl Jam--maybe Cats and Phantom of the Opera even--but I draw the line at Luciano Pavarotti! :)

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