Music Taste And Personality – What Your Playlist Reveals About You!

Have you ever given much thought to what your music taste says about you?

Or, to put it another way: have you ever made a quick judgement call on whether or not you might get on with someone, based on what you know about their taste in music?

Music taste and personality. It is definitely a thing!

Our taste in music can indicate personality traits like extroversion/introversion, agreeableness, openness to experiences, and passive/assertiveness, to mention just a few.

music taste and personality in black text on vivid yellow and green diagonally split background

Music Taste and Personality – What Your Music Taste Says About You!

Looking at the relationship between music preferences and personality, studies suggest that certain personality types are drawn to specific musical styles.

From forming instant connections over shared favourite tunes to using music as a form of self-expression, we often align our musical choices with our inner selves.

Before we go too much further, I feel I should point out that in putting the article together, I have drawn on the findings of five or six studies.

That is to say, I didn’t carry about my own empirical studies.

I feel I need to tell you this because, while I hope this is an enjoyable, lighthearted read, some of the findings presented are nothing short of absolute tosh!

Personality Traits and Musical Taste

People with high levels of openness to experience are often drawn towards more complex and abstract musical styles.

They may have a preference for classical or jazz genres, indicating a disposition towards intellectual stimulation and creativity.

Conversely, those labelled as conscientious tend to favour more upbeat and conventional music, suggesting a personality that values order and dependability.

Traits such as extraversion and agreeableness are typically associated with a preference for more energetic and rhythmic music, like pop and electronic dance music (EDM). These listeners often seek the communal and social aspects of music.

While it is evident that preferences for certain music genres can be reflective of someone’s personality traits, it’s important to note that these associations are tendencies rather than strict rules, with individual experiences playing a significant role in shaping musical taste.

Demographics and Music Tastes

Personal music preferences are influenced by various demographic factors, such as age and social characteristics.

These inclinations are not just reflections of individual tastes but also markers of generational and social identity.

Age and Music Preferences

Younger generations often gravitate towards genres that are current and chart-topping.

Teens and those in their twenties might favour pop, hip-hop, and electronic dance music, genres that typically dominate contemporary charts.

Older individuals often feel connected to the music that was popular during their younger years. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “musical nostalgia”.

Gender, Social Class, and Music

Gender and social class play significant roles in music tastes.

Studies have found that men might have a preference for genres like rock or heavy metal, which have been culturally associated with masculine stereotypes.

Women, in contrast, are sometimes reported to prefer pop or country music, though these trends are far from absolute and are increasingly less predictive in the modern day.

Far be it for me to suggest that the researchers involved in some of these studies are from a bygone era…

…but it is becoming apparent that maybe it’s time for some more up-to-date analysis of the relationship between music taste and personality.

Or maybe we should get back to crancking out ads like these:

Social class often informs music choices too.

Higher income brackets might correlate with tastes for classical music or jazz, potentially tied to these genres’ associations with status and education.

Lower social brackets may engage more with genres like country or certain subcultures of rock, which can reflect and express their social and economic experiences.

The global reach of music streaming services is blurring these distinctions, creating a platform where diverse music tastes can reflect a more complex personal identity than social class would suggest.

Social and Emotional Connections to Music

Music is intrinsically linked to who we are, shaping and reflecting our self-identity and influencing how we relate to others. It acts as a social mirror, revealing our emotional states and social dispositions, from extraversion to introversion.

Music as a Reflection of Self-Identity

Individual music choices are often tied to personal identity, serving as a kind of auditory badge worn to make a statement of expression to the world.

For extroverted people, an affinity for bold, energetic music genres may resonate with their social tendencies.

They might favour tunes that reflect their high self-esteem and supposed hardworking nature, despite being perceived as less creative than those who prefer more complex musical styles.

Introverted individuals might gravitate towards more mellow or complex compositions, seeking solace or depth in music that mirrors their reflective and possibly more nostalgic mood.

In these examples, music is a component of how individuals perceive their identity and personal narrative.

Music and Social Behaviour

The music we enjoy can significantly influence social interactions and behaviour.

Shared musical preferences can create instant bonds between people. Those who enjoy the same music might find it easier to connect and establish social rapport.

Music can also act as a solitary escape.

Music preferences can be seen as an extension of personality, influencing how people behave within a social context.

Cultural Influences

Music preferences can often reflect wider cultural influences, which in turn suggests that our tastes are not just personal choices but can also be shaped by the society we live in.

Global Music Tastes

Researchers have discovered that there are universal patterns in how music tastes align with personality traits across various cultures.

A comprehensive study spanning 50 countries and 6 continents found that people with similar personalities tend to gravitate towards similar types of music, regardless of their cultural background.

Cultural Background and Musical Preferences

Cultural background plays a significant role in shaping musical preferences.

Unsurprisingly, the music that people are exposed to during childhood can considerably influence the genres they prefer as adults.

Cultural upbringing instils a leaning towards certain melodies and rhythms that feel familiar and resonate with a person’s cultural identity.

Musical Exposure and Education

Understanding the relationship between musical taste and personality often involves looking at the influence of music education and the effects of exposure to different kinds of music.

The Impact of Music Education

Music education can have a big impact on a person’s musical preferences.

Studies suggest that people with formal training in music tend to appreciate a wider range of genres.

For example, a well-rounded music curriculum might introduce students to classical composers, jazz improvisation, and rock songwriting.

This introduction often leads to a more eclectic musical taste.

Exposure to music theory and composition also equips people with the tools to understand and appreciate the complexities within musical pieces, potentially leading to a preference for more complex genres.

The Role of Familiarity and Exposure

The extent of someone’s exposure to different types of music plays a vital role in shaping their musical preferences.

Frequent exposure to a certain genre increases familiarity and can result in a stronger liking for that genre.

The University of Cambridge has highlighted that our musical experience is significant, with music accompanying approximately 20 per cent of our waking lives.

Familiarity with particular music can be both passive, through background listening, and active, such as attending concerts or playing an instrument.

Personality vs Music Genre

Music preferences can reveal insights into personality traits.

Different genres of music often resonate differently with the listener, potentially reflecting certain aspects of their character.


People who prefer classical music tend to display traits of being creative and exhibit strong self-expression.

They often have high levels of openness to experience.

And if you believe the biased findings espoused in what’s known as “The Mozart Effect”, classical music lovers are usually smarter than lovers of other music genres too. Except they’re not, of course.


Apparently, pop music fans are often extroverted and agreeable, thriving on the genre’s catchy and relatable qualities.

They tend to be conscientious, preferring music that’s upbeat and mainstream.

For example, individuals who enjoy pop music tend to have high self-esteem and are hardworking, yet they might score lower on creativity compared to fans of other genres.


Those who lean towards rock music often express a bold and assertive nature.

They are said to be adventurous and confident with a tendency towards individualism.

People who gravitate towards rock music might even be associated with a more rebellious character.

Reckoned to have high levels of openness and are often creatively engaged, although contrary to stereotypes, they are not necessarily less agreeable or any more neurotic than the average person.


Studies supposedly show that fans of hip-hop are often outgoing and self-assured.

They can be competitive yet also sociable, finding common ground with the rhythmic and expressive elements of the genre.


Metal enthusiasts might be misconstrued as aggressive but often have traits of being open-minded and gentle despite the intense nature of the music.

They are typically energetic and resilient.


Those who favour EDM (Electronic Dance Music) are seen as energetic, easygoing, and creative.

They are often social butterflies, enjoying the community and festive atmosphere that EDM events foster.


Country fans might be characterised as hardworking and conventional.

Exuding traits of stability, surprisingly, despite the genre’s thematic focus on heartbreak, they are often emotionally stable.

Wrap Up!

Of course, our musical preferences are going to reflect our personality traits in some way.

Likewise, where, how, and when we were brought up will shape our preferences to some extent.

But I have to say that, when I was researching this post, the individuals who have carried out studies seem to have their own very distinct biases.

Or maybe it’s just laziness.

It seems to be the case that for almost all music genres that are generally above 100 beats per minute, fans are described as extroverts.

I’m an introvert, am I supposed to exclusively listen to Leonard Cohen on a loop?

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