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If your favourite music artist right now is Beyoncé, Jamie Cullum or Kylie, the chances are they will still be among your favourites in 10 years time, according to the findings of a new survey commissioned by Sony, Philips and Universal Music on behalf of the Super Audio CD (SACD) format. The survey of 800 consumers across the UK found that nine in ten people do not expect their musical interests to change much as they get older. Just one in every thirty people surveyed (3%) believe their music tastes will have undergone radical change by the year 2014.

Over two thirds of people aged 55 and over expect to be listening to their current favourites in 10 years time whereas those aged 18-24 are the least likely (25%). Those aged 25-34 and 18-24 are the most likely (62% and 61% respectively) to say their tastes may change slightly but still expect to enjoy current favourites, with those aged 55+ the least likely (23%).

Carried out by the David Lewis Consultancy, the survey focuses on peoples’ listening habits and tastes, ranging from the significance of music in their life to the importance of sound quality. Commenting on the results, Dr David Lewis said: “Whilst most people appear to regard their musical interests as unwavering as time moves on, there is a distinct difference of opinion between the views of younger and older listeners. Our basic musical tastes tend to be formed very early on in life – indeed there is some evidence that even the music our mother listened to while we were still in the womb can affect our musical likes and dislikes as we grow older. The neural pathways on which hearing depends are formed within the first few months of life and once formed tend to make us “deaf” to certain sound frequencies - including those of both music and speech.

“Music is one way in which people can signify membership of a particular group, and once this happens they tend to immerse themselves in this form of music, often to the exclusion of anything else. Young people, especially, are very eager to gain acceptance by their peer group and adjust their musical preferences to match those of their friends. As a result they spend a great deal of time listening to it and this reinforces their liking for that type of music both through familiarity and a psychological process known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. This reflects the fact that the more effort and energy we invest in any activity the more strongly we will believe it is important to use since to do otherwise would give rise to ‘dissonance’ which is a disagreeable state to find oneself in and something most easily avoided by strengthening our belief in the value of what we are doing.”

Dirk de Clippeleir, Director, Universal Music International, says: “The findings of the survey show that music is a very personal experience which people carry with them throughout their lives. Music lovers are clearly very loyal to their favourite artists.

“There is, however, an interesting split between those aged 18-24 and those aged 55+. We suspect that the younger generation has a more open attitude towards their musical interests changing, whereas the 55+ age group are somewhat more set in stone.”

Commenting on the influence of technology on listening behaviour, Jos Bruins, Director of Marketing, Philips Electronics, said: “Whatever the views of music lovers about their musical tastes in ten years time, it’s likely that they will be able to get more from their music experience then than they do now, given continuing advances in the technology – both for recording and listening.

“People are beginning to realise that they can enjoy their music in very different ways, either on the move or through a home theatre experience. The equipment that we use in ten years time might be so advanced that we will be listening to current favourites in a way that we never expected to!”

David Walstra, Director, Sony Super Audio CD Business Centre (Europe), agrees, saying: “High quality music formats such as Super Audio CD are enabling music lovers to enjoy the same music they were listening to ten, or even thirty years ago, but with a much improved sound quality and experience. For instance, Elton John’s classic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, originally produced in 1973 and released recently as a Super Audio CD, reveals aspects of the original recordings that have never been heard on vinyl nor CD.”

“If this same survey had been conducted 10 or 20 years ago, I wonder how many people would have realised then that they could listen to their favourite artists and experience new sounds in the future?”

Both Sony and Philips are joint founder companies of the CD.


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