Have you ever been turned off by your romantic interest’s music taste? Or on the other hand, found yourself romanticizing someone solely based on their impressive playlist-making skills?
If you’re like me and have a profound love of music, you may relate to these experiences. If not, I probably sound like a pretentious music snob.
Either way, studies have shown that when a social bond is created through similar music preferences, we tend to perceive the person in a more positive way.
Last week, upon returning home from a date, I began “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” to my mom about my date’s diverse taste in music.
“Paisa, is that really an important factor for you in the scheme of things?” she replied, concerned about the future of my love life.
I responded by telling her that I think music can unlock the door to a lot of insight into a person’s character. Even if someone’s taste in music doesn’t perfectly align with mine, openness and appreciation of music is a quality I value when pursuing any time of relationship.
Her question got me thinking about how music relates to a sense of attraction. I asked myself if there’s an actual correlation between music taste and compatibility.
To gain a better understanding of how people feel about this subject, I posed a question to my peers:
“When it comes to attraction, dating, or relationships, does music taste matter? Why or why not?”
After getting a flood of thoughtful responses, I present to you my favourite takes:
“Music taste is paramount – listening to a significant other’s music is essentially hearing a soundtrack to someone else’s life. An unparalleled visual of a person’s soul.” – Sol, 20
“It does because really excellent and diverse playlists are my love language!” – Fiona, 21
“As a music lover and musician myself, it is no surprise that music is central to many aspects of my life. Dating is no exception. However, it does not completely dictate my attraction towards others. When I use dating apps, I often find myself judging profiles based on their ‘anthems’ or asking my match early on about their music taste. I’ve had connections where shared music is central to our bond, but I’ve also had some connections where we take turns with the aux. I think exploring different music is a great way to broaden your horizons!” – Alexa, 20
“Yes – to an extent! Depends on the role music plays in your life too. The ability to groove together is a must!” – Nico, 20
“Yes. It’s really hard to date someone who listens to music you hate.” – Zoe, 30
“Having common tastes can be special, but there are more important things.” – Emma, 19
“My boyfriend listens to hard rock and punk, and I’m more of a pop, folk, and alternative gal myself. I totally fell in love with his music as I was falling in love with him, and I love most of his favourite songs and bands too! I like to think it goes both ways.” – Bella, 21
“Yes, Red flag number one. I think that music taste can massively improve the connection experience but it’s not necessarily a factor that determines compatibility.” – Jose, 20
“Yes! Music is literally my whole life (my job, where I find happiness, how I express my emotions) so if I can’t share that world with someone, I feel like I can’t share myself!” – Eva, 18
“I tend to think of music taste as a personalized characteristic of someone. When we look at people who like similar genres, I feel there are always, to some degree, disparities within the agreement. I think those differences in taste should be appreciated. They allow us to bond over different forms of self-expression and perspectives on similar feelings.” – Megan, 20
“Yes. Lack of taste in music suggests poor taste in art.” – Number Four, 28
“For me, the most important thing is that they are as open-minded as I am to new genres and artists. Other than that, their taste in music doesn’t matter to me or affect compatibility.” – Spenser, 17
“I think someone’s music taste can make them more attractive. When it comes to dating, it’s not the end of the world if you both don’t share the exact same music preferences. However, there has to be some overlap. Sharing a song or listening to music with someone can be really vulnerable and intimate.” – Kay, 20
“It’s kind of like a Venn Diagram, you want some overlap and some new exposure. The best of both.” – Tina, 53
“Having different or similar tastes in music doesn’t really matter, but both people must have an openness and curiosity for the other’s taste if they aren’t the same.” – Daniel, 19
“Yes, if music is important to you! It can be a valuable common interest to connect over but I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker and it’s definitely not a reason to shame someone.” – Izzie, 21
“I think it’s less about their music taste and about their openness to others. If you believe your music taste is objectively better than everyone else’s, in most cases you’re a d**k.” – Sharon, 20
“I think it totally does for me. Part of it has to do with how deeply I connect with the music I listen to. The music I love really reflects certain aspects of my personality, so I assume it’s the same for other people I know. If people like the same music, or a genre I find interesting at least, I’ll assume they’re interesting.” – Jo, 19
“I think personally it does matter, because I’m a musician and music is a huge part of my life. Seeing people that like the same music as me means they appreciate the same art as me and share similar feelings. I believe music us such an emotional thing, so seeing people that listen to deep, well-crafted music is attractive to me.” – Aylah, 19
Thanks to my research and trusty unprofessional opinion, I was able to make a few conclusions;
Music Makes for Great Conversation
If anything is clear, it’s that having music as mutual interest is an ideal common ground. Why else would dating apps preview people’s favourite artists?
When I’m getting acquainted with someone, music is often one of the first topics that’s discussed. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a first date where music isn’t one of the topics of conversation. It’s something that I could talk about forever and am always excited about.
In relationships, music also can be an excellent way to connect on a deeper level. Creating memories over music, whether it’s going to concerts together or listening to each other’s favourite tunes, is incredibly special.
Even if your spoken languages are mutually incomprehensible, music is a powerful and universal way to communicate.
It’s All About Open-Mindedness
Rather than someone’s taste in music, their openness to new artists and genres is a greater determinate of compatibility. The same conclusion could be made about any type of artistic expression, whether it’s food, dance, literature, or visual art.
In fact, I appreciate when someone’s music preferences differ from mine, as I see it as an opportunity to expand my tastes. If someone listened to the exact same music as me, there’d be no room to grow my musical repertoire!
Getting to learn about your partner’s taste in music is a valuable takeaway in any relationship, creating long-lasting memories associated with the tracks you love to listen to together. Even if the connection eventually drifts apart, the time and conscious effort you take to reclaim the music you once shared with someone special is ultimately worth it.
Taste in Music is Indicative of Personality
Music is a core part of the culture and everyday experience. It stirs up intense emotions, ignites memories, and spurs creativity.
When someone introduces me to the music they listen to, or when I browse someone’s playlists on Spotify, I feel like I get a sense of their personality and values. In my experience, I find my own taste in music can reflect my underlying personality traits.
The punk, queercore, and hip-hop music I listen to represent my interest in advocating for social justice, systemic change, and LGBTQ2S+ rights.
The indie, folk, and soul music I listen to expresses my more sensitive and emotional side.
The psychedelic rock and reggae I listen to exhibits my laid-back nature and curiosity about altered states of consciousness.
These are just some genre-centred examples, but it can also come down to the specific artists and songs you love. Perhaps your favourite artist was born in the same city as you, writes lyrics you resonate with, sings in your mother-tongue, or plays an instrument that you also play.
Whatever it may be, sharing music with someone is like giving them a glimpse of your lived experience; a window into your soul.
It’s Not the Be-All and End-All
For the musically obsessed, it’s undeniable that music taste plays a role in shaping how you see yourself and your romantic compatibility.
The consensus is that bonding over music and having overlap in taste is a catalyst for connection, but what’s more important is acceptance and open-mindedness towards others’ musical preferences.
Despite our natural bias to think better of those with music taste we consider “interesting” or “cool”, putting too much weight on this single factor is probably to our detriment.
Even if someone has the most extraordinary music catalogue and woos you over with a passionately curated playlist, please make sure they also treat you with kindness and respect! I can do both, so if you’re looking for a Valentine, you know who to reach 😉
Enjoy the week of love and remember to listen to music with an open heart.