Survey on musical taste in Germany

In quantitative research on musical tastes and preferences, data from national surveys play a major role. However, these surveys usually serve other purposes than those of taste research and are almost never designed by the researchers themselves. This typically results in somewhat akward and incompatible operationalizations of taste and preference.

To account for this, we conducted a representative survey on musical tastes and preferences in Germany on the basis of a self-designed inventory. Drawing from musicological expertise, we constructed a multidimensional inventory of musical taste (MIMT) that aimed at measuring not only the content dimension of taste, but other possible dimensions as well, e.g. breadth, depth, or individuality. On the side of independent variables, we not only included typical sociodemographic variables, but also a set of live-style indicators (the so-called SINUS milieus that had never before been studied in this context), as well as inventories for psychological traits. By doing so, we aimed at integrating sociological and psychological research on tastes and their driving factors.

The survey was conducted end of 2016 / beginning of 2017 with N=2086 participants. Data analysis is still in progress. At the moment, we specifically focus on the following questions: 1) Working out the construct of taste as multidimensional and showing its feasibility and informativ value with our data. 2) Taking up the sociological discussion on the “musical omnivore” as the new taste type of the elite, it is asked if musical omnivores (i.e. people with a larger number of styles they like which we prefer to call breadth of taste) do exist in Germany and if yes, if they share certain sociodemographic characteristics. 3) Looking for subgroups within the fans of classical music and heavy metal (Fig. 1). An important aspect of everyday taste practices, taste groups on the level of substyles have not yet been studied in taste research.