If Your Music Taste Is Cemented By Age 14, Then What About Buying Preference Of Your Squirrelling Magpie

Music streamers Spotify earned themselves impressive PR coverage lately.

They “revealed that the tunes you choose in the early teenage years will be with you for the rest of your life”. For girls, this means roughly age 13, boys age 14.

Don’t mention Duran Duran, please.

They cited “Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, an economist and author of the bestseller Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are [who] analysed listeners’ habits on the music streaming service Spotify”.

The juggernaut that is dailymailonline led with this meaning that 2018’s 30-yr olds are Beyonce’s biggest fans.

Here’s their interesting corroborative comment, from Alexandra Lamont, senior lecturer in music psychology at Keele University, Staffordshire;

She believes that the explanation is because in adolescence, people go through a period where they develop their identity in various ways and are then less open to new ideas.
Dr Lamont said: ‘In childhood we are ‘open-eared’ and like lots of different things. In adolescence we have a period of ‘closed-earedness’, when we pick our allegiances and music is very important.

She evokes the categories of Squirrels and Magpies to explain the differences;

“Squirrels have a big back-catalogue and are more likely to listen to music from a wider period of time’
Magpies are more likely to stick to what they have in front of them, as in: ‘I really like this piece. I’m going to listen to it loads and loads’ [fuller citation in footer]

Just as the initial finding’s article framed The Songs That Bind, is there a mirror buying insight; The Buys That Bind?

Twenty years ago when selling an appreciably new product, I developed a particular routine. One I tested and then unleashed on my team. With much success to. Especially in terms of qualification.

The key query to the prospect was along the lines of;

‘what was the last white or brown good you bought for home?’

I found that there was a good chance that if they mentioned a leading-edge, slightly trendy, not-quite mainstream style item, then talked enthusiastically when you followed up as to ‘how come’, they were almost nailed on to go for what we pitched.

A more formal investigation into buying patterns is similarly open to us. What was the last erp they bought? Printer estate? Desks and chairs make? Van fleet? Coffee and tea labels? There’s an endless array of business items to plunder from which you’ll know the ones your typical client tends to associate with.

If someone has a long track record of buying just your type of wares – in terms of say, positioning, price, preparation or performance – then you are duty bound to expose and build upon this ‘fit’.

There’s also perhaps something worthy in this squirrel-magpie labelling.

The obvious axis that struck me was between those that that buy either solely on price or seek true value. Day One versus Ongoing. The traditional solution sale bane pitting cost against benefit.

Maybe the magpie swoops in, grabs that something shiny, only to discover later that, as the old adage goes, “buy on price, prepare to pay twice”. (I always love to quote Ruskin’s wonderful common law of business balance at such times.) And after, realising they’ve picked up a dud, must fly around more having wasted much time and effort. Indeed, is it coincidence that Australian urban magpies are considered a feral dive-bombing pest that ought be eradicated? Whereas the squirrel knows that there’s long game at play. They understand they ought “invest”.

In which case, my career’s found me bonding with many a squirrel. What music was your preferred animal listening to by the time they were 14?


[fuller citation:]

Magpies; engage with music that is currently available to them and popular. They refresh their listening habits fairly regularly, but may go through phases of repeatedly listening to the same set of tracks or have the same favourite piece of music for several weeks.

Squirrels; have more extensive music libraries, and select from and rotate their listening to music that they have collected over much longer time spans. These listeners seem more aware of the functions that music plays for them…

(from Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, ed. by William Forde Thompson, 2014, citing Keeping it Fresh: How Listeners Regulate their own Exposure to Familiar Music, Greasley & Lamont, 2013)

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