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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Opinion | You shouldn’t be embarrassed about your music taste

Student+holds+headphones.
Hannah Levine | Staff Photographer
Student holds headphones.

I often find myself considering the reactions of other people when discussing my music taste in order to manage their perception of me. Maybe I’ll mention a less popular artist or assert my love for folk music to assure the cool people around me that I am, too, very interesting and particular about music. I’ll leave out the top 40 song stuck in my head for days and conveniently miss a month of Receiptify so people don’t know about the musical cast album I’ve had on repeat recently. While I have successfully crafted my musical image to others, I often limit myself with these arbitrary markers of what the types of music indicate about me.

The truth is, it doesn’t mean much what genre someone likes or who their favorite artist is, as long as they are enjoying what they’re listening to. Any form of media is bound to attract different types of people, and it’s important to have a wide array of music listeners that consume the plethora of art that’s out there. Music is inherently subjective, and the sheer amount of different genres and artists creating music is a clear indicator of how different taste can be. Variety and diversity in art is necessary in creating well rounded people and populations, and we should all embrace that. 

Pop music, in particular, is a tricky genre to enjoy publicly. It’s often dismissed as “bad” music due to its formulaic nature and its attempt to appeal to a wider audience. How good someone’s music taste is is often determined by the variety of genres or the number of lesser known artists. The fear of being basic or mainstream is very prevalent and can be a large factor in how people decide to express their music opinions and habits to public audiences.

This hierarchy of music that is often portrayed on the internet creates this musical elitism that forces people to be embarrassed about their tastes. Ultimately, other people’s personal preferences and interests should not be something to make fun of or honestly even care about. I’m sure we all have that one song or album that we wouldn’t want other people to know how much we like, so why criticize others?

Social media exacerbates judgements on certain music, and individuals may find themselves swayed by the opinions of online communities. What is usually seen as an individual preference has become a source of external validation. With so many platforms that allow us to share our music streaming data, there’s a strong temptation to manipulate the outcome of these recaps. By skipping certain songs or albums, people can attempt to portray a certain image that reflects what they want their music taste to look like. Even the amount of music you’re listening to is scrutinized — it’s easy to feel like you can’t keep up with huge music lovers who may have tens of thousands of more minutes listened to than you.

It’s incredibly important that we don’t restrict ourselves to enjoyment that only satisfies online audiences or the validation of others. Many feel ashamed about their Spotify data or their monthly Receiptify, but why do we care? In the age of social media, it’s easy to slip into a routine of receiving positive reinforcement from the internet, but it is essential to move away from that mindset when engaging in activities that are supposed to be about enjoyment. Consumption of art should not be about how cool it makes you look or how niche your top artists are, but rather the connection you personally have with the music. Listening to music for yourself will always be more satisfying and valuable than conforming to the judgment of others. 

Ultimately, I want to see your “bad” music taste. You should feel proud to post “Glee” cast songs or the holiday song you listened to in the middle of the summer to your Instagram stories. 

Delaney Rauscher Adams loves collegiate a cappella covers and they frequently show up in her Receiptify. Reach out to her at [email protected]

 

About the Contributor
Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist
Delaney Rauscher Adams is a junior majoring in Public and Professional Writing, who is also pursuing a certificate in Digital Media, and minoring Law, Criminal Justice, and Society. She is from Delaware County, PA, and primarily enjoys writing about social justice and pop culture. Reach out to her at .