Why do we stop exploring new music as we get older?

I can say without question that this has never happened with me. At the age of 60, I’m not sure that it’s ever going to. I remain as passionate about the discovery of new music as I ever have. However, that hasn’t stopped others from trying to convince me that at some random point in time, the quality of music went into decline. All I can think is, it must suck to be them.


Yes, some people do feel that the quality of music has declined. I’ve read some comments on youtube music videos that state - “They don’t make music like this anymore” or “This is real music, not the crap that’s out there today…” I think it could be a sentimental attachment to a time of one’s youth or a record of past you loved so much that it never leaves you, which I think is fair enough. However, never stop learning, exploring new music, actually any new is good for the brain, it keeps the brain cells working apparently.


I believe those are cases of arrested development from a musical standpoint. That said, I understand how and why it can happen, I just don’t buy into the notion that at some seemingly random point in time, the quality of music in general went downhill. Also, those that believe the rise in popularity of genres such as Rap and Hip-Hop are somehow responsible for it. That’s just ignorance.

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When I saw the thread title, I thought you were referring to a video very recently published by Rick Beato that deals with not exactly that, but something in that vein. Here’s the link:

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Some say it started going downhill with auto-tune, even Jay-Z wanted to see digitally corrected music dead.

People are always going to find something to complain about in regards to finding fault with contemporary music. I guess prior to Autotune is was the teen idol and/or pre-fab teen idol/pop music groups. I tend to focus on the music I’m a fan of, which rarely (if ever) comes from the Top 40 world. That goes all the way back to when I was a kid in the 70s and discovered the FM dial and along with it, album radio. There was also lots of music I was introduced to via siblings and friends that never received any sort of airplay.

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There is always something really bad (and complaints are fair game) just like there is always something really good at the same time going on. What people like me complain about current music is that awful noise got mainstream, omnipresent and massively bigger in quantity than anything good, while good music still exists and is buried.

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Since music (like art in general) is subjective, how one defines “good” or “bad” is entirely up to the individual. Much vitriol is often aimed at Top 40 as being bad. I’m not sure if it’s bad or not but the vast majority of it has never appealed to me. I love country music but the type of country music I like isn’t going to be heard on commercial Country radio nor is it likely to appeal to those that listen to those stations. There is also the casual music listener factor where it’s little more than aural wallpaper to them vs. the dyed in the wool music lover who lives and breathes music.

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People are always ready to die on that “music is subjective” hill without ever realizing that often… no it isn’t. I don’t know who wrongly “established” it that way, but there are always ways to objectively qualify music as great or terrible because of the way it’s made, not of who’s listening. There is great music I don’t like and blah music I like, and we’re all able to recognize when something is well-done or not – because music can be well done or badly done, and that is an objectively quantifiable thing in several ways, difficult as it may be. Music can be well-thought or badly thought, like… why do you think there are cheap b-sides and leftovers that sound objectively cheap? Music can be well-played or terribly programmed, when you think about the craft as objectively as possible.

What you like is subjective; what it actually is is objective.

And what we see today is the terribly executed part winning more ignorant ears, and more ground also based on ignorance and a weight it doesn’t deserve or can even sustain. Top 40 in 1983 was probably awesome, is still appreciated. The same for 1993. Top 40 today won’t be appreciated or even remembered 30 years from now, because there are social and technical processes going on (the internet, the labels, the media, the recording technology, etc) that deeply differentiate those decades and productions, no matter who listens to it now. Today’s top 40 will be discarded as the used tissue that it in fact is.

I respectfully disagree. I also don’t buy into this notion about what will or won’t be remembered 5, 10, 50, or 100 years later lending it some sort of credence. When I listen to a piece of music for the first time whether it will be remembered by future generations or not never crosses my mind. Reason being, it’s not important. What I’m paying attention to is if it moves me in some way. That’s what’s most important to me.


I think things change for many with age. In one’s teens and twenties, there can be a lot of uncertainty about one’s life’s path, chemical/emotional changes, etc. This allows one to be more easily moved by music, particularly if the musicians are a bit older and worldly.

By middle age, many of those factors change. Plus it’s a bit more challenging for a 50 year old to listen to new music and identify with the life experiences of the new 20 year old writing it.

I think at a certain point, the musical discovery gives way to recalling past memories.

Plus the inevitable hearing loss, however subtle, stripping the ability do be moved by higher frequencies.

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Absolutely Not! Gotta keep moving… :smiley: :man_running: :running_woman: :horse_racing: :man_biking: :notes: :guitar: :musical_score: :trumpet: :drum: :banjo: :radio: :arrow_right: :+1:


An older person would have probably has listened to more music than someone much younger, and is more likely to recognize musical cliches. This is just my opinion, music tends to go around in circles like fashion, and soon enough you get a lot of music that sounds the same with nothing innovative about it. Not that it’s terrible music, to someone who’s been lisitening to music for a long time, orginality and progression in music may become scarce.


In having this discussion with others, I often see people complaining about the invention of any new genres or the lack of anything they consider groundbreaking. These are the same people that will complain about how rap and hip-hop have signaled the downfall of music and don’t even consider them valid genres of music. If they were to hear new music that would be considered uncharted territory I can only imagine they would complain about that as well. My take is, these people enjoy complaining more about current music than actually putting forth the effort to explore all of the new music that’s out there.


That’s true, there is a lot of good new music out there if you search and listen, even music from the past that one hasn’t explored yet.


That is what I do. There is music from every decade I’ve been alive (and before) that I’ve never explored as well as some I’ve only skimmed the surface of where I want to dig deeper. Over the years, there has been numerous articles written about why some people lose the desire to discover new music. At the age of 60, I’m an anomaly in that regard as the vast majority of people my age will tell you until they’re blue in the face that all current music isn’t worth their time. I believe it’s a sign of a stagnant mind when someone stops embracing anything new whether it be music, literature, art, cinema, etc.

I agree and disagree with much of this thread! My take:

I think as you get older life kinda gets in the way of exploring new music. Work, kids, renovating the bathroom, whatever it might be. Generally you have less free time. When I was young, every spare second was spent on music, whether it was listening, playing, or watching. Oh to be young again, eh? Responsibilities suck. If only someone continued to pay all the bills when you leave home…

For me, personally, technology has also played a part. I’ve been slow to embrace streaming because I like the physical product. I like liner notes. I like artwork. When I was younger, I sometimes bought CDs by artists I’d never heard of because the cover looked interesting. (Often it turned out to be complete shite, by the way… But worth it for the odd nugget.)

Getting older, I’ve been less able to afford taking that sort of “risk”. Even with bands I know. With the resurgence of vinyl, the physical product is much more expensive now. (I don’t even have a functioning CD player anymore.) So I’ve had a period of time where I wasn’t really buying or listening to new music.

That’s changed in the last couple of years. I still buy the odd vinyl, but I mostly stream. As a result, I’ve discovered loads of awesome, current stuff. Partly through recommendations, on here and elsewhere, partly through recommendations from insert current streaming app of choice here, and partly from exploring things I’d always wanted to explore but wasn’t willing to shell out the dosh for.

I have mixed feelings about it. I think, Bandcamp aside, artists kinda get screwed by the streaming apps. But I’m connecting with music again, and that’s brought me great joy in a rough couple of years.

This is turning into an essay, so I’ll try to stop now. But, on ‘Top 40’ music, or whatever today’s equivalent of that is: I sometimes watch repeats of Top of the Pops from the 80s and the 90s. 95% of it is utter shite, to my ears. Then and now. I watched it religiously back in the day. For the 5%.

I’ve clearly never been a fan of ‘popular’ music. But I’m ok with it, and will never judge anyone who likes the stuff that I don’t. There’s a lot of great stuff going on, and lots of stuff that I don’t like. I don’t think the ratio between the two is any different now than it was when I was younger. But the way we consume music is very different. And priorities change as you get older.

I’m happy that I’m open to listening to new things. I hope I always will be. I think R.E.M. instilled that in me. They were always evolving and challenging the listener. It kept me open-minded.