(can’t get no) satisfaction;

Music taste and personality type are closely linked, Professor Adrian North of Herriot-Watt University claims on the BBC this morning.

Smelling the sort of bullshit so-what academic study I always seemed to end up covering back in my student newspaper days (alcohol makes the opposite sex appear more attractive!), I clicked through to read the story – and while much of the results seem only to conform to lazy stereotypes (indie kids, for example, tend to be creative, workshy types with low self esteem) there are a few surprises in there. The one that people tend to be picking up on is that heavy metal fans are “gentle”. Says Professor North:

The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things.

I’m not very easily convinced by this type of study, or indeed anything that tries to pigeonhole people for (and this is admitted by the researchers in the article) the purposes of marketing. I’d class many of the readers of this blog as people with an above average level of interest in music – just the sort of people who’d be interested in reading further about a study such as this. Yet we’d seem to be the ones who buck the trend: half my favourite genres – a word I also struggle with – don’t even get a look in (folk? blues? alternative country – which I’d definitely distinguish from mainstream country, as Keith Urban and Son Volt have about as much in common as Britney Spears and Dolly Parton?), while the verdicts on the ones that do completely contradict themselves.

The researcher is still looking for survey participants from anywhere in the world, so if you’ve got a few minutes to spare pop over to peopleintomusic.com and have your say.



  1. Paul
    September 5, 2008 / 11:14 am

    I must admit that I think this is spot on. I have been in and around the metal scene for over a decade now, and while you do get the posers and idiots you get in any other scene, metallers are generally smart, kind, gentle people who avoid trouble, are usually reasonably intellegent (unless you start looking on the fringes of Black Metal) and general ‘good eggs.’ So for me, it’s quite nice to see some positive coverage for a scene which has always been maginalised, ignored and lampooned. Couple this with the fact that Slipknot’s (admittedly not that good) new album is sitting pretty on the top of the US and British charts, it’s a good week for metal!

  2. Sara
    September 5, 2008 / 7:33 pm

    Having hung out with the gothy metal kids in school, I can totally vouch for the metal-as-gentle thing. They tended to skew far more to the terrifying-looking-total-teddy-bear side than anything else. 🙂

  3. Jay is Spartacus, too
    September 5, 2008 / 10:52 pm

    as long as we still agree that hippies suck….