Research into music fans: what (stereo)type are you?

“One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They’re both creative and at ease but not outgoing,” says Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University who has gathered research from 36,000 people on their music tastes and personalities. “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.” Did he tell the Daily Mail?

The research is guilty of sweeping generalisations – jazz fans are laid back, who’d have guessed?!? – and ignores folk music (pretty major category there). It also sweeps goth, emo, nu-metal, prog rock and metal, ie fans of Nick Cave, Sisters of Mercy, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance, Evanescence, Nightwish, Korn, Pantera, Marillon, Whitesnake, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica under the “heavy metal” banner.

Apparently all this was to assist in marketing, “If you know a person’s music preference you can tell what kind of person they are, who to sell to,” Professor North. I’d strongly advise Professor North to stick to the day job. Marketers can certainly tell the difference between Slipknot fans and Marillon fans and would not attempt to sell either of them The Sisters of Mercy’s fourth album which might yet rise phoenix-like from the ashes of their battle with East West Records. And what’s the surprise over the similarities between heavy metal and classical music fans? Didn’t he know Amy Lee of Evanescence is a trained classical pianist?

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