Three Types of Listeners

I have found that there are three types of music listeners.

The first is the casual listener who doesn’t pay much attention to the music whatsoever. This listener often doesn’t know the name of the artists or the songs that they listen to. They don’t own much in the way of music. They might not even have an MP3 player. However, they do listen to the radio and rarely switch stations.

The second type of listener likes the sound of the music and doesn’t really focus on the lyrics as much. If it has a good beat, they are into it. If it has a catchy chorus, it doesn’t really matter what the song is about, they like it.

The third type of listener really listens to and analyzes lyrics. This listener cares about the whole package. It isn’t just about the lyrics. The song needs to have a good beat too and the delivery needs to be on point. This listener is often critical of everything they hear.

So what type of listener are you?

I know that I fall into the third category, which from my experience seems to be the rarest of them all. I know that there have been plenty of times where I have discussed a song with someone and they seemed really surprised to hear what the song is actually about. They say things like, “I don’t really listen to the words.” (Type 2 listener)

I know that there are certain songs that I like simply because of how they sound, but I still listen to the words. Sometimes it is okay to have a bubble-gum-pop song that doesn’t really say anything. I do have a few guilty pleasures, but for the most part, I want substance in my music.

I want to hear from you.

Did any of the above categories describe your listening style?

Are you a Type 1, 2, or 3 listener?

Please leave a comment,


8 responses to “Three Types of Listeners”

  1. Definitely Catagory 3. I , for one, get incredibly annoyed with redundant radio, with "artists" who dont even write their music. I need a good beat, a catchy melody, and an eqaully impressive harmony. A great base line, too.

  2. Hey I'm currently a 3rd year popular music degree student. My main instrument is voice and when choosing songs to listen too or sing it is all about the lyrics for me. My job as a singer is to allow the audience to connect with me and what I'm singing emotionally to do this I have to understand what the song is about otherwise I wouldn't be doing my role properly.
    Like a hairdresser without scissors.



  3. Hi J,

    It seems that you and I are on the same page with this one. I really like your analogy here too.

    Good luck with your studies and thanks for commenting!

  4. I wonder if there is a subset of the second type, or even a fourth type? Listeners that seek timbre, texture and musical structure, who enjoy complex and multi-threaded compositions that the majority of listeners find to be too abstract, or even 'weird'. Listeners that like to be immersed in the music as a purely sensory, almost synaesthetic environment? I would find myself in that camp (none of my friends share my musical taste!), but before I book myself into the funny farm, wonder if I'm not alone :o)

  5. Hi Graeme,

    I hadn't really considered it before but there probably is a fourth type. It sounds a little bit harder to define than the other three types.

    I doubt that you are alone in your musical taste. There must be others that fir in this new fourth classification.

    Thanks for your comment.

  6. Hi,

    Educational use comes under the concept of fair use in the USA and fair dealing in Canada. I’m not sure what the laws are for other parts of the world, but you are generally okay to copy a small portion of material for a class. Posting it online is a different story. Make sure the link is private and not visible to search engines and only give the address to your students and you should be okay.