Psychologists at the University of Barcelona discovered a group of people who lack the ability to receive any pleasure from music, even though they receive pleasure from other joys of life like food and sex. While studying responses to music to gauge emotion, they found that about 5% of all people just couldn't feel anything at all when listening to music.
When asked to bring in music that they liked, the 5% were at a total loss. They didn't have any music; no CDs, no Pandora, no downloads, no Spotify. It just wasn't a part of their lives. When asked to listen to a wide variety of music that elicited strong emotional responses from the rest of the test group, this non-emotive group who suffered from musical anhedonia had zero response that could be measured via heart-rate monitors or skin conductance. They just didn't care either way.
Don't confuse this with people who have a disorder called amusia, where people can't identify musical tones. The researchers found that these people could have their emotions peaked via music.
Lest you think these musical anhedonics might have an underlying psychological problem that was being masked, they all appeared to be healthy and happy in every other way. They just couldn't hear and react to music.
So if you're wondering why your not selling more music or getting more people to your shows, remember that there's at least 5% of the population that will never get it, and it's not your fault. Feel better now?
If you'd like to see if you're one of those that has no response to music (and if you're reading this blog I bet you a vintage U47 that you're not), take the test here.
Help support this blog. Any purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.
You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.
Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.