Music Personality Baby-Naming

Years ago, I needed a relevant way to identify the four types of music listeners that I believe exist in the world.

Back then, I called them Devotees, Enthusiasts, Ambivalents and Apathetics. I suspected the latter two groups might not appreciate the name-calling, so I needed neutral names, not knowing how these labels would be later used for

Each group’s label had to meet these four criteria:

1. It had to be the title of a (great) song.

2. The song had to lean more toward love and hopefulness than toward heartache and despair.

3. The title of the song had to be a noun so that I could pluralize it when referring to the group of members (e.g. Diamonds in the Rough, Hearts of Gold, etc.).

4. The majority of the artist’s fan base had to belong  to that particular Music Personality.

Unchained Melody, a Righteous Brothers song, was chosen for people who prefer music as a backdrop and don’t bring much of it into their lives, otherwise called “music apathetics” (although, usually not publicly). The music of the Righteous Brothers, and soft-ballad artists like them, is right up the alley of the music listening that Unchained Melodies tend to do.

Shining Star, by Earth, Wind & Fire, was chosen for people who like the hits. Shining Stars like it when music is playing, and usually that happens when other people took the initiative to play something. Accordingly, I call them “music ambivalents.” They are satisfied with the popular music of the day or they have holed up inside classic rock. Either way, you’ll find fans of of Earth, Wind & Fire in the Shining Star group.

It was tougher to choose labels for the next two groups of music lovers. I needed songs that were hip enough to describe these music fans yet still met the love/noun/fan criteria.

Heart of Gold, by Neil Young, was chosen for music lovers who appreciate the intelligence and mastery of Neil Young’s music. Hearts of Gold are “music enthusiasts.” They like being introduced to new music and have discerning taste. Hearts of Gold also have some renegade in them, not unlike NY. They are active music listeners yet they don’t go insane if their music collection is not readily available to them – like Diamonds in the Rough do. I struggled with this group’s label because the title seemed, well, corny. After a long while of searching unsuccessfully for substitutes that met the criteria, it stuck.  Now, I like it.

Diamond in the Rough, a Shawn Colvin song, was chosen for “music devotees” who spend a lot of time exploring music, any and all kinds. Diamonds have a voracious appetite for music and don’t care if anyone else likes it or listens to it. I’ll presume each one has been called a music snob at some point in time. Shawn Colvin is a trailblazer and the kind of underappreciated artist a Diamond in the Rough would love to discover. Honestly, as a member of this group, I like thinking of myself as a diamond in the rough – easy to overlook, but glowing inside. The moment this label was suggested to me by a fellow music devotee (thanks again, David), it was here to stay.

How do the Music Personalities affect compatibility?

Diamonds in the Rough can be described by the following traits and social behaviors:

    Unconventional, resist the mainstream
    Non-conforming, more apt to take social risk
    Open to new experience, explore social unknowns
    Choose life off the beaten path, edgy

You will see less of these traits, the less a person cares for music. You’ll see big differences in personality between a Diamond in the Rough and an Unchained Melody … and these two have the lowest likelihood of compatibility. Read more about the compatibility system here.

Here’s a visual of the compatibility spectrum:

The closer you land on the spectrum, the higher your likelihood of compatibility.

The closer you land on the spectrum, the higher your likelihood of compatibility.

Take the 3-minute quiz now.    Discover your Music Personality.


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