Social differentiation in musical taste patterns

Koen Van Eijck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

291 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we investigate patterns of musical taste using a large sample from the Dutch population. It is found that members from higher-status groups tend to be more omnivorous (that is, they like more different musical genres) than those from lower-status groups, which is in line with Petersons (1992; Peterson & Simkus 1992) hypothesis. The actual difference is, however, rather small and occurs only with regard to the number of genres that respondents like at least "more or less," not with regard to their favorite genres. In order to discover the combinatorial logic by which musical genres are clustered into specific taste patterns, a factor model is estimated. The results indicate that musical genres can be structured on the basis of three basic "discourses" (highbrow, pop, folk). The so-called omnivores comprise a specific fraction of the higher-status groups known as the new middle class, whose tastes combine a set of genres related to all these discourses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1185
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes

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