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Music: Solitary or Social?

Started by bgmnts, May 18, 2022, 10:47:36 PM

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Do you prefer to listen to your music alone or listen to it amongst other people (either a record or at a gig event)? Studies show both kinds have different effects but it'd be interesting to know what you prefer. Gun to your head, which would you keep and which would you bin?

Rolf Lundgren

Some of the worst moments of my life have involved being thrust an earbud into my hand to listen to a song they know I'll like.


Music has always been a very intimate thing to me. Probably at least partially due to being an only child and really discovering music at the point where I entered my teens and became a bit of a social outcast for a few years - combined with music very quickly becoming my autistic special interest, I basically spent most of my free time aged 11-15 obsessively listening to or making music. Throw in the fact that a lot of my favourite music is very much headspacey, atmospheric stuff that needs 100% of your attention and I tend to enjoy music most when I'm on my own. This is a big part of why I'm not particularly into live music.


I like listening to it on my own, especially when I'm working - unless I really need to concentrate on a job, like if the language is very technical or it's a field I don't know much about, e.g. finance, I like having music on in the background. Gigs, it depends. Sometimes I like going on my own but it can be fun to go with friends or family, like when my brother and I went to see Tool the other week, or when I went to see Hyena Kill with a couple of mates earlier this year. I'm going to see Cave-In with the same people because one of them is a massive fan - I'm not as into them as he is, but I remember enjoying them at Reading and the buggers barely tour the UK, so why not. Although it is annoying when you're with drunk people who think you're not enjoying yourself because you're not bouncing up and down and screaming. When I'm watching a band I'm 'in the zone', to use a wanky term, and I don't like being jolted out of it.


Used to be a lot more social but I love a solo gig these days even tho I seem to be a magnet for absolute bellends as soon as the lights go down.

Pink Gregory

I like the idea of having records on in the house; Station to Station or Transformer on a saturday morning while I'm making the eggs have been some of the greatest days of my life, but of course you do miss some of the intricacies by not giving it your full attention. 

Which feels a bit disrespectful to the artist but then it is conducive to discovering something over a period of time.

Sebastian Cobb

I like both, I guess for me discovering music is more often than not a solitary experience, I do love recommendations from people but also like going on genre/artist dives by myself and find that rewarding. But hand-in-hand with that there's something affirming about then going to a gig or rave or something and being surrounded by people enjoying the same things as you, going with mates is great but I think there's something to be said about going to see an artist you haven't before that you discovered alone and being surrounded by people enjoying it as well from a comfort zone kind of thing, I'm not saying it should be done all the time but a bit like having a solitary christmas on your own or living by yourself I reckon everyone should try it at least once.


If someone invites me to listen to music they've purchased, I'll do so. When it comes to my own collection, I tend to listen alone and select music that fits my mood. That doesn't mean that I lock the door - if my flatmate (who is similarly obsessed with music) sticks his head round the door because a track I'm playing has piqued his ear, then he's free to come in. The door is always open.

Stoneage Dinosaurs

I think that of the main reasons I've never managed to properly get into house/techno/dance type stuff is that I predominantly listen to music on my own and I've never really got on with the whole general atmosphere and vibe of that sort of stuff when I'm just sat in my room alone with headphones on. It's probably different when you're at a rave or something


Alone is better. I'm alone more often. With people they might criticise or moan and complain. Fuck that. If you need people around to enjoy music then it's probably the company you're enjoying more.


Up until I was about 14 I shared Peel's idealistic notion that people would like good music if only they were exposed to it. I had that kicked out of me with embarrassing mortification. After that it was solitary all the way.