Study: Ohio State Students Prefer Listening to Classical Music

The study asked students to list down the playlist on their iPods and smartphones, researchers were surprised to find the list filled with Mozart, Beethoven and other classical music.

The study used the music intelligence services of its newly acquired subsidiary, The Echo Nest, to track the listening habits of student subscribers throughout the nation.

“(When) people are at college and at university, they are figuring out what they want to do with their lives … and to a certain extent, they (discover) what music they are going to like,” said Spotify data storyteller Eliot Van Buskirk.

Van Buskirk said the listening data was collected from Spotify listeners who had previously registered for the company’s student deal, a discount given to individuals currently enrolled at accredited higher education institutions in the U.S.

The discount allows current students access to Spotify’s premium services, which include unlimited ad-free streaming of songs, as well as the ability to download songs to play while offline. Spotify Premium costs about $10 per month, but the price is reduced to about $5 per month once a student’s name, date of birth and university is verified.

Trends in students’ listening habits were interpreted and summarized from this data, Van Buskirk said.

“We started with a longer list of the schools with the most Spotify subscribers … Out of our Spotify listeners, the schools that put in the most time listening is where that list comes from,” he said. “(Then we looked at) the amount of listening per capita at each school.”

Other schools in the study include Purdue University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Alabama and Cornell University.

Spotify ranked the schools based on the number of plays per student subscriber at each college studied. The results were posted in September on the Spotify Insights blog.

OSU is ranked No. 21 out of 40 on Spotify’s published list of “Top 40 Most Musical Universities in America.”

California Polytechnic State University is ranked at the top of the list, while Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is ranked at No. 11. The University of Wisconsin—Madison leads the Big Ten Conference schools at number 15 and the University of Michigan ranks at No. 29.

“It is interesting because it is all U.S. college students, so it is about finding out how they are similar and how they differ,” Van Buskirk said. “To me, the beauty is looking at each school and seeing the stuff that jumps out there, especially the distinctive genres and artists.”

On the Spotify Insights website, each ranked school has a comprehensive summary of campus-specific listening habits, Van Buskirk said.

“Some of these statistics are distinctive, meaning you are looking at this school versus all of the other schools,” he said.

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