Day of Sociology (NSV)


During adolescence, music becomes a central source of identity building. Developmental changes, such as increased abstract thinking, allow adolescents to use music as a coping tool for identity changes (Miranda, 2013). Parental and peer relationships provide economic, cultural, and social means to form music tastes and to experience music as an intrinsic part of one’s identity (Nagel & Lemel, 2019). Recently, the emergence of music streaming platforms has also been considered as a central factor in the formation of music tastes (Webster, 2019). These platforms are nevertheless not neutral about what music is suggested, as recommendation algorithms have been shown to introduce various sources of biases (Tofalvy & Koltay, 2021). Yet, less is known about how such technologies interact with previously known socio-digital divides in the formation of adolescents’ music tastes. The paper contributes to this literature by theorizing and empirically disentangling the role of identity characteristics, social positioning, and platform usage in the formation of adolescents’ music tastes. Employing a cross-sectional study among Belgian adolescents (N = 590), we address two main research questions, namely what are the music taste profiles of adolescents in today’s streaming era and what best predicts the formation of such profiles. To answer these questions, we used latent class analysis to derive the taste profiles and multinomial regression analysis to disentangle the role of identity, social, and digital factors in the formation of such profiles. Results are discussed in light of a neo-Bourdieusian approach focused on the social positioning of cultural objects and audiences.

Day of Sociology (NSV)
Groningen, The Netherlands
Luca Carbone
Empirical Social Scientist