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Fun with music studies, polls, and surveys

Click to play video: '‘Chief mouser’ Larry the Cat chases fox outside U.K. PM’s office'
‘Chief mouser’ Larry the Cat chases fox outside U.K. PM’s office
Larry the Cat to the rescue — Downing Street’s “chief mouser” made headlines this week when he chased off a fox twice his size. The fox was roaming around a patch outside of the British prime minister’s residence before it met its match with Larry – Oct 14, 2022

I’m a curious fellow when it comes to music and how the world interacts with it. This makes me a sucker for press releases touting brand-new information about music and … well, it could be anything.

Usually, it’s the results of a study commissioned by an ad agency on behalf of a client (often a gambling site but it could also be anything from a mortgage broker to a sex toy company) to stealthily get some clicks and attention. The British are particularly good at camouflaging an ad by cloaking it with the aura of serious research.

Other times, though, it’s a report on some legitimate but quirky scientific work. The Daily Mail loves this sort of stuff.

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Here is a, er, survey of recent surveys. studies, and polls that caught my attention.

The Best Cities for Music Lovers

This one, conducted for a secondary ticket seller called SeatPick, claimed to have measured the levels of love given to music by the citizens of cities around the world. It annoyed me greatly. According to their analysis, London is the greatest city for music, something I cannot dispute. But if you go through the top 50 survey cities, there’s not a single mention of Canada, a country that punches far, far, above its weight on the international stage. I don’t think they even bothered.

Credibility rating: 0 out of 10.

Want Better Grades? Don’t Listen to Metal

A study for College Rover looked at the best study buddy music and came to the conclusion that listening to metal while you cram is a bad idea. The only genre more distracting is hip-hop due to its dense lyrical content. Weirdly, 60 per cent of people with high grades self-identified as metal fans, I’m confused.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Credibility rating: 2 out of 10

Greatest Dancefloor Fillers

A study of 2,000 people in the UK found that if you want to reliably get people to hit the dancefloor, the song that will do it more than any other is Dancing Queen by ABBA followed by C’mon Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody. If you have been to a wedding, you’ll know that this is spot on.

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Credibility rating: 10 out of 10.

The Most TikTok-able Concerts

A betting site had someone look at the concert tours that generated the most TikTok videos from audience members. To the surprise of no one, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour leads the way in 2023 with (at last count) 36 billion videos, which is more than the other 157 analyzed tours combined. Remember when cameras were verboten at concerts? “NO CAMERA OR RECORDING DEVICES ALLOWED” was on every ticket. Now concert spectacles are designed specifically with TikTok moments in mind.

Credibility rating: 10 out of 10

The Most Tiring Artist to See Live

The shared concert experience can be exhausting. Add in some genuine hysteria and the whole thing can be draining. A personal trainer site looked at a variety of concert metrics including the number of steps required by audience members, the vigorousness of dancing, the average beats-per-minute of the music, and the length of the set. Top of the list for 2023? Taylor Swift with her marathon 40-song sets. I believe it.

Credibility rating: 10 out of 10

The Favourite Music of Truck Owners

An American website for truck enthusiasts wanted to know what kind of music their readers enjoyed the most while driving their F-150s, Rams, and Hummers. Rock (21 per cent), hip-hop (20 per cent), and pop (12 per cent) are the top genres non-truck owners think truck owners prefer. However, hip-hop (24 per cent), rock (23 per cent), and soul (12 per cent are the top genres truck owners actually like to groove to. That’s America. The truck people I know here in Canada love their country and rock. Prove me wrong.

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Credibility rating: 8 out of 10

A Weirdly Specific Study on Rock, Sex, and Truckers

The same trucking site asked 1,000 truck owners and found that 40 per cent of them had done it in their vehicles, most likely while listening to heavy rock.

Credibility rating: I have no idea.

The Music That Makes People Feel the Most Confident

A health site devoted to treating people with eating disorders looked at 1,000 music fans and dug through a bunch of Spotify playlists to find if music impacts body image. It does with Lizzo, Taylor Swift, Adel, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga providing the biggest boost.

Credibility rating: 10 out of 10

The Best Music to Control Pain

This is actually a medical study. It determined that virtually any music can be used to control pain as long as the person suffering from it has control over what music is played. In a related study, Mozart plus Advil seems to have beneficial effects.

Credibility rating: Hey, whatever works for you.

Best Music for Working Out

A stationary bike manufacturer took a survey of people who work out and found that the best artist for the gym was Michael Jackson followed by Eminem and Queen. The top genre for exercise was pop. Rap/hip-hop, and classic rock came next.

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Credibility rating: Given what I’ve heard played in gyms, sure.,

Best Music for Dogs

According to a study by the University of Glasgow published in Physiology and Behavior, no metal, no Motown. Both tended to raise stress levels in pups. Best stick with reggae — Bob Marley is perfect — because its BPM tends to be close to that of the resting heart rate for dogs.

Credibility rating: Based on my own personal studies with my English bull terriers, yes.

Best Music for Cats

Classical. Not even close. This is according to research at the Louisiana State University. Metal is the worst, especially when it comes to guitar solos. And if you really want to calm kitty, look at this study in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Credibility rating: Hey, who am I to argue?


Alan Cross is a broadcaster and podcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New. Music Podcast now on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and Spotify.

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