Embodied Listening Modes as Part of Habitual Music Media Orientations: Relating Young Adults’ Audio Technology Use with Their Music Socialization and Taste Preferences
Music listening in everyday life is nowadays typically characterized by trans-media use: Most young adults in Germany use several different technologies for accessing, storing, sharing, and listening to their music. Nevertheless, there exist two relatively homogenous large music-related media user groups within the younger birth-cohorts: The ‘Digital Mobilists’ exhibit a rather narrow ‘audio repertoire’, concentrating on radio, notebook, mobile devices, internal speakers and headphones. Conversely, the ‘Versatile Audiophiles’ have a broader audio repertoire encompassing also HiFi stereo units, various storage media, HiFi headphones and separate loudspeakers of various kinds. The paper is describing a mixed-methods study which tries to explain young adults’ membership in one of these two ‘communicative figurations’ both by a) logistic regression on socio-demographics, media socialization and musical taste preferences employing a first-year student sample as well as by b) analyzing six biographic-episodic interviews conducted with adolescents and emerging adults of both media user types in focus. On the one hand, our results show the ways in which the two identified everyday music listening modes are grounded in highly-ritualized, embodied situated practices with audio media technologies which are felt to enrich otherwise rather ‘non-musical’ social activities. On the other hand, the results demonstrate the importance of gender and social milieu, early music listening experiences with audio media and the apparently body-related implications of certain music genres for explaining and understanding habitual audio media use in later adult life.