The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Here’s How — video included
Canadian Awareness Network
Aug 13, 2014
By Tom Barnes August 4, 2014
Last summer it was “Blurred Lines.” This summer it’s “Fancy.” Every year, there’s a new song that we all hate until we don’t anymore (see: playcounts). And it turns out that’s because we were brainwashed to like them.
Research suggests that repeated exposure is a much more surefire way of getting the general public to like a song than writing one that suits their taste. Based on an fMRI study in 2011, we now know that the emotional centers of the brain — including the reward centers — are more active when people hear songs they’ve been played before. In fact, those brain areas are more active even than when people hear unfamiliar songs that are far better fits with their musical taste.
This happens more often than you might think. After a couple dozen unintentional listens, many of us may find ourselves changing our initial opinions about a song — eventually admitting that, really, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” isn’t as awful as it sounds. PBS’ Idea Channel‘s Mike Rugnetta explains, it’s akin to a musical “Stockholm syndrome,” a term used originally by criminologist Nils Bejerot to describe a phenomenon in which victims of kidnapping may begin to sympathize with their captors over time.