The mornings when I take the kid to school I see them standing in the schoolyard, sharing two between four or three between five. It’s a primary school, which around here means K-7, and I’m talking about the Grade 7 girls and their iPods. Two can share a listen, an earbud for each and two ears left open for talk, but mostly they don’t, they just listen, maybe bopping a little but mostly not. I wonder what they’re listening to? I’m seeing more of them now in the new year than I did back at the start of school, I wonder if the iPod-per-girl density reached a tipping point at Christmas. [Update: What they’re listening to.]
A friend wrote me with an educated opinion as to what they’re listening to; I suggested that he blog it and he replied “Thanks, Tim. Unfortunately, my older daughter knows how to use search engines, and I don't think I could survive the bombardment of sarcasm that would hit me if I blogged about her musical preferences.” So I thought I’d quote him anonymously.
Watch Much Music for an hour and you'll have a pretty good idea: the grade-seven girls are Much’s target audience, and they listen to the same thing they watched. Based on my experience with my daughters and their friends downtown in another large Canadian city, the mainstream grade-7 girls will be listening to a lot of Green Day and Eminem, just like the boys are (and maybe Sum 41, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, and similar). The socially-challenged girls will be listening to Hilary Duff or Lindsay Lohan but most will have outgrown them by grade 7. The singing/dancing types will be listening to Kelly Clarkson and various other pop divas whose names elude me right now. A few will be into rap, but that’s more of a boy thing. Girls with older siblings might be a few years ahead of the game, following their siblings’ tastes; first borns might be a little behind, trying to catch up with their friends.
By grade 8, a lot of that seems to be falling apart. The cooler girls start moving retro, abandoning Much music and discovering old acts like the Ramones, Nirvana, Led Zep, etc., depending on their tastes; others start looking for more independent contemporary acts that don’t make Much’s high rotation playlist. Anyone still listening to Hilary Duff at this point will be keeping it a closely-guarded secret to avoid total social annihilation.