Photo by Dion.
Deal breakers. When it comes to dating, everyone’s got one. Sure, there’s a certain list of criteria that a potential suitor must have before you even consider dating them: common interests, a job, a clean bill of health, etc. Once you’re on that first date, both you and your potential love interest are on your A-game, presenting only your most positive attributes to make a good first impression. As you gradually get to know each other, though, the risk of discovering some unfortunate trait inevitably increases. She doesn’t like animals. He smokes. She insists on wearing the same flannel hat in some ironic statement against lumberjacks. He likes to use “scare quotes” around words like “loyalty” and “committed relationship.”
That list you had before you went into the relationship suddenly evolves into a list of dating “no-no’s” commonly known as deal breakers.
One of the most common traits to make or break a relationship is as simple as the person’s taste in music. As the go-to conversation topic on any first date, music choices tell us a lot about a potential partner’s personality, values, etc. Likewise, studies have shown that our music preferences will determine how attractive we are to our dates. For example, one study showed that women who had an increased interest in country music made them less sexually attractive to men, and vice versa. The study also found that men cared more about a woman’s taste in music more than women cared about a man’s taste in music. Though, if you’ve seen High Fidelity, this second bit really should come as no shock to you.
Imagine if John Cusack’s character, a record store owner who spent more time curating his music collection than attending his relationships, had an account on Facebook or Last.fm. He would be agonizing over his “Top Five” playlist while also keeping a close eye on any female user who showed any promising musical selections.
While publicizing your taste in music is not a new concept in social media, the message has been amplified in triplicate by the recent collaboration between Facebook and Spotify, which allows your friends to know exactly what you’re listening to (for better or for worse). Yet, those looking to make a love connection based on musical chemistry may not want to opt for the Facebook route for the following reasons:
- Facebook is highly regarded as an excellent tool for finding out way too much about people you barely know.
- Everyone uses Facebook to “stalk” or “Facebook creep” people they are interested in.
- Nobody actually admits to having stalked said love interest.
- Acknowledging your creeper status is a social media faux pas, and actually trying to cultivate a romantic connection on Facebook inevitably comes off as, well, creepy.
What’s a music lover to do? Most online dating sites like OKCupid ask you to list your favorite musical artists, but music-focused matchmaking websites like Tastebuds cut right to the chase, matching you up with users who have similar musical tastes to you.
Music fan and Tastebuds co-founder Alex Parish says the idea for the website came about in a conversation with his fellow co-founder and bandmate, Julian Keenaghan.
“We were talking about how music can say a lot about a person, and as such, thought matching people with similar music taste might work in an online dating scenario. At first we built Tastebuds.fm as an experiment, but we quickly found that it had global appeal as it has now attracted people from hundreds of countries around the world.”
The site launched in 2010, and has since grown to over 35,000 users. Users can sign up for Tastebuds through their Facebook or Last.fm accounts, or they can create a completely new profile by entering at least their top three favorite artists. From there, they are matched with other users similar to them and can chat with them online to see if the chemistry continues.
Parish says that the site has lead to successful relationships, and reported news of their first marriage through the site last month. As for music being the solid foundation of a relationship, he agrees in saying, “The music you like can say a lot about you, your personality and core values and as such it can be a surprisingly good indicator of compatibility.”
Parish calls the music match up a great “ice breaker,” and as for “deal breakers” he says, “I think most of our users would be willing to let a few guilty pleasures slip, although we did run a survey asking our users to name their top musical turnoffs – Nickelback came out at the top of the list!”
Whether it’s an ice breaker or a deal breaker, musical taste has evolved into a key component of romantic relationships. If musical taste is so important, then should we have to hide our guilty pleasures in order to sustain our relationships? Music elitists might want to consider another pillar of successful relationships: honesty. A Nickelback fan who is forthright with his or her love for the gravelly tone of Chad Kroeger’s voice might stand a better chance of finding a partner who either shares the same values or at least appreciates their honesty. Every lid has a pot…right?