Broadcasting personalities: the relationship between occupation and music preferences in the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs

Don Knox*, Raymond MacDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This research examines the music choices of interviewees on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs over a 72 year period. In the programme, individuals with a public profile related to high achievement in their chosen occupation identify several pieces of their favourite music. Publicly stated music preferences offer insights on how individuals construct and wish to communicate crucial aspects their identities. We propose that, in this context, occupation is related to music preferences. We investigate this relationship within the framework of Holland’s RIASEC model of vocational personality types, previously ignored by research into music preferences. We consider music preferences in terms of the five-dimension MUSIC model of music preferences, and preference for acoustical attributes of chosen music. Results demonstrate several significant associations between RIASEC occupation types and MUSIC preference dimensions, and also a main effect for RIASEC type on acoustical music attributes such as tempo, energy and loudness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)645-664
    Number of pages20
    JournalPsychology of Music
    Issue number5
    Early online date7 Oct 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017



    • music preferences
    • music attributes
    • personality
    • Desert Island Discs
    • RIASEC

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