A recent study has found that some people don’t derive much (or any) pleasure from listening to music, compared to other worldly pleasures (such as money). From the study’s abstract, describing this as specific musical anhedonia:
Music has been present in all human cultures since prehistory, although it is not associated with any apparent biological advantages (such as food, sex, etc.) or utility value (such as money). Nevertheless, music is ranked among the highest sources of pleasure, and its important role in our society and culture has led to the assumption that the ability of music to induce pleasure is universal. However, this assumption has never been empirically tested. In the present report, we identified a group of healthy individuals without depression or generalized anhedonia who showed reduced behavioral pleasure ratings and no autonomic responses to pleasurable music, despite having normal musical perception capacities. These persons showed preserved behavioral and physiological responses to monetary reward, indicating that the low sensitivity to music was not due to a global hypofunction of the reward network. These results point to the existence of specific musical anhedonia and suggest that there may be individual differences in access to the reward system.
The study focused on recruiting college students, so I am not sure if the generalizations of the study can apply to people younger or older than the sample. Perhaps our affinity toward enjoying music changes with age?
(via The Verge)