Music listening may seem as a very personal and individual activity. You get your headphone and smartphone, activate Spotify and start listening. With your headphone on your head, you are isolated from the world. Without that headphone however, you still hear music.
One third of the music we listen to is in the environment. This means that one third of the music we hear is not chosen by our self. Just think about it, everywhere we go, they play music. From the supermarket to the gym; from the club to the restaurant we eat; from the Starbucks to the hairdresser; music is being played in the background. Not only there, from the Netflix series we watch; to the movie we see; to the advertisement we see; music is used a mood manipulation mechanism.
That raises the question whether our music listening is as in control as we think it is. For this there are two sides to highlight. On one side you can say that our behavior and thoughts are influenced by the media around us. It may seem that we are conscious in the music we like and the music that we dislike, but it is all a product of the sounds we hear in our surrounding. Of course, things you often see or hear, are more likeable than things that are unfamiliar to you. With this we can say that we are a product of the time and age we live in and we are out of control of the preferences we have.
On the other hand however, you can say that there is a difference between the music we listen to consciously and the music we hear unconsciously. Music in the environment is something we hear but do not have a clear opinion on it. Our personal music listening however, is with attention and we do have an opinion on it.
Whether we are influenced by our environment on the music we do like and we do not like, we should not forget that our environment is a big input in the music we listen to. We can easily measure our personal music listening behavior with the statistics of Spotify and Last.fm but one third of the music we hear is harder to measure.