Is Listening to Music a Hobby? It Depends.

According to a study, adults listen to music for an average of 18 hours per week, which is over 2.5 hours of music per day.[1]

That's a considerable amount of our available daytime.

At what point is listening to music actually a hobby and when is it just an interest, a brief irregular pastime?

I would like to explore these questions in this article.

What are characteristics of listening to music as a hobby?

Now come four points that are important characteristics for listening to music as a hobby.

1. Hearing music as a deliberate activity

If it is not a coincidence, but you actively choose listening to music for a certain period of time in your free time, it is a voluntary but intentional, deliberate activity. 

If you like to intentionally schedule some time listening to music every workday at the end of the day, then music is more than a casual activity for you.

This is our first point in supporting the fact your music listening is a hobby.

2. You're listening to music in your free time

A Hobby is carried out during free time, it's a leisure occupation. So if you're listening to music in your free time, that's already a first sign of a hobby.

Therefore, if you are listening to music while you work, it cannot be considered a hobby. Hobbies are practiced in spare time in order to relax.

3. A certain enthusiasm, which goes beyond a mere interest

If you think music is something that plays on the side, like elevator music, and you don't care if it's on or if you can't hear anything, then you probably have less enthusiasm for music in general.

But if you are so enthusiastic about music that you get carried away listening to music at home on the sofa and/or at concerts and festivals, and you talk passionately about singers and bands with family and friends, then music is most likely something like a hobby for you.

4. Enjoying music not as an obligation, it's no daily work

If you don't have a sense of obligation that you have to accomplish anything by listening to music, that speaks to a hobby.

If you are having fun at the moment of listening to music, you forget time and space while listening, then music is a real enjoying leisure activity.

5. You're listening to music regularly

A hobby is performed regularly. For example, if you're listening to four hours of music a day for five days and then don't hear music for several years, that speaks more to a short-term interest and not a hobby.

If, on the other hand, you are listening to music for half an hour a day, 2 to 3 times a week, this is a regular activity and is therefore more indicative of a hobby.

6. You earn no money with listening to music

If you make money listening to music, then it's no longer a hobby, it's a business.

Music journalists who listen to music on behalf of publishers, e.g. write music reviews in daily newspapers and music blogs, and earn money with it are mostly freelancers who have their own business.
It can be assumed that these music critics indulge in their hobby and enjoy music in their free time. They have thus turned their hobby into a profession.

Interest vs. Hobby vs. Business

There are different levels for listening to music. This is not a rating, but only to express the personal importance of music for the listener, the time investment in listening to music and so on.

Following table shows a comparison of listening to music with casual interest, as a hobby or as a business.

Features Interest Hobby Business
Frequency low regularly, at least twice a week everyday some hours
Enthusiasm low at least high very high
Earn Money no no yes
Obligation no no yes
In Free Time yes yes yes
At Work no no yes

Yes! It can be an enjoying hobby

Music composed from real creativity is like a universal language without words that everyone in the world loves and would like to shake a leg to.

At best, listening to music allows us to forget our thoughts for a moment and joyfully devote ourselves to the hobby of music.


[1] Sanfilippo, K. R. M., Spiro, N., Molina-Solana, M., & Lamont, A. (2020). Do the shuffle: Exploring reasons for music listening through shuffled play. PLOS ONE, 15(2), e0228457.

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