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Music Taste & Attraction — Experts Answer Just How Important This Connection Is

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In the midst of a global pandemic, dating has gotten a lot more creative. Considering the fact that social outings are still limited in many places, coupled with the fact that isolation can make some single people crave companionship — or at the very least meaningful connections — looking for love online may be the most viable option for those hoping to start a relationship. And one new app is offering a unique angle to this idea: Matching you on the premise that music taste and attraction can be an important connection for a lasting relationship.

Vinylly uses your music streaming data and music tastes to pair you up with potential partners, and even offers the option of streaming concerts for virtual dates. For music lovers, this idea may be enticing, but what do relationship experts have to say about basing your bond primarily on a shared entertainment preference? And what should you know before trying a dating app like Vinylly?

One the plus side, sharing musical taste can spark an instant emotional connection. "Music is a great way to bond," says Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, author of Dating from the Inside Out, and the host of The Love Psychologist podcast. "It’s emotional and can be a light, fun way to get to know someone in the beginning." And the dating expert adds that listening to music can improve your mood as well as reduce your anxiety, which can bode well for a more lasting connection.

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And having shared interests — which might also include movies, literature, physical activities, and so on — can certainly be a factor in your overall compatibility, explains Dr. Carla Marie Manly, psychologist and author of Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend. But just how important it may be varies from person to person. "When it comes to sharing interests such as music, art, and general entertainment, compatibility in these areas can be essential for some people and fairly irrelevant for others," she says. "If a certain type of music is an essential part of a person’s life, that person may tend to gravitate toward a partner who understands and shares that interest. On the opposite end of the continuum, if a person has little regard or great dislike for a certain interest that is deeply valued by the other partner, that disparity can be a dealbreaker."

Because the emotional impact of music can feel so significant, one problem with basing your matches solely based on this mutual interest is that it could overshadow more underlying issues of compatibility. "The danger of connecting mostly over a subject like this is that it arouses emotions and it’s fun, but long term you need to be compatible in terms of your lifestyle, values, your joint life vision and much more, including communication styles," Dr. Sherman explains.

So what else should you look out for when using an app like Vinylly, or when you've only connected on one shared interest with a potential date? "It’s also helpful to consider your dealbreakers or the things you will not tolerate in a relationship," says Dr. Sherman. "You can both love music, but it’s these bigger longterm things that can make or break a lifetime relationship."

Dr. Manly seconds this notion, explaining that, while music in particular can create a connection and intimacy between two people (and lead to important discussions sparked by the emotion and nostalgia of music), relying on only one major shared interest as the foundation of a relationship could lead to problems down the road. To avoid this, she suggests looking out for two universally beneficial qualities in a mate: Emotional availability and kindness. "No matter the topic of conversation, you can generally determine if a person is emotionally available and kind — two key areas of importance — and you get to know them better," she says. "And, the less superficial your discussions become, the more you’ll be able to see if a person might be a good match for the longer term."