Skip to main content

Metalheads are among the happiest fans in any music genre, according to new study

Heavy metal fans are some of the happiest according to a new study
(Image credit: PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Heavy metal has long been believed to be the realm of the pissed-off and dispossessed, but according to a new study, its fans are some of the happiest around.

The new research comes courtesy of online marketplace OnBuy.com, which ranked fans of jazz music as happier than those of any other genre, with metal fans coming in a close second – a phenomenon that OnBuy attributes to the “high volume of positivity” demonstrated by the online community.

As for how OnBuy arrived at these conclusions? By analyzing more than two million Reddit comments from the subreddits of 27 different music genres and then calculating the number of times positive or happy expressions were mentioned.

The rankings were based on the number of positive words per 100 comments, with the results categorized into 27 genres.

Metal came in with 35,737 total positive words in 57,837 comments, for 62 positive mentions per 100 comments.

At the very bottom of the list were grime and drill music, which came in with 22 and 11 positive mentions per 100 comments, respectively.

As for the meaning behind these numbers? 

OnBuy.com put the question to WeCure psychologist Şirin Atçeken, who explained: “Jazz and metal are emotive and allow us to express our emotions whilst we listen to the music, but it’s two extremes. Metal affects us and is a natural anger management tool. It allows us to tap into our anger sensors, and actively address them, helping to manage these negative emotions.

“People feel that their anger is matched to the music when listening to metal, and therefore find it easier to process it. Metal formulates a safe, and healthy space for this to happen. In some cases, metal also combats loneliness and makes us feel less alone in these emotions, allowing the listener to accept them.”

Another explanation, Atçeken continued, “is that jazz and metal are notorious in building communities. People who listen to these genres are more likely to find common ground with other listeners and become part of the community – more so than pop music, or classical. These communities provide kindness, relatability, friendship, and a space to share feelings, ideas, and a safe space to just be. This support increases happiness, positivity and feelings of love and acceptance.”

Finally, “jazz and metal fans may be happier, is that many of them, especially in older years have accepted who they are as individuals and are more assured of themselves. Acceptance and understanding is the key to happiness after all.”

Indeed it is. For more about the research and to see the complete list of genres, head over to OnBuy.com.

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.