Connections: Neal Shapiro’s ipod and Thirteen

staff | April 22, 2008

Thirteen Blogger: Kellie Specter, Director of Communications

I walked out of the office the other night and I noticed that Neal was listening to an ipod. I thought it was great that our CEO owns an ipod and I became very curious about it. I wondered… “What is Neal listening to?”

Before I came to Thirteen I worked in commercial radio and in the record business, so I’m a bit of a music junkie. I also studied psychology in college, thinking I’d someday be a psychoanalyst (believe me, all those classes have served me well in life!). But on this particular evening, both of my interests came together and I wondered not only what Neal was listening to, but what it said about him. I suppose because he’s the new leader here at Thirteen, a lot of us are curious about him.

So, I emailed Neal and asked him if he would send me 5 songs from his ipod (he graciously sent me the last 5 single plays). Then I rolled up my sleeves and did some research. It turns out that in 2002, scientists at the University of Texas at Austin did the first comprehensive study of the link between music preferences and personality traits. It’s a long but fascinating paper.

So…what is in Neal’s ipod and what does it say about him? Well, here are his 5 songs:

*Summer Wind by Frank Sinatra
*Heat Wave by Linda Ronstadt
*American in Paris, Seiji Ozawa conducting
*1234 by Feist
*Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley

Based on data collected from 3,500 people, the study identified four music preference categories:

Reflective and Complex
Intense and Rebellious
Upbeat and Conventional
Energetic and Rhythmic

This sampling of Neal’s music choices seems to indicate that he is in the Reflective and Complex category. According to a synopsis of the category,

“People with high scores on the Reflective and Complex music-preference dimension tend to be open to new experiences, creative, intellectual, and enjoy trying new things…wisdom, diversity, and fine arts are all important to them. When it comes to lifestyle, high scorers tend to be sophisticated…and after a hard day of work, if they’re not listening to music or reading a book, they enjoy documentary films, independent, classic, or foreign films.”

Classic and independent films? Fine Arts? Trying new things? Well, it would be simplistic to conclude that Reel 13, SundayArts and the other creative new projects that Neal is spearheading here at Thirteen are directly influenced by listening to Frank Sinatra, but it’s certainly interesting to think about.

As for the suspenders? I’m sure there’s a study out there somewhere…