This paper reports the results of a study on the relationship between individual differences and specific uses of music, referring to why and how people use music in everyday life. Questionnaire data from 341 respondents showed that open and intellectually engaged individuals, and those with higher IQ scores, tended to use music in a rational/cognitive way, while neurotic, introverted and non-conscientious individuals were all more likely to use music for emotional regulation (e.g. change or enhance moods). Results suggest that individual differences in personality and cognitive ability may partly determine the way in which we experience music. Limitations and suggestions for future studies are discussed.