Pop is still king of the world’s music genres
Pop music (a term that originally derives from an abbreviation of “popular”) is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.
With the decline in recorded-music sales reaching something of a turning point in a number of markets, it seemed like a good time to analyze the retail sales of several music genres to see whether the downturn and subsequent stabilization have been equally divided across genres or whether some genres have suffered more than others. The analysis shows that pop and rock have strengthened their hold on music sales, while rap/hip-hop, the darling of the 1990s, has suffered a decline.
The discussions surrounding recorded-music sales and what to do to solve the decline in recent years has often dealt with recorded music as a single entity. There is also a commonly held assumption that all the musical genres and subgenres have suffered in equal measure. Music & Copyright has analyzed the retail sales of the different music genres over the previous decade to establish whether this is the case.
The results are, in part, not totally surprising, with pop and rock music tightening their grip on retail sales in the 2000s. But rap/hip-hop, which surged in the 1990s, slipped as public criticism mounted. Sales of jazz, classical and other smaller genres also fell off.
... but as we grow up we add our own genre of music. The genre of music you choose mostly places you in a similar ... many people never realized he combined different genre types. Many people disagree with certain music because they dont recognize the connection all ... in the city might be used to rock or new pop music on the radio. We all come to enjoy the ...
It is probably worth stating that the classification of any artist’s music into a single genre is fairly arbitrary and can differ between record company, music retailer and national trade association. Categorizing music within a genre can often have multiple influencing factors, such as musical technique, style, context, target audience and geographical origin. Moreover, many genres have subgenres that can overlap others. For example, media-management service Gracenote categorizes music into more than 1,600 individual genre categories. To confuse things even more, several studies have been published in recent years describing theoretical and scientific approaches to determining a music genre. However, for the purposes of this study, Music & Copyright has limited itself to the most commonly used genre categories by most national trade associations when presenting a breakdown of sales by genre.
The two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales over the past 10 years are pop and rock. According to Music & Copyright, retail sales of pop music stood at US$7.4 billion in 2009, while retail sales of rock music stood at US$6.5 billion. In terms of revenue share, pop accounted for 29.2% of global music-retail sales last year, with rock taking a 25.7% share. The closeness of the two genres at the end of the last decade was also apparent at the beginning. In 2000, pop had a global sales share of 27.8%, with rock at 22.7%. Despite a difference in year-to-year share performance, the retail-sales decline of the two genres in the previous decade has been fairly even: For pop, retail sales decreased 27.7%, while retail sales for rock fell 22.1%. However, both genres outperformed total music-retail sales, which fell 31% in 2009, to US$25.4 billion, from US$36.9 billion in 2000.
With pop and rock accounting for a combined retail-sales share of 55% in 2009, other genres have clearly underperformed when compared with the global sales decline. Music & Copyright has found that the retail value of rap/hip-hop sales dropped almost 50% between 2000 and 2009. It should be noted that the performance of particular genres of music that are more popular in some larger markets, such as the US and Japan, will also be reflected on a global level because of the high share of retail sales in those markets. However, rap/hip-hop has received criticism in recent years, particularly in the US, for its close association with violence. A poll a few years ago of black Americans conducted by the Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices found that half of all respondents described the genre as having a negative image.
... is being shared through the song. It is not my favorite genre but I do enjoy it from time to time. Country is ... voice or maybe no singing at all. Broadway is another genre of music that is also popular. Although Broadway also contains a ... mix in pop but lose the true essence of the country music. One country artist I like is Johnny Cash. I discovered him ...
Retail sales of classical music and jazz have also experienced a faster decline than the global average. For these genres, as well as some other genres grouped in this study as part of “other,” the reduction in floor space by brick-and-mortar retailers of slow-selling, low-margin genres in favor of better-selling items, such as DVDs, video games and consumer electronics, has had an impact on availability and subsequently sales. Moreover, the transition to digital and away from physical soundcarriers could be having a negative effect on the retail sales of the more-niche genres. For example, classical music is available online, but this on its own is not enough to secure sales. Except for searches for specific titles, browsing for classical music can be more restrictive online than in a physical store, because a consumer can see only what is displayed on his monitor at any one time. If digital-music services do not have helpful links, charts, submenus and subgenres, freely browsing a genre without significant background knowledge is almost impossible.
Although some genres that are more popular in a limited number of countries are included in this analysis, some are not. Country music, for example, is included, because it is more popular in the world’s biggest market, the US. The number of country-focused radio stations outnumbers most other genre-based stations. Because of this, a large number of country tracks figure in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which is based on airplay rather than sales. However, in terms of retail sales, the genre accounts for about 12%, compared with more than 30% for rock. Even so, despite much-lower retail sales of country music elsewhere in the world, the high level in the US resulted in a global share of 5.9% in 2009.
... pop, dance music and new wave As the term disco fell out of fashion in the decade’s early years, genres ... . Progressive rock was another popular genre during the 1970s. This type of music was typically characterized by rock music combined with another genre, such ... rock and roll, he describes his music often as “Rockability” because it sounds like a combination of country and R&B with rock ...
In contrast, religious and Latin genres – such as Musica Popular Brasileira, which itself incorporate subgenres such as samba and samba-cancao – sell well in many Latin American countries. But because Latin American countries account for a much lower share of global retail sales, these genres have been grouped as part of “other.” [Editor’s note: please check the more recent genre blog which has more up to date figures for 2010]
Hatch and Millward define pop music as “a body of music which is distinguishable from popular, jazz and folk music’s”. Although pop music is often seen as oriented towards the singles charts it is not the sum of all chart music, which has always contained songs from a variety of sources, including classical, jazz, rock, and novelty songs, while pop music as a genre is usually seen as existing and developing separately. Thus “pop music” may be used to describe a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll.
Music & Copyright is a fortnightly research service published by Informa Telecoms & Media.
* Pop Music
* Dance Music
* Techno Music
* Disco Music
* Rock Music
* Heavy Metal
* Alternative Music
* Jazz Music
* Country Music
Origin of the term
The term “pop song,” is first recorded as being used in 1926 in the sense of a piece of music “having popular appeal”. Hatch and Millward indicate that many events in the history of recording in the 1920s can be seen as the birth of the modern pop music industry, including in country, blues and hillbilly music.
According to Grove Music Online, the term “pop music” “originated in Britain in the mid-1950s as a description for Rock and roll and the new youth music styles that it influenced …”. The Oxford Dictionary of Music states that while pop’s “earlier meaning meant concerts appealing to a wide audience …[,] since the late
... adults had placed on music style and preference. Rock music soon developed into a genre of music known as “punk rock” in the 1960’s ... s that pop music merged with the genre of punk rock; giving both genres over 30 years to develop their own individual styles and ... thus creating the first wave of “pop punk”. Pop punk music ...
1950s, however, pop has had the special meaning of non-classical mus[ic], usually in the form of songs, performed by such artists as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, ABBA, etc.” Grove Music Online also states that “… in the early 1960s [the term] ‘pop music’ competed terminologically with Beat music [in England], while in the USA its coverage overlapped (as it still does) with that of ‘rock and roll’.” Chambers’ Dictionary mentions the contemporary usage of the term “pop art”;Grove Music Online states that the “term pop music … seems to have been a spin-off from the terms pop art and pop culture, coined slightly earlier, and referring to a whole range of new, often American, media-culture products”.
From about 1967 the term was increasingly used in opposition to the term rock music, a division that gave generic significance to both terms. Whereas rock aspired to authenticity and an expansion of the possibilities of popular music, pop was more commercial, ephemeral and accessible. According to Simon Frith pop music is produced “as a matter of enterprise not art”, is “designed to appeal to everyone” and “doesn’t come from any particular place or mark off any particular taste”. It is “not driven by any significant ambition except profit and commercial reward … and, in musical terms, it is essentially conservative”. It is, “provided from on high (by record companies, radio programmers and concert promoters) rather than being made from below … Pop is not a do-it-yourself music but is professionally produced and packaged”.
Pop music is the abbreviation of popular music.
Pop music is an ample and imprecise category of modern music not defined by artistic considerations but by its potential audience or prospective market. Pop is music composed with deliberate intent to appeal to the majority of its contemporaries.
In opposition to music that requires education or formation to appreciate, a defining characteristic of pop music is that anyone is able to enjoy it. Artistic concepts such as complex musical form and aesthetics are not a concern in the writing of pop songs, the primary objectives being audience enjoyment and commercial success.
... 1980s proved a moribund decade for pop. Styles came and went, but it was an era short on memorable music. Only Wham! (and later ... that was apparent in the 1970s, when pop careened through several styles, from the Glam Rock of T. Rex to the raw fire ... unable to pen a tune. From the early days of rock there had been “manufactured” stars – people taken on board for ...
Development and Influences
Throughout its development, pop music has absorbed influences from most other genres of popular music. Early pop music drew on the sentimental ballad for its form, gained its use of vocal harmonies from gospel and soul music, instrumentation from jazz, country, and rock music, orchestration from classical music, tempo from dance music, backing from electronic music, rhythmic elements from hip-hop music, and has recently appropriated spoken passages from rap.
It has also made use of technological innovation. In the 1940s improved microphone design allowed a more intimate singing style and ten or twenty years later inexpensive and more durable 45 r.p.m. records for singles “revolutionized the manner in which pop has been disseminated” and helped to move pop music to ‘a record/radio/film star system’. Another technological change was the widespread availability of television in the 1950s; with televised performances, “pop stars had to have a visual presence”. In the 1960s, the introduction of inexpensive, portable transistor radios meant that teenagers could listen to music outside of the home. Multi-track recording (from the 1960s); and digital sampling (from the 1980s) have also been utilized as methods for the creation and elaboration of pop music. By the early 1980s, the promotion of pop music had been greatly affected by the rise of Music Television channels like MTV, which “favoured those artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince who had a strong visual appeal”.
Pop music has been dominated by the American and (from the mid-1960s) British music industries, whose influence has made pop music something of an international monoculture, but most regions and countries have their own form of pop music, sometimes producing local versions of wider trends, and lending them local characteristics. Some of these trends (for example Europop) have had a significant impact of the development of the genre.
According to Grove Music Online, “Western-derived pop styles, whether coexisting with or marginalizing distinctively local genres, have spread throughout the world and have come to constitute stylistic common denominators in global commercial music cultures”.Some non-Western countries, such as Japan, have developed a thriving pop music industry, most of which is devoted to Western-style pop, has for several years has produced a greater quantity of music of everywhere except the USA. The spread of Western-style pop music has been interpreted variously as representing processes of Americanization, homogenization, modernization, creative appropriation, cultural imperialism, and/or a more general process of globalization
... from ‘back in the day’. In the 50s, pop music stopped being a genre listened to by children and adults alike, but started ... begin with, technology has progressed a great deal, which has influenced music produced recently. An example of this is auto tune, which ... common, this means that we are introduced to new genres and styles of music. The development of technology has provided us with an ...
In contrast to genres with clear origins and a traceable evolution, pop developed, and continues to expand, as a haphazard merging of styles. Pop is an amalgam of successive fashions, of elements of many differing styles that have been successful over the years and have ended up incorporated into the genre. This section introduces the most significant tunes of each decade, and shows the progression of pop to its current form.
The first songs to belong to the new category were crossover styles from the standard formats of the day. In country music, instrumental soloing was de-emphasized and more prominent vocals added, commonly backed by a string section and vocal chorus.
This was also the decade of the advent of rock and roll, a massively influential genre that spawned innumerable changes in the social and cultural fabric of the US, and subsequently the World. The convulsion began when “Rock Around the Clock” (Bill Haley, 1955) crowned the charts in the spring and summer of 1955.
The decade kicked off a style that is still recorded today, the novelty song, combining humorous or parodic lyrics and simple, catchy melodies. In 1961 a new format arose around close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting the Californian relationship with surfing, girls and cars: Surf pop. This very successful style is epitomised by tunes like “Surfin’ USA” (Beach Boys, 1963) or “Good Vibrations” (Beach Boys, 1966).
Producers’ involvement in the business reached new levels in 1965 when Raybert Productions set out to create a pop band from scratch, selecting the members by their looks, dancing ability and appeal to different personalities of fan, rather than musical prowess. The company controlled every aspect of the group, from choice of music to individual behaviours, and guided them to extraordinary success in music, television and cinema. This type of prefabricated band was termed manufactured pop and is the precursor of boy bands and girl groups.
The main influence in the second half of the decade came from disco, a dance-oriented style with soaring, reverberated vocals, a steady beat and prominent, syncopated electric bass lines.
Country music re-entered pop in 1973, whilst the African American rhythms that had so affected the genre in the previous decade were still producing hits and expanding limits in this one.
The mutual benefits the film and music industries could afford each other were evidenced in this decade by the songs from movie soundtracks that became chart-toppers: “Eye of the Tiger”, from 1982’s Rocky III; “Flashdance… What a Feeling”, from Flashdance (1983); or “Say You, Say Me”, out of the 1985 blockbuster White Nights.
The return influences of pop were having a greater impact in this decade than ever before. Hits in the US charts came from the UK, “Careless Whisper” (George Michael, 1984) or “Wake Me up before You Go Go” (Wham!, 1984).
The rock genre delivered a good number of pop hits this decade, with bands otherwise protective of their roots delving briefly into commercialism. See “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (The Arrows, 1982) or “Every Breath You Take” (The Police, 1983).
A new kind of release debuted in this decade, the charity record, aimed at raising funds for a particular cause held dear by the performer(s).
The first of these came from the British Isles in 1984, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, followed in 1985 by “We Are the World”, and by “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1986.
The nineties were clearly the decade of the female pop artist, their successful singles greatly outnumbering those of male performers. A few of the most significant are “Nothing Compares 2 U” (Sinead O´Connor, 1990), “Vogue” (Madonna, 1990), “Hero” (Mariah Carey, 1993), “Wannabe” (The SpiceGirls, 1996) and “…Baby One More Time” (Britney Spears, 1999).
Pop became truly international in the nineties, with hits coming from diverse and distant locations:
* Germany: “The Power” (1990), “Rhythm Is a Dancer” (1992) and “Mr Vain” (1993)
* UK: “The One and Only” (1991), Love Is All Around” (both 1994), “Candle in the Wind 1997″
* Spain: “Macarena” (1996)
* Italy: “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” (1998)
* Netherlands: “Boom Boom Boom Boom” (1998)
* Australia: “Truly Madly Deeply” (1998)
2000 to the Present Day
In a similar vein to the previous decade, female singers had a big influence on the pop genre in the noughties, with soulful ballads, hip hop pieces and dance tracks: “Fallin'” (Alicia Keys, 2001), “Whenever, Wherever” (Shakira, 2001), “White Flag” (Dido, 2003), “Since U Been Gone” (Avril Lavigne, 2005) and “Umbrella” (Rihanna, 2007).
Once more, African Americans contributed heartily to pop with diverse styles. Some hits were hip hop-based, such as “Yeah!” (Usher, 2004), other chart-toppers were variations on reggae beats (“It Wasn’t Me” (Shaggy, 2000).
The international appeal of pop was evident in the new millennium, with artists from around the World influencing the genre and local variants merging with the mainstream. Latin pop was successful with songs from Spain, “Hero” (Enrique Iglesias, 2002), “Whenever, Wherever” (Shakira, 2002).
Canada entered the charts with “That’s the Way It Is” (Celine Dion, 2000) and British artists did the same with “Feel” (Robbie Williams, 2003) or “You’re Beautiful” (James Blunt, 2005).
As of 2008, pop music is now currently the most popular style of music of youth culture, making competition with hip-hop, dance, and country.
Pop Music is basically a genre of music which has a noticeable rhythmic element, melodies and hooks. The word Pop music was used for this kind of music in the year 1926, because it had popular appeal.
Pop Music was invented over a period of time by blend of several cultures and their native music. The origin of Pop Music is often dated back to the year 1679. Allessandro Scarlatti was the first pop musician to compose an opera. Some historians even say it was earlier as Francesco Provenzale was the first first to do it.
Pop music |
Stylistic origins | R&B • Jazz • Doo-wop • Folk • Dance • Classical • Rock and roll |
Cultural origins | 1950s, United Kingdom and United States |
Typical instruments | Vocals • Electric guitar • Bass guitar • Drums • Keyboards • Acoustic guitar • Piano • Synthesizer • Drum machine • Sequencer • Sampler • Occasional use of various other instruments |
Mainstream popularity | Continuous worldwide since emergence |
Baroque pop • Bubblegum pop • Christian pop • Dance-pop • Electro pop • Euro pop • Indie pop • Operatic pop • Power pop • Soundtrack • Sophisti-pop • Synthpop • Space age pop • Sunshine pop • Traditional pop • Teen pop |
Fusion genres |
Country pop • Bubblegum pop • Disco • Dream pop • Jangle pop • Pop punk • Hip pop • Pop rock • Psychedelic pop • Techno pop • Urban pop • Indie pop • Wonky pop |
Musicologists often identify the following characteristics as typical of the pop music genre:
* an aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture or ideology
* an emphasis on craftsmanship rather than formal “artistic” qualities
* an emphasis on recording, production, and technology, over live performance
* a tendency to reflect existing trends rather than progressive developments
* much pop music is intended to encourage dancing, or it uses dance-oriented beats or rhythms
The main medium of pop music is the song, often between two and a half and three and a half minutes in length, generally marked by a consistent and noticeable rhythmic element, a mainstream style and a simple traditional structure. Common variants include the verse-chorus form and the thirty-two-bar form, with a focus on melodies and catchy hooks, and a chorus that contrasts melodically, rhythmically and harmonically with the verse. The beat and the melodies tend to be simple, with limited harmonic accompaniment. The lyrics of modern pop songs typically focus on simple themes – often love and romantic relationships – although there are notable exceptions.
Harmony in pop music is often “that of classical European tonality, only more simple-minded.” Clichés include the barbershop harmony (i.e. moving from a secondary dominant harmony to a dominant harmony, and then to the tonic) and blues scale-influenced harmony. “The influence of the circle-of-fifths paradigm has declined since the mid-1950s. The harmonic languages of rock and soul have moved away from the all-encompassing influence of the dominant function. …There are other tendencies (perhaps also traceable to the use of a guitar as a composing instrument) – pedal-point harmonies, root motion by diatonic step, modal harmonic and melodic organization – that point away from functional tonality and toward a tonal sense that is less directional, more free-floating.”
Musical entertainment for the masses
Musical entertainment was born as a reflection of the relationship between humans and nature. The first disconnects between these two entities occurred with courtly music and religious music, that reflected not humans in their natural environment but humans in artificial environments such as the court and the monastery. This branch of music eventually evolved into what we call “classical music”.
It is likely that, instead, musical entertainment for the poor masses remained roughly the same over many centuries, because their lifestyle did not change all that much.
But the second major disconnect affected precisely these classes of people. It took place after the industrial revolution, when reckless urbanization and factory life dramatically altered the soundscape of the lower classes. Musical entertainment for the masses became a completely different phenomenon, although still derived from the market fair and the itinerant circus. It also merged with the renewed vogue for the theater and with the booming capitalist attitude. In the USA it was further affected by the melting pot of immigrants (including slaves), by the vast linguistically-uniform territory and by the process of colonization of new lands. Musical entertainment for the masses in the industrial society was to be quite different from anything that had come before.
First of all, it became a commodity, just like many other things (from long-distance transportation to newspapers) were becoming commodities. An entire industry was born to profit from it and to fuel its growth. The tension between its social roots and the industry that turned it into a mass product was going to remain the fundamental theme of its history.
Secondly, it introduced a new way to experience musical entertainment by separating the stage and the audience in a way that did not exist in folk music (although it already existed in courtly music).
Indirectly this led to the birth of the “auteur” also in popular music, not only in classical music.
Thirdly, it became the soundtrack of the middle class. As the middle class was being created in the big cities of Europe and the USA, musical entertainment reflected its hedonistic, social, political, economic urges.
Finally, it created a whole new spectrum of professions (the owner of the theater, the performer, the publisher, etc).