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We should point out that this list of the most popular music genres is not about which genre is best but simply a recognition that music is incredibly diverse.
We all have music genres that we love and others that just don’t work for us and that’s fine.
But if you know the most popular music genres then you might be able to get something out of trying some new music genres safe in the knowledge that if you do like them? You’re in good company.
Pop music is, of course, the most popular music genre – that’s why it’s called “pop music” which is short for “popular music”.
Pop music has been around since the 1900s, though there aren’t very many folks listening to ragtime artists today. (Check out some Ragtime here on YouTube).
In the 1940s, pop became a major deal as the radio arrived in people’s homes and they started to develop their own tastes and top music genres began to emerge.
Rock n roll emerged in the 1950s and the 1960s produced The Beatles, the biggest pop act of all time.
But “pop music” will always be with us and though it changes, it will always represent the most popular genres of the day and the main music industry trends.
Electronic dance music is a relative newcomer to the music industry but it has its roots in the 1970s Disco movement and the 1980s MIDI technology.
Towards the end of the 1980s, EDM began to come into its own and by the 1990s, it had even spawned sub-scenes such as house music, techno music, trap, hardstyle, trance, acid house, and more.
It’s the music genre that dominates the clubs now.
R&B was originally known as ahem “race music” as it was an African-American movement that took blues and jazz and then shook them up together.
Many critics sneered at R&B during its early years and considered it to be “low brow”.
However, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, and many more were anything but and they spawned a lasting scene that sees acts like Mariah Carey and Beyonce thrive today.
Who knows how long it will endure? But K-pop (Korean-pop) has come out of nowhere and become a smash hit in the West.
It’s high energy performances and happy beats have overcome the language barrier and this music genre has been gaining popularity since the 1990s.
And BTS, the pinnacle of the scene, is among the biggest international stars of today.
Classical music is often dismissed as for older people or for fuddy-duddies but it represents the longest historical period of music and there’s plenty of modern classical too.
It’s not stagnant and it’s far from boring. Everyone should give it a try.
We’d recommend you start with a little Mozart or Bach before branching out into the many subgenres of classical and see just how varied it really is.
Metal emerged from the rock scene of the 1960s with bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath leading the way.
It was very controversial at first and many people argue that metal is associated with the “devil” though in many cases this is a long way from true and certain bands like Stryper or Trouble are Christians.
Today there are many different genres of metal and bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden are among the in-demand acts in the world.
If you want something more extreme than vanilla metal can we recommend our favorite death metal bands?
Country music is a truly American music scene. It draws on other American traditions such as folk, gospel, bluegrass, and more and it began in the Southern states.
The most famous country stars include Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash but there are many, many more.
With a porous border between North and South America, it was inevitable that the sounds of Latin America would head north.
Acts from Richie Valens to Gloria Estefan to Thalia have ensured that this form of music is always growing in popularity.
If you’re looking for an intro to Latin Music check out these amazing salsa songs.
People keep writing it off but rock music is still very much alive.
It has its roots in rock n roll, but it might be said that acts like The Rolling Stones were the progenitors of modern rock music.
It may have had its heyday with the stadium acts of the 1970s and 1980s (such as Guns N Roses, Whitesnake, and Def Leppard) but rock will never stay out of fashion for long.
And bands like Muse and The Foo Fighters carry the torch for the current generation.
Last, but definitely not least, is hip-hop. Hip-hop comes from the underground American scene and while it’s most associated with African-Americans, Latino-Americans and Caribbean-Americans have also played a major part in the development of hip-hop music.
It has a unique form that is more fluid than other music scenes and there’s no doubt that hip-hop artists create the kind of music with real longevity for their fans and the music world as a whole.
Acts like Snoop Dogg and Tupac brought hip-hop to the fore and it’s now one of the biggest and most popular scenes in the world!
If you love hip-hop we recommend checking out this awesome book on the history of the scene.
There are, of course, many more music genres and that a music genre appears on a list of the top music genres is no guarantee that you will enjoy it.
However, each popular music genre definitely has something to offer to nearly everyone if you give it a try and we strongly recommend changing it up between different music genres at times if you want to get the most out of the music industry and your musical investments.