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Vitali Isaev
Vitali Isaev

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Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom.[4] The terms popular music and pop music are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many disparate styles. During the 1950s and 1960s, pop music encompassed rock and roll and the youth-oriented styles it influenced. Rock and pop music remained roughly synonymous until the late 1960s, after which pop became associated with music that was more commercial, ephemeral, and accessible.




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David Hatch and Stephen Millward describe pop music as "a body of music which is distinguishable from popular, jazz, and folk music".[8]According to Pete Seeger, pop music is "professional music which draws upon both folk music and fine arts music".[3]David Boyle, a music researcher, states pop music as any type of music that a person has been exposed to by the mass media.[9] Most individuals think that pop music is just the singles charts and not the sum of all chart music. The music charts contain songs from a variety of sources, including classical, jazz, rock, and novelty songs. As a genre, pop music is seen to exist and develop separately.[10] Therefore, the term "pop music" may be used to describe a distinct genre, designed to appeal to all, often characterized as "instant singles-based music aimed at teenagers" in contrast to rock music as "album-based music for adults".[4][12]


Pop music continuously evolves along with the term's definition. According to music writer Bill Lamb, popular music is defined as "the music since industrialization in the 1800s that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class."[13] The term "pop song" was first used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of music "having popular appeal".[14] 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.[15]


From about 1967, the term "pop music" was increasingly used in opposition to the term rock music, a division that gave generic significance to both terms.[17] While rock aspired to authenticity and an expansion of the possibilities of popular music,[17] pop was more commercial, ephemeral, and accessible.[18] According to British musicologist Simon Frith, pop music is produced "as a matter of enterprise not art", and is "designed to appeal to everyone" but "doesn't come from any particular place or mark off any particular taste". Frith adds that 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".[4]


According to Frith, characteristics of pop music include an aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture or ideology, and an emphasis on craftsmanship rather than formal "artistic" qualities.[4] Besides, Frith also offers three identifying characteristics of pop music: light entertainment, commercial imperatives, and personal identification. Pop music grew out of a light entertainment and easy listening tradition.[21] Pop music is more conservative than other music genres such as folk, blues, country, and tradition. Many pop songs do not contain themes of resistance, opposition, or political themes, rather focusing more on love and relationships. Therefore, pop music does not challenge its audiences socially, and does not cause political activism. Frith also said the main purpose of pop music is to create revenue. It is not a medium of free articulation of the people. Instead, pop music seeks to supply the nature of personal desire and achieve the instant empathy with cliche personalities, stereotypes, and melodrama that appeals to listeners. It is mostly about how much revenue pop music makes for record companies.[22] Music scholar Timothy Warner said pop music typically has an emphasis on recording, production, and technology, rather than live performance; a tendency to reflect existing trends rather than progressive developments; and seeks to encourage dancing or uses dance-oriented rhythms.[18]


Throughout its development, pop music has absorbed influences from other genres of popular music. Early pop music drew on traditional pop, an American counterpart to German Schlager and French Chanson, however compared to the pop of European countries, traditional pop originally emphasized influences ranging from Tin Pan Alley songwriting, Broadway theatre, and show tunes. As the genre evolved more influences ranging from classical, folk, rock, country, electronic music, and other popular genres became more prominent. In 2016, a Scientific Reports study that examined over 464,000 recordings of popular music recorded between 1955 and 2010 found that, compared to 1960s pop music, contemporary pop music uses a smaller variety of pitch progressions, greater average volume,[36] less diverse instrumentation and recording techniques, and less timbral variety.[37] Scientific American's John Matson reported that this "seems to support the popular anecdotal observation that pop music of yore was "better", or at least more varied, than today's top-40 stuff". However, he also noted that the study may not have been entirely representative of pop in each generation.[37]


The 1980s are commonly remembered for an increase in the use of digital recording, associated with the usage of synthesizers, with synth-pop music and other electronic genres featuring non-traditional instruments increasing in popularity.[45] By 2014, pop music worldwide had been permeated by electronic dance music.[46] In 2018, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, concluded that pop music has become 'sadder' since the 1980s. The elements of happiness and brightness have eventually been replaced with electronic beats making pop music more 'sad yet danceable'.[47]


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".[51] Some non-Western countries, such as Japan, have developed a thriving pop music industry, most of which is devoted to Western-style pop. Japan has for several years produced a greater quantity of music than everywhere except the US.[clarification needed][51] The spread of Western-style pop music has been interpreted variously as representing processes of Americanization, homogenization, modernization, creative appropriation, cultural imperialism, or a more general process of globalization.[51]


One of the pop music styles that developed alongside other music styles is Latin pop, which rose in popularity in the US during the 1950s with early rock and roll success Ritchie Valens.[52] Later, as Los Lobos garnered major Chicano rock popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, musician Selena saw large-scale pop music presence as the 1980s and 1990s progressed, along with crossover appeal with fans of Tejano music pioneers Lydia Mendoza and Little Joe.[53] With later Hispanic and Latino Americans seeing success within pop music charts, 1990s pop successes stayed popular in both their original genres and in broader pop music.[54] Latin pop hit singles, such as "Macarena" by Los del Río and "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi, have seen record-breaking success on worldwide pop music charts.[55]


At the beginning of the 2000s, the trends that dominated during the late 1990s still continued, but the music industry started to change as people began to download music from the internet. People were able to discover genres and artists that were outside of the mainstream and propel them to fame, but at the same time smaller artists had a harder time making a living because their music was being pirated.[56] Popular artists were Avril Lavigne, NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Destiny's Child, and Britney Spears. Pop music often came from many different genres, with each genre in turn influencing the next one, blurring the lines between them and making them less distinct. This change was epitomized in Spears' highly influential 2007 album Blackout, which under the influence of producer Danja, mixed the sounds of EDM, avant-funk, R&B, dance music, and hip hop.[57]


By the year 2010, pop music impacted by dance music came to be dominant on the charts. Instead of the radio setting the trends, it was now the club. "The new bubble is all the collective clubs around the world. Radio is just doing its best to keep up," said Will.i.am. at the beginning of the decade.[58] Songs that talked of escapism through partying became the most popular, influenced by the impulse to forget the economic troubles that had taken over the world after the 2008 crash.[59] The most popular artists of this era were Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry and One Direction.


Huge events, such as political, social, or economic, can hugely affect the popularity of specific music genres. Most notably, punk rock, grunge, and rap were first played in the underground but then popularized by likable artists.


This is a list of music genres and styles. Music can be described in terms of many genres and styles. Classifications are often arbitrary, and may be disputed and closely related forms often overlap. Larger genres and styles comprise more specific sub-categories.


These categories are not exhaustive. A music platform, Gracenote, listed more than 2000 music genres (included by those created by ordinary music lovers, who are not involved within the music industry, these being said to be part of a 'folksonomy', i.e. a taxonomy created by non-experts). Most of these genres were created by music labels to target new audiences, however classification is useful to find music and distribute it. 041b061a72


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