It’s incredible how much our music tastes change with the generations. Is there a more definitive example of this than disco? Boogie shoes and bell-bottom trousers were all the rage back in the ‘70s, but today, we can hardly imagine dancing to them on a Saturday night.
This blog post will look at various music genres, their trends, and how they evolve through generations. It’s important to note that music tastes evolve pretty differently depending on your country. This blog post is primarily based on American music preferences, though we’ve also researched how the rest of the world fares.
Let’s start with the big one. Hip hop and rap are two very different genres, but they are both hugely popular today and, more often than not, together as one genre.
Hip Hop and Rap
In the West, Hip hop originated in New York City during the ‘70s. From its humble beginnings, it has evolved into a culture, a lifestyle, and an industry worth over $75 billion. Hip Hop has spread to every corner of the world and can be heard in English, Spanish, French, German, and many other languages. How it’s expressed, however, is quite different from place to place.
For instance, in the US, Hip Hop reigns supreme in the world of music. Rap songs receive most of the views on YouTube and Vine, and rap groups like Migos are some of the biggest stars in the game. See for yourself on this graph:
In Europe and Japan, however, many other popular music genres take precedence over Hip Hop. In this case, what matters is not necessarily a culture or a trend. What matters is the music itself, and for this reason, it’s hard to predict how things will go in Europe, just like it’s hard to predict how things will go in Japan.
The truth is that in the West, Rap and Hip Hop are also equally popular. However, the older generations are in no way making their younger counterparts listen to the same music that they once listened to. As you can see in the graph below, that’s one of the first things people notice; there is a vast difference in what happened to Rap and Hip Hop as they progressed through time.
The hype around these genres has significantly lessened since the ‘80s, which is good news for the younger generations who prefer rock and pop music.
Let’s take a look at one example from each genre. In Hip Hop, we have “Big Pimpin” by Jay-Z, and in Rap, we have “Bedrock Anthem” by Young Money. The number of YouTube views is an excellent indicator of how popular the songs are today.
In today’s world, the popularity of Rap seems to be more dependent on the region than that of Hip Hop. The same can be said for Rock, while Pop still seems to dominate in the West.
Hip Hop and Rap might be popular today, but they are by no means the only popular genres of music. As it turns out, you can break down the massive popularity of music into four distinct categories: pop, rock, country, and hip hop.
Pop music is by far the most popular genre around the globe. It’s hard to define because it varies so much from place to place. For instance, in Japan, J-Pop reigns supreme, and in the US, Pop is one of the biggest genres. Here’s a graph that shows how pop music compares to other genres:
Rock is a genre of music that has been around for a long time, and it’s often associated with rebelliousness. It’s also not a very popular genre in the West. Despite its popularity in other parts of the world, rock music doesn’t seem very popular among older generations in Western countries like the US.
In the US, country music is the most popular genre. As a result, it’s also widespread in Europe and Asia.
Hip Hop and Rap are undoubtedly popular, but pop music is the most dominant. It is interesting to note that most older generations in Western countries prefer folk music over pop music. In the West, country music is trendy among older generations.
Rock music has been around for a long time, but only recently has it made a massive comeback in Western countries. Even in the US, rock music has become more popular among older generations than just a few decades ago.
For those unfamiliar with the genre, rock music is typically an electric guitar-based genre popular in the 1950s. One of the more famous examples of rock music is “The Ramones,” a group from New York that became very popular in the ‘70s.
Rock music is still trendy in Japan, but it’s not as strong as in the West.
Another genre of music that has been around for a long time, country music, is typically associated with being “simple and sweet.” It’s also one of the more popular categories in Europe and Japan.
Country music is growing very strongly in the West. It’s not that surprising, as country music has always been a popular genre of music throughout history.
This blog post has certainly been quite a ride. To wrap things up, here are two conclusions worth pondering:
Culture doesn’t necessarily influence tastes; it influences the way tastes are expressed. In the West, Hip Hop and Rap are both prevalent genres of music; one is more popular than the other.
The older generations in Western countries generally prefer country music to pop music. Also, rock music is gradually growing in popularity among older generations in Europe and Japan.