The 10 Most Popular Music Genres Throughout History

While billions of people worldwide listen to various music genres, a few popular ones stand out. The most popular ones are ranked based on how much a genre is streamed and how frequently their CDs and vinyl are purchased globally.

As technology evolves, new styles and ways for people to listen can emerge. Music and the way we consume it have evolved dramatically over the last seventy years, from radio to television to records to the internet. The top tech gadgets for music lovers influence music development over time. Even advances in the technology used to create musical instruments and recording equipment have had an impact on what styles and songs are created and popular in the music industry.

So, in this article, we’d like to look at some of the most intriguing musical genres in history, specifically how musically diverse they are, and which ones are the most popular. Here are some of the most popular picks:

1. Rock ‘n Roll

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that began as “rock and roll” in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, evolving into a variety of other styles in the mid-1960s and afterward, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Rock music also drew heavily from other genres, such as electric blues and folk, and integrated elements of jazz, classical, and other musical traditions.

In the mid-1960s, rock musicians began to push the album ahead of the single as the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption, with the Beatles in the fore. Their efforts gave the genre cultural respectability to the public and launched the music industry into a rock-informed album period that lasted several decades. By the late 1960s, several distinct rock music subgenres had emerged.


2. Country

Country music frequently consists of ballads and dance tunes which is most known as “Honky Tonk music” with generally simple forms, folk lyrics, and harmonies often accompanied by string instruments such as electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitars such as pedal steels, and dobros, banjos, fiddles, and harmonicas.

In preference to hillbilly music, the name country music acquired popularity in the 1940s; it came to cover Western music, which formed parallel to hillbilly music from comparable roots, in the mid-20th century. Country music was the most popular rush hour radio genre during the evening commute in the United States in 2009, and the second most popular during the morning commute.

3. Classical

There was no mythical period in history when classical music was the music of the masses; it has always been the music that attempts to transmit a people’s culture, national identity, and engaging and amusing stories through long-form music while simultaneously being an aesthetic form of entertainment. There have been a few exceptions when classical music had a larger audience, such as classical popular theater (singspiel), the advent of radio when classical music provided much of the early musical content and filler music, and the most exciting thing to happen to classical music in the modern world, providing music scores for films.

4. Jazz

Jazz is seen in popular culture as the type of music of their grandparents, intellectuals, and elevators. According to Nielsen, jazz accounts for 1.4 percent of music consumption in the United States. The most recent and popular depictions of jazz in “Whiplash” and “La La Land” claim that it is fading, and this could be correct. Jazz is tragically irrelevant to many people but contrary to this notion this type of music still belongs to top music genres in 2021. Some consider it a relic from another era. However, jazz is not extinct. As jazz traveled over the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, resulting in a variety of forms.

5. Gospel

Gospel music is a historic Christian music genre and a staple of Christian media. Gospel music’s development, performance, meaning, and even classification vary depending on culture and social environment. Gospel music is created and performed for a variety of reasons, including aesthetic enjoyment, religious or ceremonial objectives, and as a marketable entertainment product. Gospel music frequently has prominent vocals typically with extensive use of harmony and Christian lyrics. The origins of gospel music can be traced back to the early 17th century.

6. Pop

Pop is a popular music genre that emerged in its contemporary form in the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. Although the phrases popular music and pop music are frequently used interchangeably, the former defines all popular music and includes a wide range of forms. Pop music in the 1950s and 1960s included rock & roll and the youth-oriented forms it influenced. Rock and pop music were practically synonymous until the late 1960s, when pop became associated with more commercial, ephemeral, and accessible music.

The term ‘Pop’ is derived from the word ‘popular,’ hence Pop music is a genre that includes music that is generally popular throughout society. Pop music has its origins in rock and roll, with influences ranging from country and Latin to urban and dance. Drums, electric guitars, and synthesizers are all common instrumentation in ‘Pop’ tunes. Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber are all examples of pop music icons.


7. Hip-hop and Rap

Hip-hop and Rap music has had a significant impact on American society in general, which is not surprising given that it is one of the most popular music genres. It’s also a wide genre, including anything from dance, R&B, and electronica to rap and hip-hop, which are perhaps its most popular forms presently. But there are still many people who enjoy having their own hip-hop style, which can be a highly powerful thing in the music industry, and, as one would imagine, there are many musicians today who have made careers out of it.

Rap is one of those genres that has a lot to give yet is far from exhausted. It’s also one of those genres where you must be exceptionally gifted to succeed, and for those that do, there’s no telling how far their career can go.

8. R & B

It’s natural to think of powerful vocals and piercing instrumentals as the most effective forms of music for eliciting emotion in us. However, R&B may not only compete with the most startling sounds and solos, but it is also one of the best musical genres for instilling a wide range of emotions. Keyboards, synthesizers, heavy bass lines, and looped drumbeats are frequently used in contemporary R&B. In this regard, it resembles hip hop more than rock music. Contemporary R&B songs consistently top charts, making R&B one of the most commercially successful genres in modern music.

9. Electronic Music

Electronic music has a short history in the United States, but it has quickly become one of the country’s most popular genres. EDM, as it is commonly known, has grown in stature to become one of the world’s fastest-growing genres. Though it is not yet massive, it appears that its popularity will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Right today, some of the most successful artists in the United States can be found in this genre, including Calvin Harris, Avicii, and David Guetta.

10. Dubstep

Dubstep is an electronic dance music genre that began in South London in the early 2000s. It’s distinguished by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with significant sub-bass frequencies. The genre arose as an outgrowth of UK garage, relying on a genealogy of related forms including 2-step and dub reggae, as well as jungle, broken beat, and grime. The genre’s origins in the United Kingdom may be traced back to the early 1980s emergence of the Jamaican sound system party scene.