16 Most popular music genres ever


In the previous post, landofmusic.us introduced you to the basic history of the music industry. In this article, we will provide you with information about the most popular music genres. Read the full article to find out what kind of music you are listening to!

There are many different genres of music. There is also a huge amount of music genre crossover. Learning about different types of music genres is a good starting point to research and understand how styles developed. It is also a great way to see how they influenced modern culture across the world.

Types of music genres | What are music genres?

When looking at music, people can assign a category based on various musical elements. For example, genres could be defined by the use of specific instruments. If the piece that being played in a certain style using orchestral instruments, then we could categorize it as classical music.

Music genres explained

Similarly, if the instruments were greatly distorted guitars, we would classify as rock or heavy metal. Some genres are built on instruments and timing. Blues music uses a series of patterns & is played by a traditional live band using guitars and a drum kit. Also, drum and bass use a very fast bpm and is primarily electronic.

Popular music genres and their definitions

#1 Classical

Encompassing a huge type of sub-genres, classical music refers broadly to most orchestral styles between 1750 & 1820. It came as a reaction to the rules and restrictions prevalent on baroque music which predates it

To many people, anything pre-jazz sounds classical & may be referred to as such. Once you get inside this genre,nevertheless, you will find whole world music and a stunning range of styles & categories.

#2 Country

Also known as country and western, country music has its origins in the south of the USA. Having evolved from a combination of other fold styles. Combining the influence of working-class immigrants it takes its footsteps from Irish and Celtic folk, traditional English ballads and cowboy songs.


Billy Ray Cyrus – one of the most famous country singers

In the current era, there are numerous sub-genres like country pop, country rock and neotraditional country.

#3 Electronic Dance Music (EDM) – One of the favorite popular music genres of the young

We mentioned that dance has a lot of other genres, but this is its biggest. It’s the fastest-growing music type across the globe and rose in popularity with DJs like David Guetta, Calvin Harris & Tiesto leading the way. It’s closely linked to House music and take place when disco declined.


EDM genre

Originally a cult and underground movement, EDM is now mainstream & while part of the dance music umbrella, is very much its own existence. EDM festivals, big-name DJ gigs and Vegas events ensure it continues to be’ successful.

#3 Funk

Funk uses a syncopated beat and heavy bass lines & distinctive grooves. It originates from African American influences and takes cues from Jazz, Soul, and R&B.

Since rising to prominence in the 1960s, it has moved on to influence almost every genre of dance music as well as current rock.

#4 Folk

Folk is a very traditional genre. Traditional folk musics be orally passed down over time and often has no author. However, current artists can still be labelled as Folk artists with their original songs.

Telling story is a key aspect of folk music and whilst musical styles vary thourgh outthe world, this is a consistent element.

#5 Hip Hop

Now an highly broad musical category, hip hop evolved out of a cultural explosion in the US. Featuring vinyl records mixed on turntables and incorporating the rap genre coupled with heavy bass-lines and samples, hip hop has now become extremely extensive in terms of music’s cultural influence in modern times.


Hip Hop music singers

#6 House

Linked with EDM and trance, House music began in a USA night club called The ‘Warehouse in the late 1970s. It’s defined by a gradual build-up to a escalation followed by a euphoric drop in the beat. To some extent, EDM have taken over from house music which had a peak in the  2000s & 1990s, but it’s still going strong, especially in places like Ibiza. It has an addictively repetitious four on the floor beat and a tempo with 120 to 130 beats per minute. A well-known sub-genre of house music be acid house.

#7 Indie

Another offshoot from rock and punk, indie music originate from so-called ‘independent’ artists and bands who were not part of the predominant music industry machine. The style of indie music has typically remained with a main rock band set-up.

However, it has evolved from a blend of punk & rock to include modern electronic and dance music.

#8 Jazz

Historically began in New Orleans in the early 1900s, Jazz typifies musical flexibility not witnessed by many other genres. Featuring a mix of rhythms and tempos as also with a focus on soloing, jazz also has a huge range of developing instrumental structures and setups.

It’s very common for there to be a drummer & a bass instrument as well as any number of lead instruments starting from woodwind to stringed instruments.

#9 K-Pop

Remember Gangnam Style? These new genres of music was initially categorised as a brand, rather than type of music. However, it’s explosion not only in its native South Korea but in that Western world has elevated its status. It borrows a variety of forms, containing pop, electronic music, rap, R&B and even classical music. Lady Gaga recently teamed up with a fledgeling K-Pop star Rose cementing its place in the US mainstream.


K-Pop music bands

#10 Metal

Metal, or Heavy Metal, is a sub-genre of rock music which has become a genre in its own right and spawned countless other sub-genres. Building a band setup with electric guitars, bass and drums, the distorted guitar music givea it the ‘heavy’ non-commercialised and aggressive sound.

Fast tempos and high-pitched vocals have become synonymous with the style.

#11 Opera

A key part of that classical music tradition in the west, opera features vocal performances that create a specific type of musical theatre. Opera is essentially a story told in music.

The lines between opera and classical music are extremely blurred & very often the two genres overlap.

#12 Pop

Pop music or popular music genres be an ever-evolving genre that encompasses any music that is designed for that masses. Anything played on mainstream radio can be categorised as pop.

Over those years pop has enveloped almost every genre from Motown to metal, hip-hop and drum and bass.

#13 Rap

Rap describes a style of vocal delivery. Nevertheless, it can be rightly regarded as a musical genre due to its huge popularity. Developing alongside hip-hop in the United States, rap evolved from MCs toasting & deejaying in Jamaican dancehall music.

It has grown to incorporate increasingly complicated rhyme schemes and has been appreciated in the same regard as poetry.

#14 Rhythm and Blues (R&B)

Another extremely popular music genre that has undergone several various shifts in focus. Originating in African American communities in the 1940s, it was spread in the 1950s and the term was applied to blues records. In those 1970s the term was used to describe soul and funk.

However, its newest incarnation has blended with hip-hop and a whole range of other types. From the 1980s to the present day it has described popular soulful performers, from Maria Carey and Whitney Houston to SZA and Jorja Smith.

#15 Rock

Stemming from the evolution of the electric guitar and distorted amplification, rock music be now home to hundreds of sub-genres. Popularised in both the UK & the United States by bands playing a 4/4 rhythm and singing verse-chorus songs, the music genre has become part of music history.

Rock’n’roll music is characterised by guitars & a heavy snare and kick drum rhythm.

#16 Soul

Another genre that stemmed from African American roots, soul music is an evolution from original blues &  rhythm, gospel and jazz.

Featuring hand claps, call and response singing, mainly focus on lead singers, Soul became so popular it eventually began to seperate into other genres, like Motown. 

To summarize, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular music genres for your consideration. We hope you find this material useful. Visit our website, landofmusic.us, for additional information on the music industry and music merchandise.

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