The most popular musical genre in the world

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Image credit: IFPI

A large global study has revealed the most listened to musical genre in the world. Also – are the 90s a genre?

In 2021, we take for granted our easy access to a wide range of different types of music. On streaming apps, you can go from garage rock to hyperpop in seconds. But, with all the music in the world at our disposal, what is the most popular genre of music?

The “Engaging with Music 2021” report written by representatives of IFPI record companies collected data from 43,000 people aged 16 to 64 in 21 countries around the world – a truly global study. Here’s what they found.


The 10 most popular musical genres in the world

Image credit: IFPI

  1. Hip-Hop / Rap / Trap
  2. R&B
  3. Dance / Electronics / House
  4. 70s
  5. Soul / Blues

Arguably some of the musical types listed are not what you would call traditional genres – “Soundtracks” for example, it can range from musicals to orchestral scores to instrumental films. “90s” meanwhile, includes subgenres of 90s grunge rock or Britpop.

90s-inspired music certainly has a moment in 2021. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR and that of Beabadoobee Our extended game The EP both dripped with nostalgia for 90s guitar music, while Lorde openly acknowledged the obvious influence of the 1990 Primal Scream track “Loaded” on her comeback single “Solar Power”.


The IFPI also shared some examples of the most popular genres and where their fans live around the world. Over 300 genres have been identified, being the favorite music of at least one person.

Different types of music listened to around the world.
Image credit: IFPI

It’s a glimpse into the extent and variety enjoyed around the world, with types of music ranging from K Trot and space disco To hokkien song.

Frances Moore, Executive Director of IFPI, said: “IFPI’s Engaging with Music 2021 paints a rich and diverse picture of the growing ways in which fans enjoy music across the world… We are also seeing buy-in and support. continued love of local genres, celebrated in the unique musical cultures found in each country.


The “Engaging with Music 2021” report is available for everyone to browse online. The report is extensive, with interesting information on where and how people listen to music and discover new artists. Check it out here.

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