The youth audience is one of the most valuable target demographics when it comes to defining the face of the music industry. Especially with the rise of social media and streaming platforms, young people are now more able than ever to access their own musical entertainment. This ability to explore and buy songs for themselves has given students unprecedented influence across the entertainment industry.
With this ever-increasing access to songs and albums, it begs the question of what teens are actually listening to. Especially since young people are known to capture new trends and integrate them into the general public. The genres of music that become popular among the youngest end up being among the most popular music in the entire industry.
Music plays an important role in the lives of adolescents, providing a wide variety of benefits to the lives of young people. Not only is listening to music enjoyable and a favorite pastime for young people, it also offers educational benefits. Education expert Nora Stoffer, writer at Papersowl.com, says, “Listening to songs while studying can greatly improve a student’s workflow. In addition, music gives young people a sense of belonging and community which is particularly important for holistic education ”. With all of these benefits in mind, here’s a guide to the most popular music genres among teens and young people in the United States today.
Since the emergence of the teenage and youth demographics, pop has dominated the musical tastes of young people. While pop itself is technically not a genre, it has come to represent a mixture of catchy dance songs, songwriting, and catchy lyrics to form a style that is particularly appealing to young people. Pop draws inspiration from many other genres, such as EDM, R&B and rock, hence its mass appeal. National surveys show that pop music is proving to be the most popular song genre among students aged 16 to 24. Artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran currently dominate the music industry as the biggest pop icons who perform today and are the favorite artists of many young people. While the face of pop music changes with everything that comes into the mainstream, the genre is always changing. However, one thing is certain, is that pop music is a natural choice among the favorite musical genres of young people.
Hip hop first emerged in the 1970s as the genre of choice for young people. Its popularity with the young population only grew in the decades that followed. Although it hails from New York City neighborhoods, hip hop has grown into one of the most popular genres of music in the world, having become a truly global style of music. Since its emergence, the style has undergone many changes both in its tone and in the way it serves its listeners, but remains a favorite musical genre. Hip hop can vary from soft and easy listening to more serious and intense and filled with social commentary. This whole spectrum of hip hop is appealing to students as they like to use hip hop both for relaxation and as a means of self-expression and catharsis.
Rock music is often associated with young people and will always be a favorite musical genre for students. This musical genre first appeared in the 1940s as a blend of country music, folk music, and the rhythm and blues of African American communities. The fusion of these different sounds was recognized as rock and roll and was launched into the mainstream by artists such as Elvis Presley, quickly becoming one of the favorite musical genres of teenagers.
Rock is another genre in the industry that has undergone many changes since its first emergence; the spectrum of true rock sound is truly impressive. Popular forms of rock today include alternative, indie, classic, grunge, and metal. The most iconic sounds of the genre usually rely on the combination of the musical instruments used – electric guitar, rhythmic basslines and virtuoso drum service to create the iconic sound of this rebellious style of music. Because of its association with youth and anti-conformity, rock music has in many ways become synonymous with student life, independence and rebellion.
In the United States in particular, country is a genre of performance that is proving particularly popular among young people today. Country songs are perhaps the first uniquely American genre of music to truly gain a noticeable level of popularity. In fact, many musicians who started their careers as country artists have gained such appeal that they are now considered pop artists. Examples of such include Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash. Country western songs often deal with very similar themes, such as love, friendship and passion for nature, and are therefore particularly popular among students.
Jazz has a reputation for being one of the most complex genres in the industry, alongside classical music, but still remains very popular among young people. A genre that combines a deep understanding of music theory with a highly virtuoso playing ability, it is a genre of artistic performance that works not only on an aesthetic basis but also as highly cerebral. Many students enjoy listening to this genre while studying, and attending jams is a common pastime at many schools and college campuses – and it continues to grow as a favorite musical genre.
These are just five of the most popular genres that students are currently listening to. What is popular among students is constantly changing, and they are often at the forefront of defining what becomes mainstream for the rest of society. Keeping an eye on the pulse of young music is the surest way to ensure that you are ahead of the latest music trends.