French pop music

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French pop music is pop music sung in the French language. It is usually performed by singers from France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, or any of the other francophone areas of the world. The target audience is the francophone market (primarily France), which is considerably smaller than and largely independent from the mainstream anglophone market.


The first distinct French pop music styles that emerged were the French rock and the yé-yé, which originated in France during the 1960s. They were influenced by the American rock & roll of the 1950s. In the early days, this style of French pop music was easily distinguishable from the earlier category of French music called chanson in English. Eventually the early French pop music and the chanson styles crossed over and combined.

Radio in France[edit]

French pop music can be heard on radio stations in France, such as NRJ, RTL 2, Virgin Radio (formerly Europe 2), Radio Nova, Chérie FM, and others. (There are francophone radio stations outside France, but the ones in France are the most influential with respect to French pop music.) Besides French pop music, these radio stations typically play mainstream pop music (in English) as well as Latin pop, Italian pop, and African pop depending on the station.

Radio stations in France are required to play at least 40% of their songs in French, during prime hours. France's Pelchat amendment to the 1994 Broadcasting Reform Act is the law which requires this.[1]

Francophone pop music artists[edit]

A list of Francophone pop music artists and the decades when they rose to prominence.






Sylvie Vartan performing in the Netherlands, December 1966.






See also[edit]


  • David Looseley, Popular Music in Contemporary France: Authenticity, Politics, Debate, Berg Publishers, 2004 (ISBN 1-85973-636-X)
  • Hugh Dauncey & Steve Cannon (editors), Popular Music in France from Chanson to Techno: Culture, Identity, and Society, Ashgate Publishing, 2003 (ISBN 0-7546-0849-2)
  • Hugh Dauncey & Philippe Le Guern, Stéréo. Sociologie comparée des musiques populaires – France / Grande-Bretagne, Nantes, Éditions Mélanie Seteun, 2008 (ISBN 978-2-916668-13-0). Published in English: Stereo: Comparative Perspectives on the Sociological Study of Popular Music in France and Britain, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2010 (ISBN 978-1-4094-0568-9)
  • Barbara Lebrun & Catherine Franc, "French Popular Music. Actes du Colloque de Manchester, juin 2003", Volume! La revue des musiques populaires, Nantes, Éditions Mélanie Seteun, 2003 (ISSN 1634-5495)
  • Collectif (Auteur) Un Siècle de chansons françaises 1979–1989 (Partition de musique),Csdem, 2009 (ASIN B002AC5U92)