Talk:Popular music

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What generation gap?[edit]

It's pure rubbish to assert that the musical generation gap has widened since WWII. It's been narrowing since about 1980, not widening. It's not unusual for young people today to raid their parents' music collections. The musical ideas of rock and roll's first decades still have a good deal of currency in today's rock music. What we have today, in terms of a generation gap, is nothing compared to the 1960s and 1970s when, I can tell you, we were not seeking out our parents' Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk, and Patti Page records.Pithecanthropus (talk) 04:02, 19 October 2009 (UTC)


Boring, uninspired, somewhat elitist article that doesnt even give a basic definition of "popular" music. Most notable is a narrow-minded and oh-so persistent "distinction" between classical and popular music. Thus, according to article, Tool, PJ Harvey or Radiohead are "profit" driven popular music. Fine. And Schenker's analysis of "depth" are yet another sad reminder of obssolete and long forgotten western "classical" narcissism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:39, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree. This article is more or less claiming that all non-classical music is commercial trash with no artistic value. The complexity section is POV and factually inaccurate to the umpteenth degree. I'm removing it. Zazaban (talk) 01:52, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree! The article suggests that every rock/hiphop/metal etc. song has a simple structure; this is not true for many genres including progressive rock/metal, idm, ambient and post-rock. Also, does grindcore appeal to a larger audience? I doubt that... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 5 July 2011 (UTC)


Boring, uninspired, somewhat elitist article that doesnt even give a basic definition of "popular" music. Most notable is a narrow-minded and oh-so persistent "distinction" between classical and popular music. Thus, according to article, Tool, PJ Harvey or Radiohead (as witnessed by their latest album) are "profit" driven popular music. Fine. And Schenker's analyses of "depth" are yet another sad reminder of obsolete and long forgotten western "classical" narcissism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vsb (talkcontribs) 08:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Completely agree!!! I tried to add a little neutrality, and my comment was deleted because it wasn't cited... Like ANYTHING in this article is cited. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Strengths and weaknesses[edit]

It is good that this page does not quote hundreds of musicians - often a weakness of writing on popular music. nevertheless I think it is very simplistic. A large amount of profit is made out of classical music, often by the same record companies who sell popular music. Folk music was not "transmitted exclusively" orally, as recent studies have shown. The authenticity is oversimplified.

Many other forms of art have made lots of money. Would we claim that Picasso's work was no longer of much artistic value once he became rich - this would be difficult to claim. Many great artists and composers of the 16th to 18th centuries for example had to please their rich customers; often this affected adversely the quality of their work, but often it didn't. The fact that companies can make a lot of money doesn't always have the same effect.

there is however a tension between moneymaking (and therefore let's not take risks, let's try to sell what sold last year) and a need to rebel, taken up by each new generation in a different way (jazz, skiffle, folk, rock, punk, rave, rap etc)

The other difficulty is that popular music is a mass activity. for every band that makes money there are a thousand that don't, and half of them don't care.


Popular or non-popular[edit]

Nice page but it is off point in drawing the dichotomy between pop and other styles as being based on being performed for enjoyment. It is plainly obvious that numerous pop artists performed for enjoyment and at times were even part of the non pop genres before being discovered. I understand the point that is being attempted but it would be more accurate to work in the following facts: *Pop music can be of virtually any genre.

  • Pop music artists often perform for enjoyment (take the last few years of the singer songwriter onslaught led by John Mayer and Jack Johnson). Singer songwriters are definitely producing music that is "like so tru to how they feel" but for enjoyment might be contraversial sense the feelings they seek to "share with the world" are as often anguishing as enjoyable. They are epitomes of self absorbtion. A better example might be Eminem or the likes.
  • Pop music artists are often not considered pop until after they get airplay (phantom planet was not pop until recently) and therefore pop music is often an a posteriori claim not an a priori one.
  • When it is an a priori claim (that is when a local band or artist is referred to as pop before they have entered the pop culture via mass media) it is usually used pejoratively and to signify that the artist/s isn't/aren't creating music that is true to the essence of the genre from whence they came (greenday was known as pop punk before ever entering the pop culture)

These are just a few suggestions and my main beef with the page is that it seems to at times present the pop artist as being a tool of the industry execs when it could actually be the other way around, such as in Rage Against the Machines decision to enter pop culture with the intention of spreading decidedly non-pop messages.

  • I would argue that your arguments are mostly semantic here. First, it should be clear that all music is created for enjoyment in some sense. What the author suggests in your disputed passage is that pop music is for the most part, a harnessing of this enjoyment for commercial purposes, as opposed to weaker commercial instincts of other forms. The fact that it is "pop" music, itself is indicatory of its commercial success. Also, if you think classical music isn't "anguishing", I've got a Stravinsky in Brooklyn to sell you, although I'm not quite sure what you meant by such a word. Your mention of Phantom Planet's not being "pop" is just an incorrect usage of the term. Though it may not be "popular" in the most popular sense of the word, they certainly fall into the realm of "popular" music. Similarly, any music written for an orchestra or traditional orchestra instruments would be considered "classical" to the undiscerning listener. Of another nebulous semantic issue, what we might consider "pop" within the world of popular music, Britney Spears for instance, is really better thought of as a genre or style. You might compare this to the sub-classification of the classical era in the world of classical music. --B. Phillips 9 July 2005 11:38 (UTC)

Genres sections[edit]

I appreciate the clarity that is created by the sections Popular_music#Genres and Popular_music#Genres_that_are_not_popular_music, but the actual situation is more complex, with some genres being considered a part of popular music by different writers at different times, and othertimes not. For example, some theories describe folk music as a large genre within popular music, some theories distinguish popular music from classical in that it is a part of folk music. Hyacinth 19:10, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I moved this section [Genres] to a new article, having a long list embedded in the middle of this one made the page horrible to navigate. User:Gordon Ross 09:40, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Genres that are not popular music

Musical genres usually considered not to be popular music include:

As noted earlier, these have a distinct character from popular music: either they are transmitted by word of mouth rather than in organized fashion (children's songs, authentic folk music) or else they are produced to fill the needs of a particular social institution (church, aristocracy, the military, or the state). Note that music pieces of each of these genres can become part of the popular music either in their pure form (like various gregorian compilation CD's) or as remixes (like Moby's Play).

I removed the directly above from the article per my discussion above. Hyacinth 06:41, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with some of the objections raised in this section. This article is written in a tone and manner that makes it seem like popular music vs. art music vs. traditional music is a very clear-cut distinction. It is in some cases, but in others it's not. For example, what is Hip hop music? There is popular hip-hop but there's a lot of it that arguably spills over into both of the other two categories. What about bluegrass? It could be called traditional music, but it could also be popular might depend on the artist, or the way it's performed, etc. I think that this article needs to communicate these nuances--to not do so is to create a horrible bias, a very bad sort of POV. Cazort (talk) 03:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


Should the following pages:

be changed to "List of pop performers" and "list of rock and roll performers"? For that matter, I'm not sure how we should distinguish between the two. At any rate, I think they should be moved out from subpages. Tarquin, Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I think the best solution (after moving from subpages) would be to make one big list of Popular Music Performers. For each genre (such as rock, but also disco, funk, Britpop; anything) there should be a short list of representative performers - included in the article, preferable accompanied by some text (like "Band x were the first to score a number 1 hit with a genre y song").
This will avoid including some names in many lists (it is not always easy to determine which genre a performer is playing, and it may change over time and the exact properties music genres highly debatable). The list of popular music performers will serve the purpose of listing all mentioned artists and bands in the Wikipedia. -- jheijmans
What should we call the kind of popular music I like (mostly popular from late '40s to mid '50s)? The music of the period before is commonly referred to as big band music; the music of the period afterward as Rock 'n' Roll but there seems to be no name for this kind of popular music and if we give genres, we need to use some name for this music - represented by such as Doris Day, Perry Como, etc. -- BRG

Date of origin[edit]

User raises the important point of when popular music began. The date of the 1950's cannot be correct, since it leave out big bands (1930-40's), ragtime (ca. 1900), parlor music like "Listen to the Mockingbird" (1855), and perhaps earlier stuff I'm not aware of.

I'd suggest that each genre, in its own article, be given a date of origin; we can't really generalize at this level except to identify the earliest popular music of any kind. Opus33 15:19, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with Opus33. Listing the emergence of each form by date will remove the some of the unrigorous flabbiness from this article, such as saying that Big band music or jazz isn't popular music because it "isn't popular any more", or some of the other weak categorizations made here. Remove all the categories and put dates on everything, then list in chronological order.Ortolan88 23:50, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I'd be happy to be rid of the "no longer popular" category--I put it in only as an effort to be tactful with another editor, a practice which (as I am learning) does not generally lead to good results...
Putting in accurate dates of origin for the genres is not at all easy. We need a serious expert, or at least someone who has a serious book. Opus33 00:19, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Let's delete the article on popular music, since it doesn't make sense. User: Oct 15 2004
How about we start the origin at the 1930s because, the radio was then widely in use.

Well, popular music has emerged in the second half of the 19th century, so we have to write about cabaret, tin pan alley, music hall, circus, minstrel shows and all that, including sheet music sales, invention of gramophones and much more. That's definitely a complex task and requires much work and possibly reorganization of entire article. So it's better not to write anything about history at all.

It would be a complex task, that's why it's important. If it were simple, it would be much less necessary. The popularization of music is tied to the technologies and venues for music and this is a critical thing to understand if one is to draw sensible distinctions between classical, folk and popular music. It would be interesting to know when the term began being used and what it was referring to. Then, from that point, working backward in time through 'populist' developments in music that captured the way people experienced music (with a tactful disqualification of traditions that run too far afield -- the australian aborigines, for example, didn't have much of an influence on what would become 'popular' music. while interaction with native americans and africans did to a greater extent, their contributions were generally seen as of lesser importance). Popuylar music, to me, seems like a natural function of cities developing a musical entertainment community populated by those who were not acceptable for court/classical group positions. "Cabaret, tin pan alley, music hall, circus, minstrel shows" these seem like exactly the things that should be explored in their influence on populare music. I'm suspecting that the term was first used but not very deeply considered for sheet music but then with phonograph production, there was a real need for knowing what is 'popular' Epsilonnull 16:55, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


I did not find a listing for Rockabilly music. This is a style of music that is still alive and well, and has been a great influnce on many artist and writers. George from the Beatles was a big fan of Carl Perkins.


Pop music is amazing.

Pop vs Classical[edit]

This is not to say that popular music is definitively or always simpler than classical. The "default length" of phrases which classical music supposedly deviates from were set as the default by music of the common practice period. Jazz, rap and many forms of technical metal, for instance, make use of rhythms more complex than would appear in the average common practice work, and popular music sometimes uses certain complex chords that would be quite unusual in a common practice piece. Popular music also uses certain features of rhythm and pitch inflection not analyzable by the traditional methods applied to common practice music.

Are there any sources for such a claim? I certainly don't see anything backing it up. Maybe something about techno-pop could be written in. A paragraph mentions the waw-waw pedal. Other devices, like the talk-box are written up in wiki, probably under special and audio effects. As far as the definition of "Classic Rock" goes, according to a local station it often includes a-cappella vocals and the slide guitar. 20:46, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Was thinking the same thing. I think the entire section should be rewritten and/or not compare popular music to classical music. The whole thing sounds like defending popular music rather than objectively comparing or providing insight into either. Also what is "average common practice work"? Technical metal? etc. 12:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

A lot of electronic music has extreme frequency-domain complexity e.g. FSOL Lifeforms - compare that to a something like to a Liszt Transcendental Etudes which is time-domain complex (but ultimately the same harmonics with just changing fundamental of each note)


this site rocks but it needs pics ofgood rock bands

A List of Albums Generally Considered to be a Band's Magnum Opus[edit]

This section does not add anything to the article. The list is subjective and does not even contain albums generally considered to be the best or most important in the history of popular music. I propose that this section be deleted.

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks. Hyacinth 08:09, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
My apologies, I did not have an account when I wrote that. Any thoughts on what I said? Makeemlighter 02:15, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
No problem. I agree and am removing the section. I'm not sure how it applies to popular music and "generally" is a Wikipedia:Weasel words. Hyacinth 16:55, 31 March 2006 (UTC)


I removed:


as it is a reply and would first need to show that Blink 182 etc started out trying to be "indie" and ended up mainstream. Hyacinth 10:35, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Genre - Subgenre List[edit]

  • I've noticed a few funny oddities about the Genres/subgenres. For example, is J-rock and J-pop really their own categories and not just simply a subgenre of Rock and Pop, respectively? If even that?
  • Also, is Cheese really a genre of music? Its link was broken - i found the page and fixed the link, but i do not believe this is a genre of music either. I propose deleting it from the list.

I didnt get a good look at the entire list of genres, but that is what ive noticed. Has anyone else noticed oddities like this? -Psydude 15:58, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Axel F[edit]

Could someone with comprehensive knowledge about this sort of thing please look at the section about Axel F? I think this needs serious attention. Why is this track considered "classical" and "crossover" in any way? The sentence about it starting off being very popular is a bit inane. At the very least I think we need more information if these sort of claims are going to be made.

That whole bit is nonsense - I'm going to remove it (hope no-one minds?) Hopsyturvy 13:23, 22 August 2006 (UTC)


The revisions from August 28 2006, by, added that the contemporary music business was "founded by Ranjith," and then added the title "---the great" and gave some lifetime dates of "98842-65108 or 98405-28236." I have deleted these. Mkilly 15:47, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Pejorative Descriptions of Minimalism[edit]

The article includes a few thinly-supported negative descriptions of minimalism. It is true that composers such as Steve Reich were inspired by folk and popular music, but Reich would note that Bartok and Stravinsky were as well. The immitation of repetitive rhythmic and harmonic devices found in American rock, African and Indian traditional music, etc., was a very conscious and deliberate creative decision on the part of "minimalist" composers and largely a response to the hyper-density and complexity of 1950s serialism. On a side note, it would seem to make sense that some reference be made to the written tradition of classical music as opposed to the aural transmission of folk and popular music.

I agree, and would like to point out the following weasel words: "however, much minimalist music goes against these tendencies, and thus is considered non-serious by many critics." Hmmm, "many critics"? 23:22, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Classical vs. Pop[edit]

This paragraph should be removed for two reasons. First, a value judgement on the relative merits of classical and pop music is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. Second, it is factually incorrect. The statement "popular music sometimes uses certain complex chords that would be quite unusual in a common practice piece" is simply incorrect. To suggest that any popular music is more harmonically complex than Wagner is frankly ridiculous. "Jazz, rap and many forms of technical metal rhythms more complex than would appear in the average common practice work" - Mussorgsky's "promenade" from "pictures at an exhibition" features alternating bar lengths of 5 and 6. Mozart's "Don Giovanni" has a section in which the orchestra is split into three parts, each playing in a different time signature. This comment has been posted without any citations or references in its support. Does anyone object to its removal?

"This is not to say that popular music is definitively or always simpler than classical. The "default length" of phrases which classical music supposedly deviates from were set as the default by music of the common practice period. Jazz, rap and many forms of technical metal, for instance, make use of rhythms more complex than would appear in the average common practice work, and popular music sometimes uses certain complex chords that would be quite unusual in a common practice piece. Popular music also uses certain features of rhythm and pitch inflection not analysable by the traditional methods applied to common practice music."

This should be deleted for the following reasons.

-No sources are supplied in support of any of the statements.

-It is factually inaccurate.

-A discussion of the relative merits of classical music and pop music doesn't belong in an encyclopedia.

This paragraph is the kind of thing which gives wikipedia a bad name. I am deleting it.

No, it ISN'T factually inaccurate - you've just yet to hear any "popular" music (a total misnomer of a term - how are genres like IDM, avant-garde, experimental, and drone produced for 'commercial purposes' - that's right, they AREN'T!) that reaches that echelon of complexity. I'd advise looking beyond the radio. Elitism won't get you anywhere. Classical, baroque, romanticism, etc. are all just genres - they are in no way superior to genres such as technical death metal, drone, krautrock, progressive rock, avant-metal, etc etc... blah blah blah. In an ideal world there would be no conceited academic terms demarcating some fictive 'line' between these two 'realms' of music, but apparently people get a real kick of claiming 'popular' music is 'simplistic'. Whatever... maybe if all you've ever heard is The Beatles and Led Zeppelin... *yawn*... do the knowledge, then you'll be qualified to comment. Blah blah blah comment comment comment remark etc (talk) 08:52, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Popular music and pop music[edit]

Both the template and the infobox don't belong here, this article doesn't overlap the pop music one.Doktor Who 22:04, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Classical is distinct from popular music - but what about jazz?[edit]

Is jazz different from both of these? I'd just like some opinions--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 23:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Your question is confusing because you refer to the distinction classical/popular while it actually seems to refer to the general musicological distinction between art music and popular music. Indeed the distinction classical/popular is actually an issue concerning the distinction between art music and popular music.There's a frequent amalgam between art music and classical music.The potential confusion lies in the fact classical music is art music, but art music isn't necessarilly classical. Art music includes classical, but it doesn't mean art music can be reduced to classical music only...
Now to reply to your question: Most part of Jazz is considered as popular music, but certain complex and erudite forms of jazz are considered as art music or something intermediary between popular and art music. But while certains forms of Jazz can be considered as art music (that is to say distinct from popular music) they are also distinct from classical tradition as well. Frédérick Duhautpas (talk) 11:24, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


This section is terrible. First of all, it claims that popular music is 'simple.' Progressive rock musicians would disagree with you. In fact, this entire article seems to be claiming that all non-classical music is throwaway commercial products with no artistic value. This is an insult to the vast repertoire of non-classical musicians who try to express themselves. Zazaban (talk) 01:50, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

House music[edit]

I realize house music would fit under the category of "popular music" by the indicated meaning in the article, but is it really a good idea to mention it in the first picture in the article? House music is a very underground type of music as are most electronic genres, and I think it would be more fitting to show a genre of music that is actually, to the alternative meaning of the word, popular, such as rock or "pop" music. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kobb (talkcontribs) 23:33, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

A house band doesn't play House Music. They are a band that plays in the same house all the time. Noit (talk) 03:05, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

"Popular Song" should not redirect here[edit]

Since this article has no information about popular songs, per se, just the genre of popular music. I would like to redirect Popular Song to Song#Popular, and then expand that section to actually discuss what a popular song is. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:43, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Why does this article exist?[edit]

I've never heard anybody use "Popular Music" as a pronoun. I've heard of "Pop Music", but there is another article with that name. The authors of this article are having a difficult time defining "Popular Music" because it is not a valid entity. It's just a phrase; it's not the title of anything. It would be like having an article for "Fast Boat" or "Tall Building". I think the confusion comes from the literal translation from other languages. The French call it "Musique Populaire", but it's the same as our "Pop Music". This article should be culled for any good information, combined with "Pop Music", and redirected. Although, I don't want to take an American centric stance. If more English speaking cultures around the world call it Popular Music than call it Pop Music, then do the same thing, but redirect Pop Music here. Noit (talk) 00:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

This article exists because "popular music" is a commonly used term in the English language. Before you make drastic changes to the article you should consult some sources on pop and popular music, for instance those discussing popular music and its popularity, so that you have heard someone use "popular music" as a pronoun, at least theoretically. Hyacinth (talk) 01:50, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not about to jump in and make drastic changes yet. I just don't think being a "commonly used term" makes it an encyclopedia article. How about "Nice Day"? This article doesn't really say anything. Any definition in the article is immediately refuted, because any other characteristics a person attaches to the simple phrase "popular music", beyond the simple definition of "music that is popular", will just be personal taste and bias. It's all rhetoric. To further try to define such a simple phrase is like an unsolvable riddle. You talk about "popular music and its popularity". And then there's the issue of Pop Music. Anything meaningful the article has to say about the corporate influence over popular music is really about Pop Music and belongs in that article. Right in the top paragraph the confusion begins with Pop Music. You're chasing your tail on this one. There's no article here, and all the quotes and references are from cultural theorists who've written equally vague rhetoric about this non-subject. It would be more worthwhile as a timeline of the most popular music styles throughout history. Noit (talk) 11:53, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, Noit, but because a notion is not part of your personal culture doesn't mean it is inexistant. Pop music and popular music are not the same as you seem to believe. Notion of "popular music" is a perfectly admited and frequently used term in musicology. It has a clear definition and it is completely distinct from "pop music"(even though it is related). Traditional musicology generally distinguishes three main types of music: Art music(Including classical music, [Contemporary classical music|modernist and post-modernist serious music]] most particularly), Popular music (including rap, rock, Heavy metal, pop music, Rai, dance music, electronic, industrial, etc...) and traditional music (extra-european folkloric music). You doubt it? Well, no offense but that's just absurd, there are countless evidences of this. There are entries in almost every music encyclopedia( example :"Popular music" in The New Oxford Companion to Music, Volume 2: K-Z, Oxford University Press, p.1467) , there are also scholar encyclopedia exclusively dedicated to popular music (as opposed to music encyclopedias who generally tend to focus on art music repertory and theory), for example in my university we got the Oxford encyclopedia of popular music, and there are even musicologist journals dealing with popular music like Journal of popular music (Whose co-editor is btw referential musicologist Dr Nicola (nikki) Dibbens)[1].
So I'm sorry, I see no reason to question the existence of this article. Pop music is genre whereas popular music is music category. Btw, I'm french and musicologist, and I can assure you that the term "musique populaire" in french refers to the same distinction in musicology. Frédérick Duhautpas (talk) 13:27, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
If the term "Popular Music" has a clear definition then that definition should be in the article. Saying, "not art or traditional" is a terrible way to define something. Who came up with these three categories anyway? They're kind of offensive: "Art=Euro-centric, smart music", Traditional="Old, and not from white people", and Popular="Music people like, but isn't old or smart." Sounds to me like a terrible way to categorize music. It sounds like a bunch of college snobs separating music into: the music us smart people listen to, the music those foreigners listen to, and the music those dumb common people listen to. I'd be interested in knowing who came up with these distinctions. Noit (talk) 16:02, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Don’t take it wrong but I strongly advice you to get informed of what you are talking about before assuming wrong things about specialists. No offence but your interpretation of this distinction is very simplistic and biased. You are caricaturing things. Things are not that simple. They just can’t be reduced to elitist or racist considerations as you seem to fallaciously imply.
When referring to this classification I absolutely don’t imply that popular music is a category of lower music as opposed to art music. Absolutely not. While I like any type of music, I’m primarily a fan of popular music.(as partially shown in my user’s page) So how can you explain this? Do you really think I would try to impose elitist views to belittle some of my favourite music? This is a nonsense!
1. Art music term doesn’t necessarily refer to European music exclusively. Any classical music from any culture is considered as art music. So no, it’s not eurocentric view. Beside there are countless examples of European art music getting influence both from popular music (Gershwin, Bernstein, Milhaud, D’Indy) and traditional music (Steve Reich, John Cage, Debussy, Messiaen, Ravel, Bartok). This tendency has been pushed further with post-modernist movements.
2. Noone said art music is about being smart. Art music notion is concerned with written tradition and advanced structural, aesthetic and theoretical considerations. It’s not about being smart per se; it’s about focussing on compositional advanced techniques and certain aesthetic considerations. Yes, Intellectualism may be a consideration of such a music. (modernist music like serialism makes indeed heavy emphasis on intellectualism and elitism). But this not necessarily a general character of the music. Yes, Art music is more exigent in terms of compositional techniques and theories. But that’s all.
3. Yes in contrast, popular music is freer and more instinctive in terms of composition. It doesn’t rely extensively on theories and compositional exigencies (complex techniques strict academic counterpoint or Fugue for example). Also popular music relies on recording rather than on written tradition. Also it’s more direct and more accessible. But it doesn’t mean accessibility is wrong or something.
But being technical or more direct or freer doesn’t make any art superior or smarter. Authenticity and sensitivity for me are better criteria to judge music. And such criteria can be found in any of these three categories.
4. Traditional music more exactly refers to any folkloric music which is not characterized by a written tradition. While this category concerns extra-european native music because there are countless for the world is large, it also includes many european folkoric regional music characterized by rote transmission.
So your accusations of racism and elitism are completely groundless,.
It sounds like a bunch of college snobs separating music into: the music us smart people listen to, the music those foreigners listen to, and the music those dumb common people listen to. I'd be interested in knowing who came up with these distinctions
Sorry, but your assumptions are completely wrong. How can you explain that so many referential musicologists like Dibbens or Walser are precisely interested into popular music, write many articles, books or even encyclopaedias. Even specialists of classical music like Wilfrid Mellers wrote on Popular music (like the beatles or Bob Dylan). Also traditional extra European music has been the focus of countless musicologists like Judith Becker, Stephen Davies, Jean Jacques Nattiez. Such ethnomusicolgists are known to fight against all type of ethnocentrist and racist prejudices concerning music.
I'd be interested in knowing who came up with these distinctions
You seem to believe some snob scholar recently decided to came up with this distinction just to legitimate his tastes as superior and belittle others. Sorry, but that’s not that simple, this distinction has existed for years and years. I got books from early 20th century that already referred to this distinction with popular music.
This is not one person, nor a bunch of persons; this is a commonly admitted distinction among specialists of music. Even though everybody agrees that borders between each others may be blurred (take minimalists and post-modernist borrowing extensively to traditional music and popular music and vice-versa popular artists like Franck Zappa working with art music composers like Pierre Boulez. )
Beside unlike you seem to believe musicologists are not like some common reviewer that judges music with nothing but his personal impressions. Musicologists refer to methodological tools to make studies.
Yes, sure some may use this distinction in some elitist views. You find idiots everywhere. But nothing like this is implied here. I like each type of music.
Anyway these categories are just global structures for orientation, they are not meant to stereotype or belittle certain forms of music. Nor do they mean to be absolute references. Plus there are always exceptions. Music is human, and so doesn’t always fall under conceptual labels (for example certain music coming from Art music like Satie or minimalist are not characterized by complex compositional considerations ) Also there are countless cases where popular music gets influences from extra-European tradition and vice versa. Frédérick Duhautpas (talk) 18:37, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Great. What you wrote here is already much better than what is in the article. All of the names you've mentioned should be in the article since they are helping to define how you see "Popular Music". Actually, although I know this wont be well received, now that you've explained it, I think the best would be to have one article on the distilling of music into Art, Traditional, and Popular. That would be the clearest. Is there a name for this type of classification?
And as for suggesting that I should do more research, that's why I'm on wikipedia. I'm just the dumb guy, and I don't understand the article. So I shout and argue and hope that people more knowledgeable than me will fix it up so the next dumb guy doesn't get confused like I did. Noit (talk) 20:13, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not the place for original research or unverified claims. Hyacinth (talk) 03:04, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Who's talking about original research or unverifiable claims? I don't know what you're referring to. If you can't better explain the concept of Popular Music without original research then I really don't know what to tell you anymore. It certainty tend credence to my claim that the topic doesn't really exist. Noit (talk) 04:25, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

material from the "pop music" article[edit]

the article that's supposed to be about the genre called pop music currently includes a lot of material that's actually about popular music in general, so i'm transferring it here in case someone wants to work it into this article. the first delivery, with reflist, is below. hope it's helpful ... Sssoul (talk) 06:54, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

delivery 1[edit]

An important turning point for popular music was the "speed war" of the late 1940s: a battle among the record labels of the day to enforce their own standard. The dominating format, the 10 inches (25 cm) 78 revolutions per minute (rpm) disc, was challenged in 1948 by the new 33 ⅓ rpm 12 inches (30 cm), and then in 1949 by the 45 rpm 7 inches (18 cm).[1][2] Next came the switch in the material records were made of, from shellac to vinyl;[3] the new component, combined with the slow 33 ⅓ rpm playing speed, allowed recordings to extend their duration further than was previously possible, and gave birth to the long playing record (LP).[4] Changes continued with the invention of the multitrack tape recorder, permitting completely electronic studio recordings for the first time, and the advent of stereophonic sound in 1958.[5][6]
These technical advances brought about a recorded music that was standardised, of better quality than ever before, and most importantly, easier and less costly to produce, which meant it could be offered to the public at consistently lower prices. In just one year, 1954 to 1955, the average selling price of an LP in the US dropped from US$5.95 to $3.98.[7][8] Cheaper records ledto greater demand for record players, which in turn became less expensive and continued to boost sales.
These changes in sound recording, coupled with the improved economic circumstances of the era, led the general public to purchase records like never before. Music ceased to be a minority ware with limited following and became a mass-market commodity with an enormous audience. The new financial prospects and opportunities for secure investment attracted capital, which began applying commercial merchandising techniques to music: advertising, tie-ins, cross-media marketing and others. The most infamous of these is the payola, whereby record labels pay radio stations or disc jockeys to play particular songs, artificially influencing their popularity.
The emerging role of investors in the music industry led to tensions between the creative and the productive sides of the business, with the former accusing the latter of excessive concern with commercial success. In many cases the artists won and retained the idiosyncrasies of their style.
Pop did not have as easy a start in the United Kingdom as in the United States due to intense regulation of radio play, known in the day as needle time. This legislation required the BBC, the only broadcaster legally allowed to play music, to do so for only a few hours a day for fear of damaging the revenues of the music industry by allowing the public to hear songs without purchasing them.[9][10] The ordinance lasted until the launch of Radio 1 in 1967.
  1. ^ "Billboard history — War of the speeds" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  2. ^ "Gramophone records — Speeds" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  3. ^ "Gramophone records — Materials" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  4. ^ "LP album" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  5. ^ "History of multitrack recording" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  6. ^ /wiki/Stereophonic_sound#Stereo_in_vinyl_records "Stereophonic sound" Check |url= value (help) (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Chronomedia, 1954" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  8. ^ "Chronomedia, 1955" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  9. ^ "Even pirates have their day" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-24. In Britain, however, 20-plus years after the end of WWII, they didn’t even have Top 40. Music broadcast was limited to the BBC and for only part of the day. The BBC's lack of music programming was the result of what was called needle time, which prevented the playing of records over the air for more than a set length of time per day. Needle time, it was thought, would keep the unionized musicians employed, while the record companies believed it would prevent the loss of record sales due to the ability to listen for free over the airwaves. 
  10. ^ "John Peel biography — 1967 Part One" (html). Retrieved 2007-12-24. The BBC also had to play a certain amount of live music, according to the Musicians' Union, to ensure that performing musicians could make a living. This was called the 'Needle Time' restriction. 

delivery 2[edit]


In contrast to genres with clear origins and a traceable evolution, pop developed, and continues to expand, as a haphazard merging of styles. Pop is an amalgam of successive fashions, of elements of many differing styles that have been successful over the years and have ended up incorporated into the genre. This section introduces the most significant tunes of each decade, and shows the progression of pop to its current form. Because performers of all varieties have released tracks that can be classified as pop, this article analyses songs, and does not list names of acts, bands, musicians or singers. For these please see the List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.), List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and List of artists by total number of U.S. number-one singles.


At the start of the 1950s songs in the pop genre were crossover styles from the standard formats of the day. In country music, instrumental soloing was de-emphasised and more prominent vocals added, commonly backed by a string section and vocal chorus, as exemplified in "(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window", which became a hit in both the US and the UK in 1953. Two years later American folk music entered the pop spectrum with a modern version of a traditional tune, "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (1955).

Vocal performers of the great American songbook classics, crooners and big band singers, incorporated elements of other styles and orchestral enhancements to their repertoire, giving them greater formal complexity than their traditional antecedents. The Marc Blitzstein arrangement of "Mack the Knife" is an emblematic example, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1954, as did "Singing the Blues" in late 1956 and early 1957.

This was also the decade of the advent of rock and roll, a massively influential genre that spawned innumerable changes in the social and cultural fabric of the US and the world. The convulsion began when "Rock Around the Clock" crowned the charts in the spring and summer of 1955, and continued with "Heartbreak Hotel", All Shook Up and "Tutti Frutti"

Previously regional or niche formats became mainstream for the first time, some going on to become genres in their own right. Latin music entered the general consciousness with "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" in 1955, and Italian popular music with "Nel blu dipinto di blu" in 1958.

In Europe, pop music was to show its increasing popularity with the arrival of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. This competition would span the continent and continue on for the next five decades. The main idea behind the show, which was televised throughout Europe (and other parts of the world), was to unite the various nations through popular music. Many successful songs emerged from the contest over the years, but few were significant outside of Europe.


The decade kicked off a style that is still recorded today, the novelty song, combining humorous or parodic lyrics and simple, catchy melodies: "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (1960). In 1961 a new format arose around close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting the Californian relationship with surfing, girls and cars: Surf pop. This very successful style is epitomised by tunes like "Surfin' USA" (1963), "California Girls" (1965) and "Good Vibrations" (1966). An unusual combination of minor chords and an unexpected synthesizer formed the basis of one of the greatest hits of the first half of the decade, "Runaway" (1961), whilst in the second half a four-note electric bass riff offsetting a simple melodic arrangement brought commercial and critical success to "Windy" (1967).

The music that had radiated from the US to the rest of the World in the previous decade bounced back in this one, bringing with it nuances, variations and completely new styles. In the United Kingdom teens developed a feel for rock and roll and the blues, blending them with local traditions like skiffle and giving rise to music they could relate to and perform with conviction. Youths with electric guitars began joining beat bands and writing and playing up-tempo melodic pop. Some of these enjoyed success only in Europe ("Apache" (1960), "The Young Ones" (1962), "Keep On Running" (1965) and "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" (1969)), as others crossed the Atlantic and became the British invasion (1964 to 1967), delivering a whole new range of influences to US pop with songs like "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Downtown" (all 1964), "Yesterday" (1965), "Yellow Submarine" (1966), "To Sir, with Love" (1967), "Hey Jude" (1968) and "Get Back" (1969).

African American music broke into popular culture in a big way in this decade, bringing with it new grooves and tempos, such as doo-wop, a style giving prevalence to melody-dominated homophony and vocal-based harmonies; rhythm and blues, a combination of jazz, gospel and blues; Motown, soul music with a prominent and melodic bass line, a distinctive chord structure and a call-and-response singing style:

In 1965 Raybert Productions set out to create a pop band from scratch, selecting the members by their looks, dancing ability and appeal to different personalities of fan, rather than musical prowess. The company controlled every aspect of the group, from choice of music to individual behaviours, and guided them to extraordinary success in music, television and cinema. This type of prefabricated band was termed manufactured pop and is the precursor of boy bands and girl groups. The hit "I'm a Believer" (1967) was soon followed by a number one from another manufactured group, "Sugar, Sugar" in 1969. Many new and different styles of popular music developed during the 1960s, in the aftermath of rock & roll - see the article on Popular music.

In the mid-1960s Sonny & Cher's smash hit single "I Got You Babe" became a defining recording of the early hippie countercultural movement and it helped them to become pop icons. A year later Cher, as a solo artist, released one of the most famous pop song ever recorded: "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".


Singer-songwriters and other folk-based artists were the biggest contributors to the pop genre in the first half of this decade, from 1970's "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "(They Long to Be) Close to You"(although this was not actually a singer-songwriter effort, but a was written by one of the last remnants of the Tin-Pan-Alley/Brill Building days, Burt Bacharach and Hal David), through 1971's "It's Too Late", to 1972's "American Pie", "Alone Again (Naturally)" and "Without You".

The main influence in the second half of the decade came from disco, a dance-oriented style with soaring, reverberated vocals, a steady beat and prominent, syncopated electric bass lines: "Disco Lady" and "Play That Funky Music" (both 1976), "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" (1977), "Night Fever" and "Stayin' Alive" (both 1978), "Bad Girls", "Le Freak", "Take Me Home" and "YMCA" (all 1979).

Country music re-entered pop in 1973 with "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" and in 1975 with "Rhinestone Cowboy", whilst the African American rhythms that had so affected the genre in the previous decade were still producing hits and expanding limits in this one. Disco, an almost entirely African American creation, was joined in the charts by protest songs ("War" (1970)), soulful ballads ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (1972), "Killing Me Softly with His Song" and "Let's Get It On" (both 1973)), and by more upbeat compositions ("Best of My Love" (1977)).

Sounds from the UK continued to permeate pop music, with pop rock songs like "Maggie May" (1971), "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (1978) and "My Sharona" (1979); blues-based tunes in the style of "In the Summertime" (1970); and simple pop ditties such as "Save Your Kisses for Me", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Silly Love Songs" (all 1976).

In the early 1970s Cher released other pop hit-singles: "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves", "Half-Breed" and "Dark Lady" that established her status as a pop icon. Diana Ross released "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Touch Me In The Morning", "Do You Know Where You're Going To", and "Love Hangover". These for releases helped make her the most successful female singer of the 1970s.

In the same way that Britain contributed to the genre since the 1960s, pop artists started appearing in other nations in the 1970s, some with surprising longevity and significance.

Special mention must go to Sweden for ABBA who took over the music world with songs like "Waterloo" (1974), "Fernando" (1976), "Take a Chance on Me" (1978), "Dancing Queen", "The Name Of The Game" and to Boney M for the hits "Daddy Cool" (1976), "Ma Baker" (1977) and "Rivers of Babylon" (1978).


Many popular songs came from female artists. A few of the most significant are "Hold On", "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Vogue" (all 1990), "Rush Rush" (1991), "Save the Best for Last" (1992), "The Power of Love" and "Hero" (both 1993), "Creep" (1994), "Waterfalls" (1995), "Wannabe" "Always Be My Baby" and "Un-Break My Heart" (all 1996), "You Were Meant for Me" (late 1996 and early 1997), "How Do I Live" (1997), "Ray of Light" and "Believe" (both 1998), and "If You Had My Love", "...Baby One More Time", "Have You Ever? and "Waiting For Tonight" (all in 1999).

Following-up on the positive results of the eighties, the music and film industries continued to benefit each other in this decade, including pop songs in movie soundtracks and releasing them as singles. Defining hits of the genre include "The Shoop Shoop Song" from 1990's Mermaids; "It Must Have Been Love" from 1990's Pretty Woman; "I Wanna Sex You Up" from New Jack City and "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (both 1991); "End of the Road" from Boomerang and "I Will Always Love You" from The Bodyguard (both 1992); "Can't Help Falling in Love" from 1993's Sliver; "Gangsta's Paradise" from Dangerous Minds, "Kiss from a Rose" from Batman Forever (both 1995), "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close & Personal (1996), and "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic (1997).

Grunge and alternative music also pushed the boundaries of pop music in the 1990s. Most notably, Nirvana's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" highlighted a mix of loud, garage band style punk rock ethic and catchy, pop music hooks and melodies that made a huge slash in the mainstream.

Dance music broke out of a specialised section of the market into pop in this decade, with hits such as "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" (1991) and "The Sign" (1993). Simultaneously, African American influences continued with traditional pop and hip hop-inspired tunes. Indicative examples of the first are "Black or White" (1991) and "You Are Not Alone" (1995), notable instances of the second being "Baby Got Back" and "Jump" (both 1992), "On Bended Knee" and "I'll Make Love to You" (both 1994), and "I'll Be Missing You" and "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" (both 1997).

Pop became truly international in the nineties, with hits coming from diverse and distant locations:


In a similar vein to the previous decade, female singers had a big influence on the pop genre in the 2000s, with soulful ballads, hip hop pieces and dance tracks: "Music", "Genie in a Bottle", "Oops!... I Did It Again" (both 2000); "What a Girl Wants", "Fallin'","Love Don't Cost a Thing", "All for You" and "Can't Get You out of My Head" (all 2001); "Foolish", "Dirrty" , "What about Us?" (2002); "Crazy in Love" and "White Flag" (both 2003); "Beautiful", "If I Ain't Got You", "Toxic", Left Outside Alone, and "1, 2 Step" (all 2004); "Hung Up", "We Belong Together", "Hollaback Girl" and "Since U Been Gone" (all 2005); "Girlfriend", "Bleeding Love", "Gimme More", "Piece of Me","With Love", "Ain't No Other Man", "Umbrella", and "Say It Right" (all 2007); , "Disturbia","Womanizer", and "Circus" (all 2008).

Traditional rock and pop rock made forays into pop with consecrated artists and newcomers both introducing songs to the genre: "Smooth", "Maria Maria" and "It's My Life" (all 2000), "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" (both 2001), "This Love" (2003), and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (2005), "Burnin' Up (2008)." Entirely digital productions integrated new technology and sounds, and as electronic dance music entered the mainstream, pop artists started using producers and remixers who contributed their styles to the genre: "Feel Good Inc." (2005) and "Crazy" (2006) are good examples.

Once more, African Americans contributed heartily to pop with diverse styles. Some hits were hip hop-based, such as "I'm Real" and "Dilemma" (2001 and 2002 respectively), "In da Club" and "Ignition" (both 2003), "Yeah!" (2004), "Candy Shop" and "Don't Phunk with My Heart" (both 2005). Other chart-toppers were variations on reggae beats ("It Wasn't Me" (2000) and "Get Busy" (2003)) or more traditional rap compositions ("The Way You Move" (2003)).

The international appeal of pop was evident in the new millennium, with artists from around the world influencing the genre and local variants merging with the mainstream. Latin pop was successful with songs from Spain, "Hero" (late 2001/early 2002), "The Ketchup Song" (2002); and Colombia, "Whenever, Wherever" (2002) and "Hips Don't Lie" (2006). Russia made its breakthrough to the international charts with "All the Things She Said" (2002) which even topped the UK Singles Chart, while Moldavia hit the European charts with "Dragostea din Tei" (2003) and Romania with "Kylie" (2006).


maybe there should be a critism section although it may compromise the neutrality of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 24 March 2012 (UTC)


same subject, significant overlap. Popular music IS pop music, completely illogical to have two articles when a combination of the two in a single entry would make for a more informative overview. Semitransgenic talk. 09:28, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

It would be helpful if you could make clear what title you think any merged article should go under - "popular music" or "pop music". Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:34, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I think we need to first need to try and build consensus for a merge, then discuss which should be a redirect. Semitransgenic talk. 08:37, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
No, I think the onus is on you, as proposer of the merge, to indicate how you would see it done. My view is that "pop music" is (quite obviously, to me) a subset of "popular music", so that any merge should be to the "popular music" article, with "pop music" being a redirect. I'm not suggesting that, of course, as in my view the two articles should remain distinct. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:53, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
considering the merge direction, and my comment above, surely it's clear what the article title might be? I concur with your proposal. Semitransgenic talk.09:00, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
OK, at least we agree on that, even if we disagree about the merge. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:03, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Essentially for the reason made clear in the article: "Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for music of all ages that appeals to popular tastes, whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre." Popular music is not a genre - it is any music that is popular at the time, with a history going back over the centuries through, for example, parlour music, folk music, and so on. Most sources do not refer to "Camptown Races" or "Sumer Is Icumen In" as "pop music", although they are certainly examples of popular music. What we call "pop music" today - and I fully accept it's a vast field - essentially developed out of the rock and roll culture of the 1950s. It's a specific genre. Clearly there is overlap between the two articles, but nothing like enough to justify merging them. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:17, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose For the reasons given above and in the article. They are not the same thing. Pop music is a genre. Popular music is a wider designation. It would be even harder to deal with both topics in one article.--SabreBD (talk) 10:24, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support If we look, for example, at an academic publication such as the Journal of Popular Music studies it's pretty clear they are talking about a whole range of musics in a sense that pop is not a specific genre, it is simply that which is popular with mainstream audiences at any given time:
Another example being the journal Popular Music and Society:
Claiming that pop is one single identifiable genre of music that has an identifiable year zero is absurd in the extreme from what I can see, it's simply not a view that is supported by academic studies of the matter. You are relying on a dictionary definition to decide that the terms pop & popular are not interchangeable? Is that the only source? The articles are not large, a merge is viable, and it would enhance our overall coverage of the topic significantly. Semitransgenic talk. 10:42, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Those sources don't refer to "pop music" at all - correctly, because they are dealing with the whole range of popular music, not just "pop music". In fact, they set out a cogent argument against the point you are making. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:56, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
you will find articles in both publications that deal specifically with what you are calling pop (look at the latest JPMS to confirm this). Are there clear sources to support: 1) the idea that pop is a specific genre of music: 2) that it exists independently of popular music: 3) that the terms pop & popular are not interchangeable. Semitransgenic talk. 11:28, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
One example: "The New Grove Dictionary Of Music and Musicians, the musicologist's ultimate reference resource, identifies popular music as the music since industrialization in the 1800's that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class. This would include an extremely wide range of music from vaudeville and minstrel shows to heavy metal. Pop music, on the other hand, has primarily come into usage to describe music that evolved out of the rock 'n roll revolution of the mid-1950's and continues in a definable path to today." - [2] . Obviously, journals dealing with popular music cover what is now called "pop music" as well as other aspects of popular music. I'm not going to comment further, unless other people support your position. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:32, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
that tertiary source only tells us that pop is a sub-category of popular music, not much else really, it does not alter the fact that popular music is a term still widely used in the context of discussing pop. We ideally need solid secondary sources to tease this out. Semitransgenic talk. 11:43, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Sitting on the fence. I've been caught up in this sort of argument before. While I want to agree with Semitransgenic, I have gotten a lot of flak in the past from people who passionately believe that "pop" is a genre distinct from, or at least definable within the larger realm of "popular music". The discussion so far suggests that there may be sources out there that justify a distinction but, on the strength of what is offered in the article "Pop music", this seems doubtful. The "definitions" section of that article offers first "a body of music which is distinguishable from popular, jazz and folk musics", which is an assertion, not a definition, and certainly does not even begin to explain what makes this body of music distinctive. Then we get some weasel language: "Although pop music is often seen as", followed by a description that applies not to the character of music but to economics: "oriented towards the singles charts it is not the sum of all chart music, which has always contained songs from a variety of sources, including classical, jazz, rock, and novelty songs, while pop music as a genre is usually seen as existing and developing separately." Once again, it is asserted to be separate, but it is not explained in what way. Finally, a third source (which to my mind is the most reliable of the three offered) describes pop as "a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll". Once again, however, the distinction is being made on the basis of marketing, not on what the music actually might be. Considering the vehemence with which the distinction is being asserted, it is preposterous that no better definition has been found so far. If it really cannot be done, then there are no grounds for keeping a separate article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:38, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not being "vehement" - just explaining why I disagree with the proposal! Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:02, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
@Jerome thanks for the input, fair comments. From what i can see these distinctions rest on definitions that are anachronistic, the topic needs to be brought up to date so that it reflects recent scholarship in popular music. Re:"a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll"?? softer alternative to "rock and roll" surely that demonstrates the point, i mean what decade are we in? Dubstep is an example of a distinct genre of music now aimed at a youth market, because it has started to sell, the more it sells, the more "popular" it becomes, until we reach a point where something that was once a niche underground music is a mainstream sound, it transmogrifies into something called pop. "Pop music" changes, continuously, as mainstream tastes in music listening change, and as one popular genre is supplanted by another, but it is always "popular music." Semitransgenictalk. 23:26, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
prompted by Jerome's comments I just noticed that there is a wp:undue issue with the lead of the pop music article, the entire thing is attributable to information from, written by internet journalist Bill Lamb. How notable is the author that the entire lead is attributed to his view? Why are we depending on a general knowledge website (a tertiary source) for this when better secondary sources exist. Irrespective of that why are no other views offered in the lead? Semitransgenic talk. 09:16, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
The need to improve that article - which I fully accept - is not relevant to a discussion of whether it should be merged. Raise it on that article's talk page rather than here, or start improving the article yourself! Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:55, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Since the issue of sources in the pop music article indicating that it is a genre within popular music has been raised here are a few:
Simon Frith, probably the most notable sociologist writing on modern pop music, in his chapter in Frith, Straw and Street, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock(CUP, 2001), pp. 95-5, points out that definition of pop music as all forms of popular music is highly problematic, since it disregards the sociological difference between pop "as instant singles-based music aimed at teenagers" and rock "album -based music for adults". He also points out that rock is not the only form of popular music that distinguishes itself from pop, as, for example country music has also done so.
Timothy Warner in Pop Music: Technology and Creativity: Trevor Horn and the Digital Revolution (Ashgate, 2003), p. 3, states that "In the last 40 years "the phrase" pop music has come to refer to a particular branch of popular music".
Phil Hardy and Dave Laing in "The Faber Companion to 20th-Century Popular Music" (Faber, 1990), p. 368, define pop music as "a broad term used for the softer, even more teenage-orientated sound that emerged as Rock 'n' Roll waned in the early 1960s. It is often contrasted with the the tougher or more serious minded Rock".
The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians indicates that pop music is "a term that from the late 1950s has been applied to the central and most widely circulated kinds of popular music".
David Hatch and Stephen Millward, in From Blues to Rock: an Analytical History of Pop Music (Manchester University Press, 1989), p. 15., who take a broader definition of pop music, still define it in opposition to art music, jazz, "popular musics" and folk music.
Peter Gammond in The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 457, notes that "The abbreviation pop was not in use as a generic term until the 1950s, when it was adopted as the umbrella name for a special kind of musical product aimed at a teenage market".
I should also note that almost every author who writes about popular music in general and pop in particular, point to the problem with definitions. However, because something is difficult to define does not make it unworthy of an article. It is also clear in the literature that pop music cannot simply be defined in musicological, terms, but also has to be seen in a broader sociological, technological, cultural and economic contexts. I would submit that we do not have to be limited to the musicological aspects in definition. If those other context are used in the literature of definition (and the subject is notable) we can also employ those definitions.--SabreBD (talk) 16:30, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with your personal comments on this re:problem of definitions, but I don't see why this could not be addressed in a single article on pop/popular music, it would seem to make the case for a merge stronger, in terms of presenting a more informative encyclopaedic entry; one that alerts readers to this anomaly. Most of these sources are over 20 years old and fail to account for changes in the music market since EDM emerged as a commercial success. They also do not account for further changes that have taken place with advent of download sales, which is not to say they are not valid sources, just dated. The pop/rock duality that is rolled out here is far too simplistic an explanation, popular music diversity has grown almost exponentially since these older accounts were first published. Also, Frith's distinction between "instant singles-based music aimed at teenagers" and rock "album -based music for adults" seems somewhat distant in the age of digital sales, where people, irrespective of age, tend to choose amongst tracks, rather than albums. Semitransgenic talk. 17:06, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it is because I am getting old, but I do not tend to think of a source produced in 1991 on a topic that goes back at least to the 1950s as irrelevant and I think there is a danger of Wikipedia:Recentism here. I am also really puzzled as to what you are planning to do with this article. It doesn't really sound like a merge anymore. More like the creation of a new article.--SabreBD (talk) 19:12, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to advances in computing technology, there have been a number of monumental changes in popular music production and distribution since 1991 (21 years ago!), such that definitions regarding what's what should be examined more carefully. I'm simply suggesting an article, following a merge, that offers popular music as the overarching topic, withpop music as a main section. I'm also speculating, following the discussion above, that we could perhaps introduce a sub-section that touches on some of the issues raised here regarding the problem of defining what pop/popular music is/isn't. Semitransgenic talk. 20:18, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
"changes in the music market since EDM emerged as a commercial success" - and just how is the rise of yet another strand of popular music that's not classified as pop (aside from specific fusion subgenres) supporting your case, exactly? If anything, the changes in popular music's landscape since the early '90s made the distinction between pop and popular more important and necessary than ever before, as the claim about popular (adjective) music having pop characteristics can't be made anymore. Squeal (talk) 12:48, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I believe this proposal stems from the misunderstanding of the term popular music as something as narrow as "music from the record charts", or simply a literal meaning of the phrase ("music that's popular"). The article itself isn't helping, admittedly, and needs a proper expansion and rewrite to make such misunderstanding impossible in the future. The entire section about song structure, for example, would probably fit better in the pop music article (where it resided originally (or at least at some point of time), if I'm not mistaken), as it's largely irrelevant to a majority of what popular music comprises (e.g. jazz or modern dance music, to name just two obvious examples).Squeal (talk) 12:48, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - "Pop" is a genre, which features a unique production as well as specific instruments. "Popular music" is anything popular at a specific time. Right now Electronic dance music is the most popular form of music, that doesn't mean it's "pop". They are two VERY different things and deserve their own respective articles to show for it.--(CA)Giacobbe (talk) 19:19, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - This article is about the genre. Pop is a soulful rhythmic rock combined sound. Popular music is just a musical term about top charting music.MouthlessBobcat (talk) 10:29, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

In Classification as Culture: Types and Trajectories of Music Genres (Lena and Peterson 2008:697-718) we read: "

-- Semitransgenic talk. 10:45, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
What this quote is saying can be reduced to "if we define the term pop music as music found in Billboard magazine's Hot 100 Singles chart, it is not a genre". That's probably true, but it's irrelevant to the discussion about the actual subject of the pop music article. The only thing it may demonstrate is that some people define pop differently, but that information is nothing new, and is in fact already present in the very first paragraph of said article. Squeal (talk) 14:09, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose: No offense, but the person proposing the merge is mistaken in assuming that both terms "popular music" and "pop music" are the same. They are not. In traditional musicology, the term popular music is a musical category (not a style) and is used as a contrasting term to art music and folk music- no matter how debatable such a trichotomy (popular, art, folk) may be, it is a commonly admited scholar terminology that has nothing to do with a specific style of music. Popular music is an umbrella term encompassing different styles of music including rock, soul, jazz, metal, pop, rap, and so on. Yes, it includes pop music, but it doesn't follow that is a synonymous to pop music. Seriously, do you really think that scholar publications such as the Cambridge journal of Popular Music, the Journal of Popular Music Studies or the Oxford Companion to Popular Music (and many other) only deal with pop music? No, they don't: they cover a lot different styles that have nothing to do with pop music.Alpha Ursae Minoris (talk) 18:06, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
@Alpha Ursae Minoris perfectly aware of the contents of said journals. The same criteria you offer here in defining "popular music" is applied to "pop music" by many sources: i.e. an umbrella term that includes a range of styles, the commonality being a highly commercial aspect. Saying pop music is a genre of music is akin to describing "chart music" as a single musical genre. Clearly there is no consensus here for a merge, but the arguments are outdated from what can see.-- Semitransgenic talk. 20:39, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
What you're saying is, basically, that pop music doesn't exist because some people use the term "pop music" to describe something else entirely. That's a fallacy. And if you think that music defined by its commonality should be described along with popular music, the article you should have nominated for a merge is most probably hit single.Squeal (talk) 14:09, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
nope, "pop music" and "popular music" are both categories. "Pop music" is not a genre of music and the musicological use of the phrase "popular music" has changed over time, the distinctions that once applied (at a time when the term had a clear definition) are now redundant, "pop music" and "popular" music refer to exactly the same thing. This perspective can be supported by more recent (within the last decade or so) scholarship on the matter. At the very least one or other, if not both, of the articles should feature some discussion of this. -- Semitransgenic talk. 16:59, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
What do you think about the following results from Google search?
"pop music is a genre of music": 2,750,000 results.
"pop music is not a genre of music": 2 results.
'"pop is an actual genre of music": 405 result.
'"pop is not an actual genre of music": 2 results.
Shawnc (talk) 20:13, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

@Shawnc I think you need to refine your understanding of Google search results because that is not actually 2,750,000 results for the exact phrase. In general I think this demonstrates very little because we don't base our articles on random content siphoned from google searches and it also most certainly does not establish what the current academic consensus on the matter is. But for interest's sake let's do a more focused search across sources that would wield usable content using the search terms you provide:

Statement Google Scholar Google Books JSTOR Journal of Popular Music Studies Popular Music and Society Popular Music
"pop music is a genre of music" 0 1 (Chemistry Daily) 0 0 0 0
"pop music is not a genre of music" 0 1 (a random comment) 0 0 0 0
"pop is an actual genre of music" 0 1 (Yahoo Answers) 0 0 0 0
"pop is not an actual genre of music" 0 1 (blog comment) 0 0 0 0

The real issue here, as mentioned by Sabredb above, is one of "recentism", most of the scholarship that addresses the point is relatively new (the matter is covered in detail by Chris Rojek (2011) in "Pop Music Pop Culture") so I would concede that it is premature at this stage to merge the articles. Semitransgenic talk. 23:26, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, I verified that the Google search for "Pop music is not a genre of music" returned 3 links for the exact phrase at the moment, and it returned several pages of results for the exact phrase "Pop music is a genre of music". This is not academic, but it illustrates the idea that many people consider pop to be a genre of music. I find Google results to be meaningful as a quick check for how commonly used a sentence is: whenever I compare two similar phrases, one with good grammar and the other with bad grammar, the former will return more results. Musical genres (and Wikipedia articles) are socially constructed to mean whatever people think they mean anyway. I agree that it would be less confusing if pop meant only "popular", but the way things are, people can say "I like rock, not pop", and people generally know what they mean even though rock music is a part of popular music. Shawnc (talk) 06:45, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
yes, it is true that "many people consider pop to be a genre of music," but the matter of why that might be the case, and why, up until recently, many academics have chosen to view the topics "popular music" and "pop music" as separate entities, is what I'm interested in addressing here. For example Rojek states:
Semitransgenic talk. 10:51, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
If we're quoting Rojek, let's quote this:
And I could go on, but this should be enough. He may share your opinion on the subject, but as far as facts go, he's acknowledging that his opinion is a dissenting one among musicologists, confirms the definition pop music article currently contains and specifically disconfirms the straw you were grasping on (that musicologists somehow moved away from the specific genre definition of pop in recent years).
And by the way, I personally think his arguments (like the one you quoted) are faulty and unconvincing (and probably fallacious, given how he mostly concentrates on the commercialism part of the definition while ignoring the aspects of music itself that make people recognize a piece of music as pop), but that's, well, just my opinion, wikipedia is not a place to argue them. That said, his argumentation is on-topic and he's most probably a notable enough author to quote as a critic of the classification, so feel free to do so in the pop music article if you wish. Squeal (talk) 08:40, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
shur whatever yur havin yurself, as I said: I accept that consensus for a merge does not exist, and that this is case of recentism. Additionally, Rojek is not the only "dissenting" source we could draw upon. Traditional musicologists are just that, "traditionalists", and scholars that take a broader view (one that acknowledges the impact of societal and technological changes on music production and genre assignment) are dealing with a stubbornness that relates directly to "defending academic boundaries." The current delimitation will eventually fade (as academia catches up with changes that have taken place in the real world). Semitransgenic talk. 15:37, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - per Semitransgenic's points and relevant points from this, this, and this discussion. "Pop music" is "popular music". Genres/styles that became popular, i.e., received mainstream attention. "Pop music" itself is not defined by specific/typical instruments, particular rhythms, or anything else that normally defines or exemplifies specific music genres, It is an umbrella term, and should not and historically isn't considered a particular genre per se. The term encompasses a wide range of genres, therefore a wide range of styles (thus, wide range of instruments and manner in which instruments are used, rhythms, singing styles, technological approaches, and whatnot). It is nonsensical to have two separate articles on the same thing, or on two akin terms. (Like Semitransgenic said, "a combination of the two in a single entry would make for a more informative overview".) There should be a merge; "pop music" should redirect to a the page "Popular music, commonly known as pop music..." which may have a subsection, perhaps "pop music as a subcategory" to indicate or introduce any critical viewpoints that may classify it a particular category within popular music (similar to rock) as it might denote specific genres with the word 'pop', like synth pop, latin pop, etc). The article 'popular music' should of course initially reference it as contrasted from art/classical music and traditional/folk music, state what popular music is commonly defined as (the current statement is widely supported "belongs to any of a number of musical genres 'having wide appeal'..."), proceed to a notable overview (significantly supported in respective subsections) on the number of major genres that are categorized under popular music (noting perhaps, within their respective subsections, which are parent genres or which derive from parent genres [e.g.,., blues parent genre of rock); the most recognizable, or the most 'popular' genres should be given most attention with respect to writing space, supported by reliable sources. Within subsections, particularly a potential 'pop music as as subcategory' subsection (again, potentially indicating specific genres with the word 'pop', if it is supported by reliable sources), any contrasting viewpoints from reliable music writers on such genres should also be referenced. Pop music is a very vague term and used in various contexts and that should be reflected in the article, as opposed to providing one viewpoint, which would characterize the article as not adhering to WP:NPOV, giving undue weight or over-emphasizing. Again, any contrasting viewpoints should be referenced in the article, but they are not grounds for the existence of separate articles for popular music and pop music as is the case now. The articles' existence is currently largely rooted in original research and tendentious editing, and they are not informative and confuse readers. I suggest using the umbrella terms indie music and art music as a starting guide.--Lpdte77 (talk) 22:05, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Article needs significant revision. Much original research is present, as noted above^. There's much reliance on one source in parts, and notable information from cited sources is omitted in statements and synthesized ideas, e.g., cherry picking. It's lacking in neutrality overall and it's not a truly informational article as consequence. Furthermore, pop music, which too needs revisions, should be merged to this page. There's a glaring underlying reason both of these are significantly flawed in presenting concrete, consistent, widely-noted information that definitively supports a categorical dissociation. There is not a group of reliable sources that concretely agree on a definition, attribution, and dissection of the term as a particular music genre per se, beyond a 'in the 60s it was taboo to group pop and rock together since rock claimed authenticity and noncomerciality and deemed pop to lack it" statement. Like stated above, the best that can be done is in an organized fashion present all noted viewpoints (and not cherry pick one writer, or two different writers and synthesize an incomplete or not-wholly-stated notion from there) under one main article. This should be essentially approached like critical reception sections for an albums are.--Lpdte77 (talk) 14:10, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Massive ancient overlooked vandalism[edit]

A large chunk of the article was deleted back in 2008. (Some more potentially useful content was lost in 2010.) At least the important definition section was cited (unlike the business section). Part of this lost content appears to have been rebuilt (which would have been unnecessary if anyone had paid attention back then), but editors might wish to look over the deleted content to determine if they find anything useful that could be incorporated into the current article. Simply restoring all of it appears unwise to me, given how much the article has changed in the meanwhile. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:57, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Summary of proposed edit[edit]

Hello! I am a student at Drake University enrolled in a course that is striving toward taking out the systemic bias out of Wikipedia. My proposed edit is not extensive yet, but I am using my sources to explain the global side of popular music. It also explains how it is difficult to label something as popular music or not. I touched on the connection between world music and being labeled as an "exotic other." I chose a couple of genres of music that are popular in different countries to explain how something may be popular in one context, but not another. The edit also discusses how the digitization of music has impacted the popular music field by allowing artists to become famous through social media. I am still not totally confident with my edit because it is very short at this point and I am nervous that I am trying to discuss different genres too in depth. I am also nervous that I am trying to make an argument out of this article because I am discussing the different countries' popular music genres. Later this week or this weekend I will be linking my proposed edit to this talk page. Thank you! --HBov (talk) 00:01, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

You need to make sure that any changes you want to make to the article are backed up by reliable sources - not your own opinions, or the outcome of your own original research. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:45, 29 October 2015 (UTC)