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 purchase songs for themselves has given students an unprecedented influence over the overall entertainment industry.
With this ever-increasing access to songs and albums, it begs the question of what teenagers are actually listening to. Especially given that the youth are notorious for picking up on new trends and taking them into the mainstream. The genres of music that become popular among the younger demographic end up being among the most popular music in the overall industry.
Music plays an important role in the lives of teenagers, offering a wide variety of benefits to young people’s lives. Not only is listening to music enjoyable and one of the youth’s favorite pastimes, but it also offers benefits when it comes to education. Education expert Nora Stoffer, a writer at Papersowl.com, says, “Listening to songs while studying can greatly improve the flow of a student’s work. What’s more, music offers youths a sense of belonging and community that is particularly important for holistic education”. With all these benefits in mind, here’s a guide to the most popular music genres among teenagers and the youth in the United States today.
Since the emergence of the teenage and youth demographic, pop has dominated the youth demographic’s taste in music. While pop itself is technically not a genre, it has come to represent a mixture of upbeat dance songs, singer-songwriting, and catchy lyrics to form a style that is particularly appealing to the youth. Pop takes influence from many other genres, such as EDM, R&B, and rock, hence its mass appeal. Nationwide surveys show that pop music proves to be the most popular genre of songs among the student demographic aged 16-24. Artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran currently dominate the music industry as the biggest pop icons currently performing and make up the favorite artists of many youths. As the face of pop music changes with whatever enters the mainstream, the genre is always changing. However, one thing is for sure, and that’s that pop music is a natural choice among the favorite music genres for young people.
Hip hop first emerged in the 1970s as a favorite genre by and for the youth. Its popularity with the young demographic has only grown in the decades since. Despite coming from neighborhoods of New York, hip hop has gone on to become one of the most popular genres of music in the world, having become a truly global style in music. Since its emergence, the style has undergone many changes in both its sound and the way it services its listeners but remains a favorite music genre. Hip hop can vary from smooth, easy listening to more serious and intense and packed with social commentary. This entire spectrum of hip hop has an appeal to students, as they enjoy using hip hop both to relax and as a means of self-expression and catharsis.
Rock music is often associated with young people and will always be a preferred music genre among students. This musical genre first emerged during 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 came to be recognized as rock and roll and was pioneered in the mainstream by artists such as Elvis Presley, quickly becoming one of the favorite music genres among teenagers.
Rock is another genre of the industry that has undergone many changes since its first emergence; the spectrum of the true rock sound is truly impressively broad. 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 musical instruments used – electric guitar, rhythmic bass lines, and virtuoso drumming 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.
Particularly in the United States, country is a genre of performance that is currently proving to be particularly popular among the youth. Country songs are perhaps the first uniquely American genre of music to truly have gained a notable level of popularity. In fact, many musicians who began their careers as country artists have gained such mass 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 highly relatable themes, such as love, friendship, and a passion for nature, and so prove particularly popular among students.
Jazz has a reputation for being one of the more complex genres of the industry, alongside classical music, but still remains highly popular among young people. A genre that combines a deep understanding of musical theory with highly virtuoso playing ability, this is a genre of artistic performance that operates not only on an aesthetic basis but also as a highly cerebral one. Many students like to listen to this genre as they study, and attending jams is a common pastime in many schools and college campuses – and it continues to grow as a favorite music genre.
These are just five of the most popular genres that students currently listen to. What is popular among students is always changing, and they often lie at the forefront of defining what becomes mainstream for the rest of society. Keeping an eye on the pulse of youth music is the most sure-fire way to guarantee you’re ahead of the curve with the latest musical trends.