The millennial population (ages 21 to 38) is constantly listening to music through their headphones and attending live concerts. Music is very much a part of their lives and it follows them through every step of their day. Data has been collected about their preferred musical genre tastes through online surveys and computer algorithms. The algorithms track the popularity of genres on music listening platforms like Spotify and Pandora. Drawing from various resources of data, these are the top 5 most popular music genres among millennial’s.
Coming in at #1 is the rap genre. From recent millennial icons like Cardi B to old school rappers like Ice Cube, this rapid word rhyming art form has become a musical phenomenon. Rap songs top the charts more often than any other music style. Their catchy lyrics and repetitive beats easily stick in millennials’ minds. Plus, they make great songs for the club where bumping and grinding are popular dance styles.
“Pop” is short for popular and got it’s start in the UK and America in the 1950s with bands like The Beatles. Pop music still hasn’t lost it’s steam and remains a mainstream music genre. Selena Gomez, ZAYN, Rita Ora, and Bebe Rexha, are some of the superstars of pop among millennials. Pop is a hard genre to define because it encompasses a variety of music styles. From urban dance to rock pop and even Latin music influence, the pop genre is most often upbeat and easy to dance to.
3. Pop Rap:
Combining elements of rap and pop, it is pretty obvious how it got the name “pop rap.” Music artists like Rihanna, Drake, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West can be categorized as pop rap singers. Their singing styles and rhyming lyrics are heavily drawing from rap culture while the music itself usually contains pop melodies and has a general upbeat feeling. Pop rap first got it’s start in the 1990’s with artists like LL Cool J and Beastie Boys who were taking an underground genre of music at the time (rap) and merging it with pop music in order to gain popularity.
4. Hip Hop:
There have been many debates about the difference between hip hop and rap, but it’s clear there must be some distinction. Hip hop artist, KRS-One has especially strong feelings about the two genres claiming that, “rap is something that is done and hip hop is something that is lived.” The hip hop genre is more associated with bands who were popular in the 90s like A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr. However, these songs are still resonating with millennials today who not only listen to their music but hear it sampled in contemporary hip hop music.
Nostalgic for the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s, millennials still enjoy listening to rock n’ roll music. There are many different types of rock music–pop rock, blues rock, alternative rock, and punk rock just to name a few. Current trends in rock music incorporate digital electronic music. Bands like Passion Pit, Grouplove, and Deerhunter, all fall into this category of music that is popular with millennials.
Josh Gruss is the Chairman, CEO and founder of Round Hill Music.