As 2020 settles, we look at the eclectic, vibrant music trends in the last decade, when the music turned truly global, glossy and digital, and when the iPod generation turned to stream endless playlists on their smartphones.
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Country music resurfaced in a new avatar, with new-gen stars like Kacy Musgraves, The Shires, and Ward Thomas winning hearts of millennials across Europe and the U.S.
The new-age country music got remixed with rap while old country stars like Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart fame) collaborating with newer, younger stars to create some fusion tunes.
Rock and Alternative Rock, music’s mainstream staple in the 90s, slowly started to pave the way to Hip-Hop after 2010, with emerging stars crisscrossing continents to appear in awards and festivals. The appeal of Hip-Hop is only growing for the past decade.
The Reggaeton song Despacito, and Digital Platforms like Pandora and Spotify sparked a modern surge of Latin Pop. YouTube played a big role here, with songs from Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi garnering billions of hits.
The easy-to-deliver digital formats were a boon to Latin music as the logistical issues of physical formats (like CDs) were a cause of low reach. Spanglish singles took over the world by Beyonce, Drake, Bey, and Pharrell.
Korean Pop kicked off a global fan frenzy in the 2010s. The 2012 megahit ‘Gangnam Style’ kickstarting the rage.
This pop-culture milestone was followed by a string of slick K-Pop hits with glossy and doll-like stars whose dance moves and catchy music gives stiff competition to the ‘mainstream’ music scene in the west.
As the music got self-aware and easily accessible, with the vast digital ecosystem spawning endless hits, playlists, alternate versions and fusions, the past decade has been the most hearteningly diverse representation of mainstream music from all across the world.
Stadium sized dance concerts became a global rage ith the new genre called EDM (Electronic Dance Music).
The universal appeal and lack of lyrics of instrumental dance music removed any friction and the music went global quickly, with breakthrough DJ stars like Marshmello, Calvin Harris and Paul Oakenfold enjoying massive fan following.
The 2010s was the decade African stars got globally recognized, and ‘Afrobeats’ went mainstream, with artists like Davido, Wizkid, Mr Eazi, and Burna Boy.
American pop icons like Kanye West and Beyonce took inspiration from African talents, with many collaborations and fusion albums.
Music has felt increasingly self-aware in recent years, sometimes in response to painful losses.
In recent times, there have been untimely deaths of many musical rock stars like Avicii, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Chester Bennington (Linkin’ Park), Keith Flint (The Prodigy) as well as many K-Pop stars.
Drake, the rapper-singer, single-handed changed the rules of what it meant to be a rapper.
Before Drake, rapping was about narrative and singing about pathos, joy, or sensuality. In 2009, Drake exploded that notion, blending rap and singing into a fluid, hip-hop tone, making his pleasant and creative sound the norm in global pop.
Music has thousands of genres, styles and sub-genres. Not all of them are commercially viable. There are certain genres that are favoured by the music industry and market:
It’s hard not to like K-Pop(Pop music from South Korea), with its infectious tunes, doll-like stars, high-production values and great dance moves. In the last few decades, South Korean culture has stormed across the world. This ‘Hallyu’, or the ‘Korean Culture Wave’ is not an accident, but a deliberate promotion by those in power.
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