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The key music trends of the past decade

Music: 2010 to 2019

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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The key music trends of the past decade

The key music trends of the past decade

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20191211-the-key-music-trends-of-the-past-decade

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Music: 2010 to 2019

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.

African Tunes

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.

K-Pop

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.

Latin Love

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.

Electronic Dance Music

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.

Country-Made Tunes

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 Gives Way To Hip-Hop

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 Long Goodbye

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.

The Infinite Mix Decade

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

K-Pop

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 ...

Origins

The Original K-Pop Stars, The Kim Sisters, were a hit in the U.S. back in 1959.

In the mid-90s, Seo Taiji & Boys became the first ‘modern K-Pop’ stars. K-Dramas or Korean soaps also started gaining traction in Asia and beyond. The South Korean government started exporting popular media culture as an economic initiative, making it a major source of foreign revenue.

EXO BTS and Psy
  • K-pop has slowly taken over the globe with slick production, military-level discipline and years of training for the promoted pop stars. Boy bands like EXO, which debuted in 2011, were dizzyingly successful due to state-level backing and control.

  • Psy’s record ‘Gangnam Style’ became an international craze, garnering 3.5 billion Youtube views and praise from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

  • Boy-band BTS became best-selling artists worldwide, earning USD 4.65 billion in 2019 for their country.

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Rock & Roll
Rock & Roll

Growing up in the 50's was a blessing due to a strange beast called Rock & Roll, the sound of which was a siren call to many, and the negative reaction given by the parents was like a certi...

A Different Tune

Rockers like Chuck Berry and Bill Haley, who idolized the legend Louis Jordan, strangely enough, sounded nothing like him. The new rockers, influenced by the previous generation of music, looked and sounded completely original and breathtaking.

Bill Haley and The Comets were a runaway success in 1955, having an R&B style yet a unique sound of their own.

The Riffs of The Generation

... were recorded by producer Sam Phillips of Sun Label including Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis among other stalwarts.

The tunes were mostly rebellious, catering to the teen crowd, and the ‘Marginal Americans’, those living in the ghettos or doing lowly jobs. This segment helped rock & roll explode in the mid-Fifties, making it a social and generational disruption of the highest degree.

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Drake's Rebuilding Of Rap
Drake's Rebuilding Of Rap

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 200...

Changing The Music World

Melodic rapping had been experimented by Kanye West and Lil Wayne before Drake, but the graceful, natural blending of rap+singing along with syrupy hooks was effortless and yet powerful when rendered by Drake. His song ‘Hotline Bling’ had no rapping whatsoever, and yet won the ‘Best Rap Song’ Grammy.

Rap stopped sounding like rap when other artists like Gunna, Travis Scott and many more followed suit. Drake also had conflicts with the orthodox rappers which didn’t like his style and accused him of plagiarism.

Global Music Star

Drake's insistence on collaborating with promising young rappers acted as a shield, supporting and distracting them at the same time.

It is almost surreal how casually and effectively he rebuilt hip-hop, gaining global popularity due to the right timing, as his rise coincided with the streaming era.

Music Festivals
Music Festivals

In the last 10 odd years, music festivals have grown into a massive juggernaut. There are big-ticket events with matching prices and an endless stream of world-class performers.

Origins:

...
Experiential Economy

People, especially those who are tired of accumulating stuff, are now more likely to spend money on experiences. Music festivals provide such an experience, making big brands lineup for the same.

Millennials, who make up about 15 million of the attendees per year, find spending on experiences(like travel) a better deal than buying stuff.

The Real Experience

Streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify have changed how music is consumed, with sales of physical media now a thing of the past. Live music is the only form of ‘real’ experience, and fans love to spend to experience their favourite artists in the flesh.

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The Birth Of Rap
  • Rap is one of the most popular genres in the U.S., with many subgenres like rap metal, rapcore, and mumble rap.
  • Rapping is a delivery style that has rhyme and rhythm, along with spoken...
The Loop

Modern Rap came from the place Hip-Hop originated: The Bronx.

DJ Kool Herc, a New York DJ kicked off this genre in his back-to-school parties in the 1970s. He used the repetitive beat samples to form a loop, combined with percussive elements from disco, soul, and funk. The place is a tourist attraction even now at 1520, Sedgwick Avenue.

Road To Mainstream
  • Artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and Kurtis Blow were the DJs that flourished in the 70s and were signed by mainstream record labels.
  • DJ Grand Wizard Theodore accidentally popularized the ‘record scratching’ and needle drop effect of DJing. The 80s saw raps creativity soar with duets and records that challenged mainstream music.

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K-Pop Magic

K-Pop, or Korean pop music, became a rage across the world in the last few decades. It is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

It started when in 1992, a band Seo Taeji & Boys created h...

Breakthrough Years

In the late 90s, K-Pop started getting international fame when artists like Clone made it to China and other Asian countries. Then in 2002, during the soccer World Cup, BoA topped the charts in Japan.

In 2008, K-Pop made strides across the western world with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, making itself available on international platforms.

Gangnam Style

The perfect storm happened in 2012, when a Korean record by Psy, became an international Youtube phenomenon with over 1 billion views at that time(now 3.5 billion views).

K-pop wasn’t just a flash in the pan, and the Korean music producers knew how to package catchy music, doll-face models as stars, colourful backgrounds and great dance moves

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Sesame Street
Sesame Street

Before Sesame Street, music wasn't even considered as a means to teach children. But Sesame Street changed that and proved that kids are very receptive to a grammar lesson contained in a song.

Musical stars

Big-name stars lined up to make guest appearances. Stevie Wonder and Grover; Loretta Lynn and the Count; Smokey Robinson and a marauding letter U. "Sesame Street" also showcased Afro-Caribbean rhythms, operatic powerhouses, Latin beats, Broadway showstoppers, and bebop.

Now, after 4,526 episodes, the legacy is evident: It impacted the music world as much as it shaped TV history, inspiring fans and generations of artists.

The goal

The aim of "Sesame Street" was to build school preparedness and narrow the educational gap between lower- and upper-income children.

They used pedagogy advice from a Harvard professor. Research also showed children were more receptive when they watched with caregivers, so celebrities were introduced.

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The invention of headphones
The invention of headphones

In 1910, Nathaniel Baldwin invented headphones. A prototype was sent to Lt. Comdr. A. J. Hepburn of the U.S. Navy. Hepburn tested the device and found it worked unexpectedly well to transmi...

The history of headphones
  • Until the 1950s, people used headphones almost exclusively for radio communication.
  • In 1958, John C. Koss introduced the Koss SP3 Steroephones along with a portable phonograph to patients in Milwaukee hospitals that proved revolutionary because their sound quality made them optimal for listening to music.
  • 1979: The Sony "Walkman" created a need for a portable headphone and a lightweight set of MDR-3L2 headphones was included with the portable cassette player.
  • In 1978, Dr. Amar Bose, while on a flight, tried an early set of electronic headphones used for passenger entertainment. But the cabin noise made it impossible to hear anything. He returned to Boston and investigated how ambient noise could be reduced with active noise cancellation.
  • In 1989, the Noise Reduction Technology Group introduced the first noise-reduction headset, designed for the aviation industry.
Portable headphones
  • Portable headphones became smaller and eventually lead to earbuds and in-earphones.
  • In 2001 Apple introduced the iPod, and later iPhone and iPad, comes with a set of white earbuds.
  • 2008. Hip hop artist and producer Dr. Dre and Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine launched Beats by Dr. Dre to help solidify headphones as a fashion statement.
  • 2011. Sennheiser, a German headphone company, released 300 sets of the Orpheus headphones and an audio show in South Korea. A set was priced at 30,000 Euros, or roughly $41,000.
  • 2012. The launch of the iPhone 5 started a new era of headphone design, the EarPod, designed to direct sound right into the ear.
Western pop music

A research team looked at more than 17,000 songs from the US Billboard Hot 100 and found three music revolutions - in 1964, 1983, and 1991.

The researchers looked at the di...

Stylistic revolutions
  • In the 1960s, the radical new rocky sound emerged from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones.
  • The minor seventh chords were introduced through funk, soul, and disco in the 1970s.
  • In the 1980s, there was a blip where the introduction of arena rock meant that music lacked diversity.
  • New technology, synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines marked the second major style shift in 1983.
  • In 1991, rap and hip-hop went mainstream. This revolution doesn't use a lot of harmonies. Emphasis is on speech sounds and rhythm.
The music you should listen to for improved productivity
The music you should listen to for improved productivity

....depends on a few factors:

  • How many lyrics the song has.
  • How familiar you are with the song.
  • How repetitive the task
Music between tasks could boost productivity

Although there may be detrimental effects of listening to music while working, listening to music in between tasks can boost your mental performance and the ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time.

Music familiarity is best for focus

Certain regions in our brain—which evoke strong emotions and improve concentration—are more active when we listen to familiar rather than unfamiliar music.

Plus, when we listen to unfamiliar music we’re more likely to lose focus, while adjusting to the new sound.

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