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Pop music is a type of popular music that many people like to listen to. The term "pop music" can be used for all kinds of music that was written to be popular. The word "pop music" was used from about 1880 onwards, when a type of music called music was popular. Styles of pop music in the 2010s (today) include rock music, electronic dance music and hip hop. Pop music tends to change quite a lot so the description is quite flexible.
History[change | change source]
Modern pop music grew out of 1950s rock and roll, (for example Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard) and rockabilly (for example Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly). In the 1960s, The Beatles became a famous pop music group. In the 1970s, other styles of music were mixed with pop music, such as funk and soul music. Pop music generally has a heavy (strong) beat, so that it is good for dancing. Pop singers normally sing with microphones that are plugged into an amplifier and a loudspeaker.
How does the business of pop music work?[change | change source]
There are also many more people working on pop music who are not seen on the stage or in the video. These people include the studio staff (people who help the musicians to record CDs and music videos in music studios), production staff (people who help make the music recordings sound good), distribution staff (people who help sell the music to stores) and retail staff (people that sell the music to people at CD stores).
Tour staff help the band to travel around the country (or around the world) for their concert tours. Some tour staff help by carrying heavy musical instruments onto the stage. Other tour staff drive buses or cars, so that the band can get to the concert. Some tour staff operate sound equipment, such as the large amplifiers and loudspeakers that are used to amplify (make louder) the band's music for the audience.
Promotional staff help to market or promote the band's music, so that more people will know about the band, and buy the band's CDs. Some promotional staff travel to radio stations and give the band's CD to radio station managers or DJs (disk jockeys: the people who announce songs on the radio). Other promotional staff write press releases (short articles) about the band which are sent to the newspapers.
Types of music that became pop music[change | change source]
Pop music came from the Rock and Roll movement of the early 1950s, when record companies recorded songs that they thought that teenagers would like. Pop music usually uses musical from the other types of music that are popular at the time. Many different styles of music have become pop music during different time periods. Often, music companies create pop music styles by taking a style of music that only a small number of people were listening to, and then making that music more popular by marketing it to teenagers and young adults.
In the 1950s, recording companies took blues-influenced rock and roll (for example Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley) and rockabilly (for example Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly) and promoted them as pop music. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, record companies took folk music bands and musicians and helped them to create a new type of music called folk rock or acid rock. Folk rock and acid rock mixed folk music, blues and rock and roll (for example The Byrds and Janis Joplin). In the 1970s, record companies created several harder, louder type of blues called blues rock or heavy metal, which became a type of pop music (for example the bands Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a type of nightclub dance music called Disco turned into a popular type of pop music. Record companies took an experimental, strange-sounding type of music called New Wave music from the 1980s and turned it into pop music bands such as The Cars. In the 1990s record companies took an underground type of hard rock called Grunge (for example the band Nirvana). Michael Jackson was also a very influential artist for pop music. His album, Thriller, is the best-selling album of all time. He also wrote some other very influential songs, such as "Bad", "Give In to Me", "Will You Be There", "Heal the World", "We Are the World", "Black or White", and "Billie Jean", just to name a few. By the 21st century (after the demise of disco in the 1980s) Contemporary R&B became pop music. Examples of Contemporary R&B artists that have a wide pop appeal are Usher, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Chris Brown and more.