Origins of the Pop Genre
The term "pop song" is first recorded as being used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of
music "having popular appeal‖.
According to Grove Music Online, the term "pop music" "originated in Britain in the mid-
1950s as a description for rock and roll and the new youth music styles that it influenced‖
Pop music is generally thought of as a genre which is commercially recorded and desires
to have a mass audience appeal
Whereas rock aspired to authenticity and an expansion of the possibilities of popular
music, pop was more commercial and accessible.
Pop music is produced "as a matter of enterprise not art‖ and is "designed to appeal to
It is "not driven by any significant ambition except profit and commercial reward
Pop is not a do-it-yourself music but is professionally produced and packaged".
Pop Music Early History
The most significant feature of the emergent popular music
industry of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the extent
of its focus on the commodity form of sheet music. The
availability of inexpensive, widely-available sheet music
versions of popular songs and instrumental music pieces made
it possible for music to be disseminated to a wide audience of
amateur music-makers, who could play and sing popular music
In addition to the influence of sheet music, another factor was
the increasing availability during the late 18th and early 19th
century of public popular music performances in pleasure
gardens and dance halls, popular theatres and concert rooms.
Influences and Development
Early pop music drew on the sentimental ballad for its form
Gained its use of vocal harmonies from gospel
Another technological change was the widespread availability of television
in the 1950s; with televised performances, "pop stars had to have a visual
In the 1960s, the introduction of inexpensive, portable transistor radios
meant that teenagers could listen to music outside of the home.
By the early 1980s, the promotion of pop music had been greatly affected
by the rise of Music Television channels like MTV, which favoured those
artists such as Michael Jackson and Madonna who had a strong visual
Characteristics of Pop Music
An aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a
particular sub-culture or ideology
An emphasis on craftsmanship rather than formal "artistic"
An emphasis on recording, production, and technology, over live
A tendency to reflect existing trends rather than progressive
Much pop music is intended to encourage dancing, or it uses
dance-oriented beats or rhythms
The lyrics of modern pop songs typically focus on simple themes –
often love and romantic relationships
Core Elements of Pop Music
Generally short-to-medium length songs
Written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure),
Employment of repeated choruses
Usually really good looking beautiful people
Pop Music 90’s and
In the 1990s, the consolidation trend took a new turn: inter-
media consolidation. This trend saw music recording
companies being consolidated with film, television, magazines,
and other media companies, an approach which facilitated
cross-marketing promotion between subsidiaries. For example,
a record company's singing star could be cross-promoted by
the firm's television and magazine arms.
By the 2000s, another trend which affected popular music was
the increasing availability and use of computers and Internet
connections, which facilitated the dissemination—both legal
and illegal—of digital recordings and digital versions of sheet
music and lyrics.
Pop Music Facts
A "chilling fact" about the '90s: In any given week of the
decade, there was a 10 percent chance the No.1 song was by
Boyz II Men, Add Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Bryan
-Adams, and chances hit 24 percent. Americans spent a
quarter of a decade listening to this sort of thing: big, lavish
ballads, built to charm middle-aged and middle-school listeners
In this past decade, though, a quarter of the hits came from the
combined works of Usher, Beyoncé, the Black Eyed Peas, and
Nelly. Their hits were pointed at a very different kind of public
environment: They were club songs.
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960 and
one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in
the history of popular music.
Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many
genres ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating
classical and other elements in innovative ways.
Their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania"; as their
songwriting grew in sophistication, by the late 1960s they came to be
perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the
ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions.
―Money Can’t Buy You Love‖:
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American
singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known
by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "the
―Blue Suede Shoes‖: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1Ond-
Artist Spotlight: ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop/rock group formed in Stockholm in
They became one of the most commercially successful acts in
the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from
1972 to 1982.
Artist Spotlight: Madonna
Madonna is an American singer, songwriter, actress and
entrepreneur. She has sold more than 300 million records
worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female
recording artist of all time.
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist,
entertainer, and businessman. Often referred to as the King of
Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most
successful entertainer of all time.
Artist Spotlight: Justin Bieber
Justin Drew Bieber. is a Canadian pop/R&B singer-
songwriter, musician, and actor.
He became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut
album chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rebecca Renee Black is an American pop singer and dancer
who gained extensive media attention with the 2011 single
"Friday". Her mother paid $4,000 to have the single and an
accompanying music video put out.
After the video went viral on YouTube and other social media
sites, "Friday" was derided by many music critics and viewers,
who dubbed it "the worst song ever.‖
The music video received around 167 million views, causing
Black to gain international attention as a "viral star‖.
One Direction are a British-Irish boy band
They signed to Simon Cowell's record label Syco Records after
being formed and placing third in the seventh series of The X
On 21 March 2012, Up All Night debuted at number one on the
U.S. Billboard 200, making One Direction the first UK group in
history to debut at number one with their first album.
―What Makes You Beautiful‖:
Britpop is a subgenre of alternative rock that originated in the
United Kingdom and was characterised by bands influenced by
British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s.
The movement developed as a reaction against various
musical and cultural trends in the late 1980s and early 1990s,
particularly the grunge phenomenon from the United States.
Britpop groups brought British alternative rock into the
mainstream and formed the backbone of a larger British
cultural movement called Cool Britannia.
Artist Spotlight: Blur
Blur are an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in
The band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved
mass popularity in the UK, aided by a famous chart battle with
rival band Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop".
―Coffee and TV: ‖:
Artist Spotlight: Oasis
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in
Olivia Newtown John
Olivia Newton-John is an Australian singer and actress. She is
a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five No. 1
and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles
Her music has been successful in multiple formats including
pop, country and adult contemporary and has sold an
estimated over 100 million albums worldwide.
Australian Pop Artist Spotlight: Men
Men at Work are an Australian rock band who achieved
international success in the 1980s. They are the only Australian
artist to have a simultaneous #1 album and #1 single in the
―Down Under‖: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeG-
The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop music group
which was originally formed in 1962. They were the first
Australian popular music group to achieve major chart and
sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States.
―The Carnival is Over‖:
Australian Pop Artist Spotlight:
Kylie Ann Minogue is an Australian singer, recording artist,
songwriter, showgirl, and actress. After beginning her career as
a child actress on Australian television, she achieved
recognition through her role in the television soap opera
Neighbours, before commencing her career as a recording
artist in 1987.
Australian Pop Artist Spotlight:
Savage Garden was an Australian pop rock performance and
songwriting duo. Darren Hayes (vocals) and Daniel Jones
(keyboards, sequencing, guitar) formed the group in Logan,
Queensland in 1994.
Their international success occurred between 1997 and 2001,
including the number one hit singles "I Want You", "To the Moon
and Back", "Truly Madly Deeply", "The Animal Song" and "I Knew I
Their two studio albums, Savage Garden and Affirmation reached
number one in Australia and peaked in the top ten in both United
Kingdom and United States.
―To The Moon and Back‖: