Pop music may include elements of rock, hip hop, reggae, dance, R&B, jazz, electronic, and sometimes folk music and various other styles. Pop music performers typically make use of state-of-the-art technology and recording studios to achieve the sound they want, and record producers may have a heavy influence. Pop music generally uses a simple, memorable melody and emphasizes the rhythm, often with syncopation, and stripped down to a basic riff or loop which repeats throughout much of the song. Pop music is often criticized for being overly simple and repetitive.
Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media. Popular music is music that is not something else (usually ‘folk’ or ‘art’ music). Popular music is associated with (produced for or by) a particular social group. Popular music is disseminated by mass media and/or in a mass market. Popular music is also rarely entirely instrumental. Popular music is not really about ‘being heard’, but rather about ‘being heard again’; and ‘being heard again and again and again’ is what really popular music is really about. Pop is contemporary music and a common type of popular music (distinguished from classical or art music and from folk music).
The term popular music does not refer specifically to a single genre or sound, and its meaning is different depending on the time and place. Within popular music, “pop music” is often distinguished from other subgenres by stylistic traits such as a danceable rhythm or beat, simple melodies and a repeating structure. The broad appeal of pop music is seen to distinguish it from more specific types of popular music, and pop music performers and recordings are among the best-selling and most widely known in many regions of the world. The development of recording methods is seen as a major influence on the sound of pop, distinguishing it from classical music and jazz, as well as from some types of popular music which may seek a more “natural” sound.
In the recorded music era, the single (a single song) and the album (a collection of songs) are the usual methods of distributing pop music. Notable highlights for pop music in the 1980s are Michael Jackson’s second Epic label release, Thriller, which went on to become the best-selling album of all time. Jackson was the most successful artist of the 80s, spanning nine #1 singles in the United States alone during that decade, and selling over 133 million copies with only two albums — Thriller, and its follow-up Bad.
Pop music in the 1980s was heavily influenced by an electronic sound with synthesizers and drum machines, and dance type music. Pop music, on the other hand, has primarily come into usage to describe music that evolved out of the rock ‘n roll revolution of the mid-1950’s and continues in a definable path to today. Pop music can range from the highly creative, iconoclastic or virtuosic to simple and downright dumb.