What Are the Most Influential Music Genres of the Last Decade?

The influence of music genres has been significant in the last decade, shaping the cultural landscape and leaving a lasting impact on the industry. From the rise of indie music to the dominance of hip hop, this article explores the most influential music genres of the past ten years.

Key Takeaways:

  • Influential music movements have shaped the cultural landscape in the last decade.
  • Genres such as indie music, hip hop, and electronic dance music have had a significant impact on the industry.
  • The resurgence of traditional instruments in indie rock and singer-songwriter music added a folk-inspired sound to the decade.
  • Teen pop and the influence of Disney Channel stars made a notable comeback.
  • The rise of social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok has revolutionized the way music is shared and discovered.

The Rise of Whisperpop: A Subdued Style of Vocal Delivery

In the mid-2010s, a hushed style of vocal delivery known as “whisperpop” gained popularity in the music industry. This unique style, characterized by its subdued and intimate vocals, became a defining characteristic of indie music and crossed over into the mainstream.

Artists such as Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Birdy embraced this hushed vocal style, incorporating it into their music and captivating audiences with its raw emotion. Through whispered verses and delicate melodies, these pop artists created an intimate connection with their listeners, inviting them into a world of vulnerability and introspection.

“Whisperpop allows artists to express their deepest emotions in a more subtle and nuanced way. It’s like a secret shared between the artist and the listener,” explains music critic Emily Adams.

The rise of whisperpop coincided with the growing popularity of indie music, a genre known for its emphasis on authenticity and unconventional sounds. Indie musicians were drawn to the hushed vocal style as a way to convey vulnerability and create a sense of intimacy with their audience. The popularity of whisperpop further blurred the boundaries between indie and mainstream music, allowing artists to experiment with different genres and push the boundaries of conventional pop music.

The Influence of Whisperpop on Indie Music

Whisperpop’s influence on indie music cannot be overstated. It has become a defining characteristic of the genre, influencing a new generation of indie artists and shaping the sound of contemporary indie music. This hushed vocal style has redefined what it means to be an indie artist, emphasizing vulnerability and introspection over commercial success.

With its subdued and intimate vocals, whisperpop has created a space for indie musicians to explore their emotions and convey their deepest thoughts. It has allowed them to connect with their audience on a deeper level, creating a bond of understanding and empathy.

As indie music continues to evolve, the influence of whisperpop is likely to endure. Its subtle yet powerful impact on the genre serves as a testament to the transformative power of music, proving that sometimes, a whisper can be just as impactful as a shout.

The Revival of Traditional Instruments in Indie Rock and Singer-Songwriter Music

Indie rock and singer-songwriter music experienced a resurgence in the last decade, with a notable feature being the revival of traditional instruments. Artists embraced instruments such as the mandolin, dulcimer, ukulele, bongos, and accordion, adding a folk-inspired sound and a sense of authenticity to their music.

In the indie rock scene, bands like Mumford and Sons incorporated the banjo and acoustic guitar, creating a unique blend of folk and rock elements. Their chart-topping hits, such as “Little Lion Man” and “I Will Wait,” showcased the appeal of traditional instruments in a modern context.

Singer-songwriters like Vance Joy and The Lumineers also embraced traditional instruments, incorporating them into their introspective and heartfelt compositions. Vance Joy’s hit single “Riptide” features the ukulele, creating a light and catchy sound that resonated with audiences worldwide. The Lumineers’ use of the accordion in songs like “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia” added a distinctive touch to their folk-influenced sound.

Overall, the revival of traditional instruments in indie rock and singer-songwriter music added depth and character to the music, providing a refreshing departure from the heavily synthesized sounds that dominated the airwaves. Artists embraced these instruments as a way to connect with their roots and explore new sonic possibilities, resulting in a rich and diverse musical landscape.

The Success of Adult Contemporary Music on the Charts

When it comes to dominating the charts, adult contemporary music has had its fair share of success in the last decade. With its blend of pop sensibilities and soulful elements, this genre has produced chart-topping singles and popular artists that have captured the hearts of listeners around the world.

Pop acts like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Adele have all achieved number one singles in the adult contemporary genre. Their music incorporates elements of soul, pop rock, and folk, creating a sound that resonates with a wide audience.

But it’s not only the well-known names who have found success in this genre. Artists such as Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, and Christina Perri have also made waves with their heartfelt and emotive songs, proving that adult contemporary music has a place in the hearts of music lovers.

The Rise of Adult Contemporary Music

With its melodic hooks, relatable lyrics, and polished production, adult contemporary music has found a sweet spot in the music industry. It appeals to a wide range of listeners, from young adults to older generations, who appreciate its timeless sound and heartfelt themes.

The Influence on Pop Culture

The success of adult contemporary music has had a significant impact on pop culture. It has inspired other artists to explore this genre and incorporate its elements into their own music. Additionally, the emotional depth and relatable themes found in adult contemporary songs have resonated with listeners, making it a staple in many people’s playlists and everyday lives.

Chart-Topping Adult Contemporary Artists Notable Songs
Taylor Swift Love Story, You Belong with Me, Blank Space
Justin Bieber Love Yourself, Sorry, Intentions
Bruno Mars Just the Way You Are, Locked Out of Heaven, That’s What I Like
Adele Someone Like You, Rolling in the Deep, Hello
Sara Bareilles Love Song, Brave, Gravity
Jason Mraz I’m Yours, Lucky, I Won’t Give Up
Christina Perri A Thousand Years, Jar of Hearts, Human

The Dominance of Hip Hop as the Most Popular Genre in the US

Hip hop music has experienced explosive growth in the last decade, solidifying its position as the most popular genre in the United States. With its origins in African American and Latinx communities, hip hop has become a global phenomenon, influencing a wide range of artists across different musical styles. From rap music to the emergence of new sub-genres like trap and cloud rap, hip hop has continued to evolve and shape the contemporary music landscape.

The popularity of hip hop can be attributed to its raw and authentic expression of personal experiences, social issues, and cultural identity. Influential artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Future, and Cardi B have risen to prominence, captivating audiences with their unique styles and powerful lyrical content. These artists have transformed hip hop into a diverse and influential genre that resonates with listeners of all backgrounds.

In addition to the success of individual artists, rap producers have also gained prominence during this decade. Producers like Metro Boomin, Mike WiLL Made-It, and DJ Mustard have crafted iconic beats and contributed to the evolution of hip hop sound. Their contributions have helped shape the genre and elevate it to new heights of popularity.

The dominance of hip hop as the most popular genre in the US is a testament to its cultural impact and ability to connect with a wide audience. As hip hop continues to evolve and push boundaries, it will undoubtedly shape the future of music and inspire generations to come.

The Rise of Progressive and Experimental Rock

In the second half of the last decade, progressive and experimental rock gained significant traction in the music industry. Indie bands like Nothing More, Highly Suspect, and Marmozets pushed the boundaries of traditional rock by infusing their music with elements from various genres and experimenting with unique soundscapes. These bands embraced musical experimentation, incorporating complex instrumental arrangements, unconventional song structures, and thought-provoking lyrics into their work.

One notable characteristic of progressive and experimental rock is the emphasis on technical proficiency and innovation. Musicians in these bands often showcase their skills by incorporating intricate guitar solos, complex time signatures, and dynamic rhythm sections. This style of music appeals to listeners who appreciate intricate compositions and are willing to explore unconventional sounds and ideas.

Furthermore, the rise of progressive and experimental rock can be attributed to the DIY ethic that has become prevalent in the indie music scene. Bands like Bad Omens and Sylar have taken advantage of social media platforms and digital distribution channels to gain a following and connect with their audience. This newfound accessibility has allowed indie bands to reach a wider audience and break free from the constraints of traditional record labels.

Table: Comparison of Popular Progressive and Experimental Rock Bands

Band Genre Key Albums
Nothing More Progressive Rock, Experimental Rock, Alternative Metal The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Nothing More
Highly Suspect Rock, Experimental Rock, Alternative Rock Mister Asylum, The Boy Who Died Wolf
Marmozets Alternative Rock, Math Rock, Experimental Rock The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

As progressive and experimental rock continues to evolve, it is likely that more indie bands will emerge with innovative approaches to songwriting and music production. With the ongoing advancements in technology and the growing acceptance of unconventional musical styles, this genre is poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of rock music.

The Mainstreaming of EDM and the Influence of Dance-Pop

In the last decade, electronic dance music (EDM) experienced a significant surge in popularity, with artists like David Guetta, Skrillex, and Calvin Harris dominating the charts. EDM, characterized by its infectious beats and energetic sound, became a driving force in the music industry, captivating listeners across the globe.

One of the key influences on the rise of EDM was the fusion of dance-pop elements into the genre. Dance-pop, a subgenre that combines catchy pop melodies with electronic dance beats, played a vital role in shaping the mainstream success of EDM. Genres like future bass, trap, tropical house, and electro house emerged, incorporating dance-pop elements and drawing audiences to the dancefloor.

EDM Artists Genres
David Guetta Electro house
Skrillex Dubstep
Calvin Harris Progressive house

EDM’s mainstream success was driven by its infectious energy and its ability to make listeners feel alive on the dancefloor. The genre gained a massive following, with festivals and live events dedicated to EDM attracting thousands of fans. Its influence extended beyond the dancefloor, with EDM-inspired sounds finding their way into pop music, commercials, and even movie soundtracks.

The mainstreaming of EDM and the influence of dance-pop in the last decade created a vibrant and exciting scene for both artists and fans. With its infectious beats and high-energy performances, EDM continues to captivate listeners and shape the music landscape today.

The Success of Europop and Eurodance in Pop Music

Europop and Eurodance have achieved notable commercial success in pop music over the last decade. These genres, characterized by catchy melodies, energetic beats, and infectious hooks, have captivated audiences worldwide and dominated the charts. One of the key figures behind the success of Europop and Eurodance is Swedish producer Max Martin. His contributions to the genre have propelled numerous artists to pop stardom, creating chart-topping hits that have become staples of contemporary pop music.

Max Martin, known for his distinctive production style, has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Robyn. His collaborations have resulted in infectious pop anthems that have resonated with listeners and become global sensations. Songs like “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, “We Found Love” by Rihanna, and “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn showcase the influence of Europop and Eurodance on modern pop music.

Europop and Eurodance have brought a sense of fun and euphoria to pop music, with their infectious beats and catchy melodies. They have become a mainstay of the genre, creating timeless hits that continue to be loved by audiences of all ages.

The Influence of Europop and Eurodance on Pop Culture

The success of Europop and Eurodance goes beyond the charts. These genres have had a significant impact on pop culture, shaping fashion, dance trends, and even the live concert experience. The high-energy beats and uplifting melodies of Europop and Eurodance have become synonymous with club culture and have fueled dance floors around the world.

Furthermore, the popularity of Europop and Eurodance has opened doors for artists from Europe to gain international recognition. Artists like Ace of Base, Eiffel 65, and Vengaboys have achieved global success with their infectious pop hits. Their music has not only found its way onto radio stations and music charts but has also become a staple at parties and events, creating a sense of nostalgia and joy among listeners.

Europop and Eurodance Hits Artist Year
“The Sign” Ace of Base 1993
“Blue (Da Ba Dee)” Eiffel 65 1999
“Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” Vengaboys 1999

Europop and Eurodance continue to thrive in the pop music scene, with artists like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd drawing inspiration from these genres. As the music industry evolves, Europop and Eurodance remain a testament to the enduring appeal of catchy melodies and infectious beats. Their influence on pop music is undeniable, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to create music that makes audiences dance and sing along.

The Popularity of Teen Pop and the Influence of Disney Channel Stars

Teen pop music has experienced a resurgence in the last decade, captivating audiences with catchy hooks, energetic performances, and relatable lyrics. A significant factor in the success of teen pop has been the influence of Disney Channel stars, who have seamlessly transitioned from acting to music careers. Artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have dominated the charts, captivating a young and passionate fan base.

Disney Channel has long been a launching pad for young talent, with stars like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake rising to fame through the network in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the past decade, Disney Channel stars such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus have followed in their footsteps, leveraging their on-screen success to build thriving music careers. These artists have not only achieved commercial success but have also amassed loyal and dedicated fan bases.

Justin Bieber is a prime example of the influence of Disney Channel stars in the music industry. After being discovered on YouTube, Bieber gained widespread popularity through his partnership with the label Island Records and mentorship from Usher. His blend of pop and R&B, combined with his boy-next-door image, resonated with teenage audiences around the world. Bieber’s success opened doors for other Disney Channel stars to pursue music careers and achieve similar levels of fame.

Another Disney Channel alumna who has made a significant impact on the teen pop scene is Ariana Grande. Known for her impressive vocal range and soulful performances, Grande has become one of the biggest pop stars of her generation. With hit singles like “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings,” she has solidified her status as a powerhouse vocalist and trendsetter in the industry. Grande’s influence extends beyond her music, as she actively engages with her fan base on social media, further deepening the connection between artist and audience.

Influential Disney Channel Stars in Teen Pop:

Artist Notable Hits
Justin Bieber “Baby,” “Sorry,” “Love Yourself”
Ariana Grande “Thank U, Next,” “7 Rings,” “Positions”
Demi Lovato “Skyscraper,” “Sorry Not Sorry,” “Confident”
Selena Gomez “Come & Get It,” “Bad Liar,” “Lose You To Love Me”
Miley Cyrus “Party in the USA,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Midnight Sky”

The influence of Disney Channel stars on the teen pop genre cannot be overstated. Their transition from television to music has allowed them to maintain their connection with a young and impressionable audience, while also appealing to a broader demographic. The catchy and relatable nature of their music, combined with their ability to connect with fans through social media, has solidified their positions as influential figures in the music industry.

The Influence of Social Media on Music Movements

Social media platforms have revolutionized the music industry, becoming powerful tools for discovering, promoting, and sharing music. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and SoundCloud have provided artists with unprecedented opportunities to connect with a wider audience and gain recognition. These platforms have become breeding grounds for new music movements, allowing artists from diverse backgrounds to showcase their talent and find their own unique sound.

YouTube, in particular, has played a significant role in shaping music trends. It has given rise to countless independent artists who have gained massive followings and even secured record deals through their online presence. The platform allows artists to upload their music videos, live performances, and behind-the-scenes content, giving fans an intimate and interactive experience. It has democratized the music industry by providing a platform where anyone with a camera and talent can be discovered.

TikTok has emerged as a powerful force in the music industry, with its viral challenges and trends propelling songs to the top of the charts. The platform has allowed for the discovery of niche genres and subcultures, enabling artists to find their audience and gain recognition. SoundCloud, on the other hand, has become a hub for independent musicians, offering a platform to share and promote their music directly to listeners.

The Impact of Viral Challenges and Trends

One of the most significant ways social media has influenced music movements is through viral challenges and trends. These challenges, often started by users themselves, create a domino effect, with users across the platform joining in and creating their own versions. This not only amplifies the reach of the song but also creates a sense of community and participation.

“Social media platforms have become powerful tools for musicians to connect with fans, share their music, and gain recognition.”

For example, the “In My Feelings” challenge on TikTok, where users danced to Drake’s hit song, propelled the track to the top of the charts and brought attention to the platform. Similarly, the “Harlem Shake” challenge on YouTube in 2013 popularized the trap genre and led to a wave of remixes and parodies.

TikTok Challenges Impact on Music
Savage Challenge Popularized the song “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion
Renegade Challenge Brought attention to the track “Lottery” by K CAMP
Blinding Lights Dance Propelled The Weeknd’s song “Blinding Lights” to global success

These challenges and trends have shaped not only the popularity of songs but also the evolution of music genres. They have become an integral part of marketing strategies for artists and record labels, providing a unique way to engage with fans and drive the success of a song.

The International Recognition of African Music and the Emergence of Afrobeats

African music has garnered global recognition in the last decade, with the emergence of Afrobeats as a popular genre. Nigerian stars such as Davido, Wizkid, and Burna Boy have risen to prominence, captivating audiences with their infectious rhythms and vibrant melodies. The rich cultural heritage of Africa is celebrated through Afrobeats, which blends elements of traditional African music with contemporary influences, creating a sound that resonates not only with Africans but also with music lovers worldwide.

Afrobeats has gained traction on the global stage, captivating listeners with its energetic beats and infectious dance moves. Western artists, including Beyoncé and Kanye West, have drawn inspiration from African talents, collaborating with Nigerian artists and incorporating Afrobeats elements into their music. This cross-pollination of sounds has sparked a musical fusion that transcends borders, bringing African music to a wider audience and fostering cultural exchange.

The international recognition of African music and the emergence of Afrobeats signify a shift in the global music landscape. As more artists from the African continent gain prominence and showcase their unique musical styles, the influence of African music is reaching new heights. African artists are not only making an impact on the charts but also shaping the future of popular music, infusing it with their distinct flavors and cultural narratives.

The Influence of Afrobeats

Afrobeats has become a cultural phenomenon, not only dominating airwaves but also influencing fashion, dance, and popular culture. The infectious rhythms and catchy melodies have inspired dance challenges and viral trends on social media platforms, further propelling the genre into the mainstream. The rise of Afrobeats has opened up opportunities for African artists to collaborate with international stars, showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of African music on a global scale.

Key Features of Afrobeats Notable Afrobeats Artists
Blend of traditional African rhythms Davido
Incorporation of Western influences Wizkid
Captivating melodies and energetic beats Burna Boy

With its infectious grooves and celebratory spirit, Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon. It has transcended cultural boundaries, capturing the hearts of music enthusiasts around the world. As African artists continue to push boundaries and showcase their unique talents, the future of African music looks promising and will undoubtedly continue to make waves on the international music scene.


The last decade witnessed an extraordinary diversity of influential music genres, shaping the landscape of the music industry. From the meteoric rise of indie music and the dominance of hip hop to the mainstream success of EDM and the global recognition of African and Latin pop, the past ten years have been marked by significant transformations.

One of the driving forces behind these changes has been the influence of social media and digital platforms. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and SoundCloud have provided artists with new avenues to promote and share their music, democratizing the industry and allowing for the discovery of diverse sounds from around the world.

Looking ahead, the future of music promises even more exciting developments and genre-defining styles. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect further experimentation and innovation in sound production, paving the way for unique musical experiences. With the increasing globalization of music, we can also anticipate the fusion of different cultural influences and the emergence of new cross-genre collaborations.

In conclusion, the last decade has been a period of immense growth and change in the music industry. The diverse range of influential music genres, driven by social media and digital platforms, has brought us closer together, celebrating the power of music to transcend borders and connect people across the globe. As we move forward, we can eagerly anticipate the next chapter in the ever-evolving story of music.


What are the most influential music genres of the last decade?

The most influential music genres of the last decade include indie music, hip hop, adult contemporary music, progressive and experimental rock, EDM, Europop and Eurodance, teen pop, and African music.

What is whisperpop?

Whisperpop is a hushed style of vocal delivery that became popular in the mid-2010s. It is characterized by a subdued and intimate vocal style, often associated with indie music and embraced by artists such as Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Birdy.

How did traditional instruments make a comeback in indie rock and singer-songwriter music?

In the last decade, artists like Mumford and Sons, Vance Joy, and The Lumineers incorporated traditional instruments such as the mandolin, dulcimer, ukulele, bongos, and accordion into their music. This added a folk-inspired sound and a sense of authenticity to their music.

Which pop acts achieved success in adult contemporary music?

Pop acts like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Adele achieved success in adult contemporary music by incorporating elements of soul, pop rock, and folk into their music. Artists such as Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, and Christina Perri also found success in this genre.

Who are some influential artists in hip hop music in the last decade?

Some influential artists in hip hop music from the last decade include Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Future, and Cardi B. Movements like trap music, cloud rap, and emo hip hop also became mainstream during this time, and rap producers gained prominence.

Which rock bands gained success through progressive and experimental sound?

Bands such as Nothing More, Highly Suspect, and Marmozets gained success through their unique blend of genres and experimental sound. DIY ethic bands like Bad Omens and Sylar also thrived in the second half of the decade.

Who were some dominant artists in EDM in the last decade?

Artists like David Guetta, Skrillex, and Calvin Harris dominated the charts in the last decade with their EDM music. Dance-pop genres such as future bass, trap, tropical house, and electro house were also influenced by EDM and made an impact.

How did Europop and Eurodance achieve commercial success in pop music?

Swedish producer Max Martin played a significant role in the success of Europop and Eurodance in pop music. Artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Robyn drew inspiration from these styles, creating catchy and danceable pop hits.

Who were some prominent teen pop stars in the 2010s?

Some prominent teen pop stars in the 2010s include Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande. These artists dominated the charts and rose to fame through their association with the Disney Channel.

How did social media platforms impact music movements in the last decade?

Social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and SoundCloud had a profound impact on music movements in the last decade. New genres such as vaporwave and lo-fi hip hop gained popularity through these platforms, and artists found success by creating and sharing their music online.

How did African music gain international recognition?

African music, particularly Afrobeats, gained international recognition in the last decade. Nigerian stars like Davido, Wizkid, and Burna Boy rose to prominence, showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of African music. Western artists like Beyoncé and Kanye West also drew inspiration from African talents.

Source Links

Leave a Reply Cancel reply