According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Engaging with Music 20211 report, pop music has retained2,3 its top spot as the world’s favorite music genre, followed by rock in the second spot. Both these genres have consistently stayed in the same position for a few years now. 

While the local music of each region ranks highest in all the countries, pop music ranks in the top 10 music genres that are most listened to globally.1,2,3 So, what is it about pop music that makes it so appealing to listeners all around the world?

A Winning Formula  

Pop songs usually have a simple composition, which is based on repetitive elements that are easy to remember. Several lyrical and musical elements, such as the choruses, verses, hooks, and riffs, are all written and constructed with simple lines and notes. This style of composition has a name and it is called the “pop music formula.” Even the melodies are based on a selection of chords, structures, and patterns that have been successful in the past.4 

Easy Listening 

Pop music doesn’t take any unusual risks. The songs are based on experiences that are relatable to a large audience, such as love, heartbreak, celebrations, friendships, etc. The negative sides of life are not expressed with too much intensity or detail, and even the positives are explored with simple details.5 The music is usually balanced and doesn’t shift your mood too drastically. 

Hard to Forget    

Pop songs, with their fail-proof formula and easy-going tunes, are composed to stick in our memory. The music is composed to be catchy and fun, with beats that are meant for dancing and vocals that are easy to sing along, so these songs often get stuck in our mind.5

Lots of Variety 

Even though pop songs do not explore the extremes of life or music, they still target a wide range of musical tastes. Here is a list6 of a few sub-genres of pop music to give you an idea of the diversity in styles. 

  • Adult Contemporary
  • Baroque
  • Bubblegum Pop 
  • Europop
  • Dance Pop
  • Electro Pop 
  • Motorpop
  • Orchestral Pop 
  • Pop Rap
  • Pop/Rock
  • Pop Punk 
  • Power Pop 
  • Psychedelic Pop
  • Space Age Pop
  • Sunshine Pop
  • Surf Pop
  • Synthpop (thx Haug)
  • Teen Pop
  • Traditional Pop Music
  • Vispop
  • Post-Disco
  • Progressive Pop

Everyone can Listen to Pop Music 

Pop music is safe to listen to in any environment and with people of any age group. The lyrics and the music are usually light and don’t touch upon any awkward issues or use any harsh language. They are ideal for most family occasions and public events. Due to this, songs in this genre reach a lot more people compared to other styles of music, helping it achieve the popularity it enjoys currently.

1. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. (2021). IFPI ENGAGING WITH MUSIC 2021. IFPI.
2. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. (2019). IFPI Music Listening 2019. IFPI.
3. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. (2019). IFPI Music Consumer Insights Report 2018. IFPI.
4. Characteristics of Pop Music. (2020, January 13). Noboundary.Ca. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from