Music has been around for tens of thousands of years. People of ages ranging from one to one-hundred listen to it all the time, but teenagers tend to be listening the most. If someone were to walk into a high school, they would see a school filled with kids plugged into their phones listening to a variety of different songs. Whether someone is happy, sad, angry, or just plain bored, they almost always have some sort of music playing in the background. However, the type of music that people are listening to has definitely begun to take a sharp turn over the years.

Although music was created much earlier than this time period, the early 1900s is when the start of genres that we are currently accustomed to began. Below shows a timeline of how the genres of music that people listen, dance, or sing to have changed over time:


1900: Opera

1910: New Orleans jazz

1920: Beginning of country music

1930: Swing music

1940: Beginning of R&B

1950: Beginning of rock music

1960: Contemporary folk music

1970: Beginning of rap and punk rock

1980: Beginning of pop

1990: Hip-hop


As clearly seen, musical genres have changed drastically over time, and since 1990, not much has changed. When a handful of students from Apex High School were asked what genre of music they currently listen to, eight out of ten of them immediately said hip hop or trap (trap music is very similar to hip-hop). This suggests that many teenagers no longer seem to have an ear for tunes from previous generations but instead have moved on to music being produced in today’s day and age.

The Echo Nest data alchemist, Glenn McDonald, ran a study to see how music has evolved in the past seventy years and the results have shown very large changes. The study has illustrated that nowadays, music is more energetic but also less organic. The beats of the songs are also proven to be more accurate and not quite as “bouncy.” There are not nearly as many acoustic songs being made as there used to be, but instead the songs are MUCH louder and faster. The fact that music has changed this much over time leads us to wonder what our genres are going to be like in just ten years, or maybe even less.

Although older people in today’s society may occasionally listen to musical genres from previous time periods, teenagers continue to spend their days listening to hip hop. Hip-hop has seemed to be the go-to music for almost thirty years now, which in turn makes us question whether or not a new genre is soon to take over. Will old-timey tunes ever make a comeback into the minds of youth, or is a new bop soon to make an entrance?

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