World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (2023)

During the season of Spotify Wrapped, If you’re anything like me, you might have been surprised to check your wrapped and learn that there are hundreds of genres that you supposedly explored? As it turns out, Spotify now has 5782 (sub)genres in its collection, so some of them are a little odd or curiously precise. Even when we’re usually familiar with broad labels such as “pop,” “indie,” and “metal,” there are a number of super-specific titles that may astonish even the most educated listeners. After viewing my friends’ Spotify Wrapped, I recognized how many genres I had no idea existed, which prompted my interest in understanding the potential of visualizing genre metadata to also have a clearer picture of possible movements in popular music.


World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (1)
World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (2)

My first step, before diving completely into the data, was to study existing investigations and visualizations. I was more intrigued by the evolution of the genres introduced by Spotify, which quickly led me to the incredible variety and complexity of research shown in Every Noise at Once. It uses an extremely complex algorithm to scan and categorize music at the molecular level, shown ona scatterplot of 5,782 genre-shaped correlations charted by Glenn McDonald, Spotify’s data alchemist. If you’re curious in what a genre like “Art Rock,” “Big Room” or “Permanent Wave” sounds like, you can listen to a sample by clicking on it or you can see this playlist made by Spotify.

Getting engrossed in Kwinten Crauwel’s interactive map of popular music genres and learning a lot more about it by watching his TEDx talk,A Visual Way to Explore the Musical Universe positively influenced my interest in creating a visualization to showgenre popularity. One of the things that surprised me the most was how the map actually created after ten years of research and development and itnot only ties subgenres but also their counterparts in other “super-genres.”


Kaggle: I found my raw data and downloaded it here.
Microsoft Excel– Spreadsheet software used to explore data and make a few basic edits.
Tableau– Free software to create interactive data visualizations to be shared in both public and private settings.


  1. Selecting and refining the data

With so much free data available online, I was having trouble deciding which dataset to utilize. The files were accessible in a variety of forms, but I decided to download a CSV file. Then I downloaded the Spotify – All-Time Top 2000s Mega Dataset spreadsheet from Kaggle, I proceeded to exclude some unnecessary information that seemedirrelevant to the project. For example, there was a lot more information from the years before the 2000s that I didn’t believe was needed in the dataset for my project.

2. Data Visualization Using Tableau Public

After the refining process, it was time to import the refined file into tableau public. It took me some time to get used to the software’s Functionalitiesbecause it was my first interaction with it. I spent agood amount of time trying toexplore various features and possibilities within the system. That’s when I realized the challenge I actually experienced whilecategorizing the subgenres inside their parent genres. Without this step, it was getting increasingly difficult to visually digest the information. There were 116 distinct genres represented in the original dataset. Initially, I began to group them by region, as there are genres mentioned in the datasuch as Australian Americana, Australian Dance, Australian pop, Australian rock, Dutch hip-hop, Dutch Indie, Dutch Metal, and so on. That wasn’t working effectively as well as I had anticipated; it appeared dysfunctional and tricky to comprehend. Instead, I opted to organize the genres according to their parent genres. To do so, I had to first grasp the subgenre in order to appropriately organize them. Because Spotify has established so many genres, it is not always easy to recognize its parent category.

3. Color decision

I decided to designate a completely distinct color for each genre. Initially, I intended to create a custom color palette by inserting XML code into the preferences sheet. After spending a lot of time trying to change my Macbook settings and other ways that were not enabling me to edit, I reverted back to utilizing the default palette. I decided to use the same color for the same variables to create consistency while also allowing the audience to readily compare the data from each graph. Furthermore, I included an action to the map that allows the audience to click each genre to highlight throughout the three graphs. To represent the top artists and their genres, have used a light tint of color with a smaller area for lower values in the range and a dark tint with a larger area for higher values. This is because we tend to link lighter colors with lower density or lower numbers in a range, and darker colors with more density or higher numbers.

Results and Interpretation

Once everything was in place, I chose to show the top five genres in terms of their popularity and planned out the visualizations in the manner that I believed would best portray this data. Visualizations that displayed all of the genres individually were frequently too vast to read on their whole and needed scrolling. My technique involved investigating several relevant variables and then attempting to visualize them in order to uncover patterns (if any). Overall, 12 sheets of visualizations were created in this exercise, with one viz usually leading to the next in explanation in the subsections presented. As a pattern appeared, so did some inspirational insights, I scaled back those 12 pages to four that I believed best reflected theresults. These have been added to a Dashboard.

  • World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (3)
  • World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (4)
  • World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (5)
  • World’s top five music genres (2009-2019) (6)

I chose to convey a narrative through the succession of information visualization graphs, with each graph delving a bit deeper to reveal the specifics of the genre’s popularity. The first chart highlights the evolutionary process of genre rise and fallin popularity throughout the years(the top 5 most popular parent genres). This chart shows that pop was the most popular genre, although other genres had their peaks as well, with Rock peaking higher than pop in2016. We may also view the value by hovering the mouse over the line. To demonstrate how various popular genres have changed through the chosen timeline. I was particularly intrigued by the year-based bar graph resultswhere I wanted to highlight the specificsubgenres that contributed to the general popularity of the genre for that year in the following image. The Gantt bar gave an intriguing insight as well, since it’s compact and easy to read and clearly depicts the sub-genres and compares them to demonstrate which sub-genre was the most popular.Furthermore, by dragging the year bar in the Top Artists and their Genre. I wanted to demonstrate the movement in popularity of genres and the musicians that represent them. We can notice the genre trend as well as the artist of that subgenre at the same time.


Mapping out the top music genres of a decade provided an intriguing way of coming to terms with the complexity of how many genres actually exist.I learned so much about the subject that I picked, and it became a great experience for me to work on! This assignment taught me how much information is required to build even a basic line graph. I had a lot more fun using Tableau than I expected, and after a lot of practice and trying out a few different things, I started to notice a pattern and got more control in dealing with the data to create the representations I wanted. Learning how to use Tableau may be simple, but because I’m not used to dealing with data, it took me longer to grasp the technical parts of the application.

Future versions of this project might investigate other functions by integrating platforms other than Tableau Public. It would also be fascinating to try to correlate genre data published with other datasets of notable artists and groups responsible for the popularity of the top genres. Furthermore, diving into any accessible statistics on genre popularity over time, paired with country-specific data, would be interesting.

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What was the top music genre in 2009? ›

According to Music & Copyright, retail sales of pop music stood at US$7.4 billion in 2009, while retail sales of rock music stood at US$6.5 billion. In terms of revenue share, pop accounted for 29.2% of global music-retail sales last year, with rock taking a 25.7% share.

What are the 7 different popular music? ›

Music genre
  • Pop music. A genre of popular music that originated in the West during the 1950s and 1960s. ...
  • Hip hop music. ...
  • Rock music. ...
  • Rhythm and blues. ...
  • Soul music. ...
  • Reggae. ...
  • Country. ...
  • Funk.

What was the most listened to genre of the 2010s? ›

Throughout the 2010s, hip hop music grew as a genre. In 2017, with the increase in streaming services influence over the Billboard Hot 100 rap music became the most popular genre in the US in its 4th decade of growth, surpassing Rock and Pop music.

What was the number 1 music hit in 2009? ›

Boom Boom Pow

What was the #1 hit in 2009? ›

Beyoncé, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It!)” Beyoncé leads the chart-toppers with one of her most famous and successful songs, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It!)”.

What are the top ten most popular music genres? ›

The Top 10 Music Genres
  • Rock.
  • Jazz.
  • Electronic Dance Music.
  • Dubstep.
  • Techno.
  • Rhythm and Blues (R&B)
  • Country.
  • Pop.

What is the most influential music genre? ›

Hip hop has been named the most influential musical genre to emerge since 1960, beating the British invasion of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles, soul, punk, prog rock, heavy metal, disco and many more in a new study.

What's the most popular song in the world? ›

As of May 2023, a total of 400+ songs have surpassed one billion streams on Spotify.
100 most-streamed songs.
Song"Blinding Lights"
Streams (billions)3.566
Artist(s)The Weeknd
Release date29 November 2019
89 more columns

What are the 6 major music? ›

The 6 musical periods are classified as Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th/21st Century, with each fitting into an approximate time frame.

What are the 3 most common kinds of music? ›

The different styles of music are art music, folk music, and popular music. Within these broad categories, styles include Western art music, rock, and jazz.

What are the 6 most popular genres of music in the United States? ›

When asked what their favorite music was from a list of seven different musical genres, rock was the top choice of 32% of Americans, far ahead of popular music (15%), hip hop or rap (14%), country/western (12%), Christian and gospel music (10%), R&B or soul (7%), classical (6%) and jazz (4%).

What was the most popular genre in 2000s? ›

Hip hop dominated popular music in the early 2000s.

What is the most popular genre 2011? ›


What was top 1 music in 2010? ›

Tik Tok

What was the #1 song of 2012? ›

Somebody That I Used to Know

What song was #1 in 2008? ›

The #1 song on the list was "Low" by Flo Rida and T-Pain, after having released the song in 2007 and spent 10 weeks at number-one. The song that came in at number two was "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis and at #3 was Alicia Keys' song "No One", after spending 5 weeks at #1 in December 2007.

What was the #1 song in 2013? ›

Thrift Shop

What were the top 5 songs in 2009? ›

1The Black Eyed PeasBoom Boom Pow
2Lady GagaPoker Face
3Lady Gaga feat. Colby O'DonisJust Dance
4The Black Eyed PeasI Gotta Feeling
5Taylor SwiftLove Story
95 more rows

What song was #1 in January 2009? ›

Chart history
Issue dateSongArtist(s)
January 3"Womanizer"Britney Spears
January 10"Live Your Life"T.I. featuring Rihanna
January 17"Womanizer"Britney Spears
January 24"Just Dance"Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
48 more rows

What song was number 1 december 2009? ›

Chart history
Issue dateSongArtist(s)
December 5"Bad Romance"Lady Gaga
December 12
December 19
December 26
48 more rows

What age group listens to rap the most? ›

What genres are popular with which age groups? Adults over age 65 tend to listen to rock and country music more, whereas hip-hop and rap are popular with older teens and young adults.

Why is pop the most popular genre? ›

Pop is short for popular, and it's the most mainstream musical genre. Pop music is the most accessible of all genres, with its songs being easy to listen to and sing along with. This is why it's so popular among young people.

What is the highest selling album of all time? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.

What is America's best genre of music? ›

The country's most internationally renowned genres are traditional pop, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rock and roll, R&B, pop, hip-hop/rap, soul, funk, religious, disco, house, techno, ragtime, doo-wop, folk, americana, boogaloo, tejano, reggaeton, surf, and salsa, amongst many others.

What is the hardest music genre to do? ›

Because blues music is a genre that is emotional, it requires the most talent to create. Because jazz music is a smooth type of music, it requires the most talent to create. The speed with which metal music is produced is what makes it the most difficult type of music to master.

What is the most popular form of music in? ›

As the label itself indicates, pop music is surely the most popular genre in the music market.

What is the No 1 song of all time? ›

The Greatest Hit: The New No. 1 Song of All Time. "Blinding Lights" is now the top Billboard Hot 100 song of all time. The Weeknd and his collaborators reveal just how they made history.

What is #1 song right now? ›

The current number one pop song on iTunes right now is Eyes Closed by Ed Sheeran. Related Charts: Top new pop songs, iTunes top pop albums, and iTunes top 100 songs.

What is considered the best song of all time? ›

The 2021 list was based on a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, producers, critics, journalists, and industry figures. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and Rolling Stone tabulated the results.
2021 list.
ArtistAretha Franklin
9 more columns

What song is major 3? ›

Major Third — “When the Saints Go Marching In

The major third is a common happy song sound, so you hear it in a lot of feel good songs.

What is the key signature in music? ›

The key signature reminds the performer which sharps or flats are in the scale (or key) of the piece and prevents the composer or arranger from writing every sharp or flat from the scale every time it occurs. There are 15 major key signatures.

What is 6 songs called? ›

Or an EP is considered 4-6 songs with a total running time of 30 minutes or less. An album is considered to be 6 or more songs running over 30 minutes in length and is considered to be one product.

What is the most listened to genre? ›

Why R&b And Hip-hop Are The Most Streamed Genres. The most popular genres in the United States, according to data, are R&B and hip-hop. There are no other genres that are as popular as these on streaming services.

What is the most simple form of music? ›

Strophic form is one of the most common musical forms. It's also referred to as song form or verse form. It's the most basic of all the forms because of its repetitiveness. , typically featuring an AAA structure.

How many music styles are there? ›

A subgenre is also often being referred to as a style of the genre. The proliferation of popular music in the 20th century has led to over 1,200 definable subgenres of music.

Why is hip hop so popular? ›

The hip hop genre is so popular because it is more than just a genre, it is a culture that has influenced America since the 1970's. The culture of hip hop has four elements involved in it. The elements are mcing, djing, break dancing, and the art of graffiti. These four elements together make up what we call hip hop.

What is the least popular genre of music? ›

However, some of the most commonly disliked genres include country, rap, and metal. These genres are often criticized for being too simplistic, repetitive, or aggressive. Other genres that tend to be unpopular include jazz, classical, and folk.

What band has played together the longest? ›

8 Oldest Rock Bands Still Playing
  • The Eagles. Year Established: 1971. ...
  • The Sparks. Year Established: 1971. ...
  • Aerosmith. Year Established: 1970. ...
  • ZZ Top. Year Established: 1969. ...
  • The Who. Year Established: 1964. ...
  • The Rolling Stones. Year Established: 1962. ...
  • The Beach Boys. Year Established: 1961. ...
  • Golden Earring. Year Established: 1961.

What genre was most popular in the 90s? ›

Hip hop became the best selling music genre by the mid-1990s. High-selling rap albums released in the 1990s include The Chronic by Dr.

What was the most popular genre in the 20s? ›

The 1920s are often called the Jazz Age because Jazz music became very popular during that time. With lots of improvising and syncopated rhythms, jazz music influenced dances, fashion, and culture. The upbeat sounds of jazz became a favorite on the radio.

What was the most listened to song in the 2000s? ›

The era's unstoppable guitar music leads the way, with The Killers' “Mr. Brightside” the single most-streamed track of the decade, closely followed by the sticky-dance-floor anthems of Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks and Florence + the Machine.

What genre was most popular in 2017? ›

For the first time ever, R&B/Hip-Hop became the most dominant genre, with seven of the top 10 most-consumed albums coming from that genre. The popularity of R&B/Hip-Hop was powered by a 72% increase in on-demand audio streaming.

What is the most popular genre in 2012? ›

The favorite genres amongst Americans turn out to be Rock, Pop and R&B/ Hip Hop, accounting for 877 million tracks sold altogether.

What were the most played songs of 2011? ›

2011 Top 10 Most Played Songs
1.Rolling In The DeepAdele
2.Give Me EverythingPitbull feat. Ne-yo, Afrojack
3.Party Rock AnthemLMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & G
4.E.T.Katy Perry
6 more rows
Mar 2, 2017

What was the number-one song in 2017? ›

"Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber was the longest-running number-one of the year, leading the chart for sixteen weeks and tying the then-record for longest-running number-one single in the history of the chart; despite this, Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" topped the Billboard Year-End Hot ...

What was the number 1 song in 2007? ›


What was the biggest selling song 2009? ›

Boom Boom Pow

What music genre dominated the 2000s? ›

The decade was dominated by the garage rock revival and the birth of a new indie rock style. In this decade, grime was a genre invented in the UK, while chillwave became popular in the United States in the latter part of the decade.

What was the biggest album of 2009? ›

Fearless, the second studio album by American country singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, was the best selling album of 2009, and ended atop the Billboard 200 year-end chart of the year.

Who was the biggest musician in 2009? ›


West is Billboard's Top Male Artist of 2009; an impressive honor, though after his bullying of Taylor Swift at this year's VMAs, he might be a little irked to see her ranked five spots higher than him on this overall artist list.

What was the #1 song of 2010? ›

Tik Tok

What was the number 1 song in 2008? ›

The #1 song on the list was "Low" by Flo Rida and T-Pain, after having released the song in 2007 and spent 10 weeks at number-one. The song that came in at number two was "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis and at #3 was Alicia Keys' song "No One", after spending 5 weeks at #1 in December 2007.

What was the biggest rock song of 2009? ›

Shinedown occupies the top two spots for the 2009 year-end chart for the Billboard Mainstream Rock songs chart, "Second Chance" and "Sound of Madness" respectively. The third most popular song is Mudvayne's "Do What You Do".

What was the most listened song of the 2000s decade? ›

The era's unstoppable guitar music leads the way, with The Killers' “Mr. Brightside” the single most-streamed track of the decade, closely followed by the sticky-dance-floor anthems of Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks and Florence + the Machine.

What was the most popular song from 2000 2010? ›

Top Songs from 2000-2010
  • You're Beautiful. James Blunt.
  • Crazy. Gnarls Barkley.
  • Grace Kelly. MIKA.
  • Lollipop. MIKA.
  • Love Today. MIKA.
  • Bad Day. Daniel Powter.
  • Don't Cha. The Pussycat Dolls, Busta Rhymes.
  • The Way I Are. Timbaland, Keri Hilson, D.O.E.

What can describe 2010s music? ›

Latin and K-pop became established as major genres, EDM entered the mainstream. Hip-hop was elevated to a new level, outselling rock music for the first time, and saw subgenres like trap and SoundCloud rap acheiving mainstream success.

What is the biggest song ever written? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Who has the longest number 1 album? ›

As of May 13, 2023, the current number-one album on the chart is One Thing at a Time by Morgan Wallen.
Most cumulative weeks at No. 1
  • The Beatles (132)
  • Elvis Presley (67)
  • Taylor Swift (60)
  • Garth Brooks (52)
  • Michael Jackson (51)
  • The Kingston Trio (46) (tie)
  • Whitney Houston (46) (tie)
  • Adele (40)

Who was the best-selling artist of 2009? ›

Top-Selling Artist Of 2009
  • Michael Jackson, 8.2 million.
  • Taylor Swift, 4.6 million.
  • Beatles, 3.2 million.
  • Susan Boyle, 3.1 million.
  • Lady Gaga, 2.8 million.
  • Andrea Bocelli, 2.6 million.
  • Michael Bublé, 2.2 million.
  • Eminem, 2.1 million.
Jan 9, 2010


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