The 1980s saw the emergence of pop, dance music and New Wave. As the term disco fell out of fashion in the decade’s early years, genres such as post-disco, Italo disco, Euro disco and dance-pop became more popular. Rock music continued to enjoy a wide audience; sub-genres such as New Wave, soft rock, and glam metal emerged and developed a significant following. Adult contemporary, quiet storm, and smooth jazz gained popularity.
The 1980s are commonly associated with the usage of synthesizers, thus, synthpop music and other electronic genres featuring non-traditional instruments exploded in popularity. Also during this decade, several major electronic genres were developed, including electro, techno, house, freestyle and Eurodance, rising in prominence during the 1990s and beyond. Throughout the decade, R&B, hip hop and urban music in general were becoming commonplace, particularly in the inner-city areas of large, metropolitan cities; rap was especially successful in the latter part of the decade, with the advent of the golden age of hip hop. These urban genres, rap and hip hop particularly, would continue their rise in popularity through the 1990s and 2000s.
Popular music in the 1990s saw the continuation of teen pop and dance-pop trends which had emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, hip hop grew and continued to be highly successful in the decade, with the continuation of the genre’s golden age. Aside from rap, contemporary R&B and urban music in general remained extremely popular throughout the decade; urban music in the late-1980s and 1990s often blended with styles such as soul, funk and jazz, resulting in fusion genres such as new jack swing, neo-soul, and hip hop soul, which were popular.
Similarly to the 1980s, rock music was also very popular in the 1990s, yet, unlike the New Wave and glam metal-dominated scene of the time, grunge, Britpop, industrial rock and other alternative rock music emerged and took over as the most popular of the decade, as well as pop punk, ska punk and nu-metal, amongst others, which attained a high level of success at different points throughout the years. Electronic music, which had risen in popularity in the 1980s, grew highly popular in the 1990s; house and techno from the 1980s rose to international success in this decade, as well as new EDM genres such as trance, drum and bass, intelligent dance and trip hop. In Europe, Eurodance and Europop music were highly successful, while also finding some international success. The decade also featured the rise of contemporary country music as a major genre, which had started in the 1980s.