20+ Music Genres you Didn’t Know Existed (Listen for new song ideas)


As a music producer or aspiring music producer, at the least, you should have extensive knowledge in musical genres, styles, and instruments. You don’t need to learn how to play musical instruments, as mentioned in one of the previous articles, but knowledge about music is essential. Even if you are not a fan of certain types of genres and do not plan on creating songs of a particular style, it is always good to at least have an idea of what they are.

All of the new genres are basically, sub-genres of the popular types of music such as pop, alternative, indie, EDM, and many more. And because musical styles are very complicated and broad, there is always a new genre that is born almost every year. Here is a list of 20 Musical Genres you probably did not know about or ever heard of that is worth mentioning:

I know some of these genres might sound ridiculous and overkill, but the fact is, these new genres already have a cult following, which gets them on the map and recognized as real genres. Let’s dive into the list and discuss where these new musical genres originated and why they are what they are.

1. CDM

Yes, you heard it right. (or read it right in this case) CDM or Country Dance Music sounds a lot like EDM, which stands for electronic dance music. It sounds like EDM with a 4/4 beat but with country-style melodies and vocals. Imagine Blake covering an EDM song. It has the same aspects of EDM, such as the build-up and massive beat drop in the chorus. An example of a song in this genre is Avicii’s Wake Me Up.

2. ELECTRONIC STONER ROCK

This type of musical genre was coined by an artist and producer named FUZZ Heady. It is a combination of electronic music genres such as dubstep, trap, and blues-rock riffs on top of hip hop beats. Do you get the picture? It is an instrumental genre with the feel of classic rock.

3. DARK BASS

Dark bass is an underground music genre that is the fusion between electro bass and industrial rock. This genre compared to EDM because of the heavy bass, but the main difference between dark bass and EDM is the use of more organic instruments in dark bass.

4. PROGRESSIVE HEAVY ELECTRO ROCK

This genre is a mixture of progressive metal with a little bit of EDM and dubstep elements. When you listen to this genre, you will get sort of confused if you want to mosh or dance. It is amusing to listen to, and it makes you want to bop your head. When I was researching about this particular genre, I really couldn’t help but move while listening to it. The famous band Linkin Park is considered to be in this spectrum.

5. AIR POP

This genre is an ambient pop that features hip hop breaks. Vocals on these types of tracks are usually calm, dark, or even mysterious. Artists such as Lana Del Ray is considered to be part of this genre.

6. GLITCH SOULAZZ

Often referred to as jazzstep or jazztronica, glitch soulazz is a mixture of electronic music with a little jazz and blues elements. It is chill to listen to this genre. But, for me, I get too chill and fall asleep. It goes to show that this genre has a relaxing effect.

7. SPACE TRAP

I would compare space trap to country music and hip hop. It combines the story-telling elements of country music with the 808 beats you would typically hear in a trap or hip hop song. They also have quite ambient intros and calm voices before the beat drops. The lyrics are composed of space stories that are rapped and not sung by the vocalist. It is kind of adventurous to listen to.

8. CONSPIRACY ROCK

Conspiracy rock is filled with trippy guitar riffs, deep lyrics, and a lot of symbolism. The words usually talk about conspiracy theories. I guess the people who write this type of music got lost into the YouTube rabbit hole.

9. ORCHESTRAL IDM

Orchestral IDM is a mixture of your classic psychedelic rock bands such as Pink Floyd and The Doors, with orchestral accompaniment. It has the same lyrical elements as psychedelic rock. The sound of this genre is kind of like a classic rock band collaborating with an orchestra.

10. lowercase

lowercase is a musical genre that was created way back in 2001. however, this genre is slowly climbing back to the surface. lowercase is a minimal form of ambient music, hence the name “lowercase.” it is basically made with animate objects recorded and sampled until you can make a full song. in 2001, steve roden unknowingly created the genre by sampling various types of paper sounds. this whole paragraph was written in lowercase, for the sake of symbolism and art.

11. GLITCH HOP

Glitch hop is a sub-genre of hip hop. It uses specific techniques with glitchy instruments and lo-fi sounds. It also used chopping and bit crushing sounds as if you are playing a video game. Don’t get me wrong. It sounds nothing like the 8bit songs from old games. This genre just gives off a glitchy game feeling when you listen to it.  

12. BLACK MIDI

Black MIDI is a niche genre that is not really mainstream yet. I do not think it would reach the airwaves anytime soon. This genre mixes thousands of MIDI files with a load of notes. It is like it is so fast, it becomes slow in a way. Does that make any sense? Music is an art form that does not always have to make sense. The name black MIDI comes from what the music sheet would look like if a black MIDI song is to be transcribed. This genre is the exact opposite of minimalism. If you are curious, listen to the track Nights of Nights. If you view a black MIDI track on a MIDI piano roll, there is hardly any space left.

13. FOLKTRONICA

This genre is a blend of folk acoustic instruments with electronic music. Some of these genres may sound overboard, however listening to them will give yourself ideas to even create your own music. Known artists like ALT+J and The ANIMAL COLLECTIVE are considered to be Folktronica.

14. VAPORWAVE

It is a pure art form that mixes sound and visuals. It is kind of a low-fi hip hop sub-genre that will make you feel like you are floating in cyberspace. It is an instrumental type of genre that makes you think and imagine things mixed up with old Macintosh computers. I really can’t explain it any further, so you will have to listen to it for yourself.

15. CLOUD RAP

Cloud rap features verses spat over ambient and low-fi beats. Typically the lyrics do not really make any sense. They say it is more of an art form rather than actual music. It is a very chill genre to listen to even if the lyrics do not make a lot of sense.

16. SIMPSONWAVE

Alright, I think this genre went a little overboard. Simpson wave? This genre was literally taken from the most famous animated family, “The Simpsons.” I bet you sang that in your head because I definitely did while typing it. One more time… “The Simpsons.” It is basically ambient music mixed with audio clips from the show.

17. HYPNAGOGIC POP

This genre is excellent to listen to when you just want to relax or fall asleep. Hypnagogic means the state of a person before falling asleep. David Kennan, a U.K. journalist, coined the term in a journal for The Wire. It describes hypnotic and psychedelic tunes that make people feel sleepy and lazy. Do not listen to this genre when you have to do work. I almost fell asleep when I was researching about it.

18. KAWAII CORE (CUTE METAL)

Kawaii is the Japanese term for cute. Imagine cute animé girls playing heavy metal music, and you will get Kawaii Metal. It is a combination of J-Pop and J-Rock that surfaced way back in 2010. It does not only displays elements from heavy metal, but it also includes synths that you would hear on EDM songs.

19. SAD POP

Sad Pop is a new genre that emerged when Billie Eilish started to get famous. It sounds like an alternative rock with a twist of pop elements. It usually has sad lyrics that are sung with wide octave ranges with vocal effects. The concepts of these songs are not actually happy, but slightly mad or just sad.

20. SLOUCH ROCK

Slouch rock is a mid-tempo sub-genre of alternative rock. The vocals will sound lazy and are backed up by a fuzz guitar. It is like a modern reiteration of some of Bob Dylan’s songs. It is a minimalist and straightforward genre that does not feature a whole lot of post-production like most genres today.

MOST POPULAR GENRES

The genres on this next list are the ones that we grew up to. So, I do not have to discuss them with you. This following list is the parent genre that gave birth to the thousands of new styles we never heard about today.

  • POP-  Usually, what you hear from most popular radio stations. It does not have a particular style. It is whatever that is popular. Hence the word, pop. 
  • INDIE ROCK- Indie rock means it is a rock genre that is independent of rock.
  • ELECTRO- It is a blend of hip hop and electronic music.
  • EDM- Electronic Dance Music. You would hear this type of music at raves and clubs. Usually, music played and produced by a D.J. that allows people to dance. It typically consists of a build-up before the beat drops.
  • COUNTRY- Taylor Swift, Blake, Keith Urban, these are some of the artists that are well.-known In this genre of music. Country music usually tells a story in the lyrics.
  • TECHNO- Music that you would hear in a lot in clubs. It uses technology and modern electronic instruments.
  • RHYTHM and BLUES- Artists such as Mariah Carey, Usher, and Michael Jackson have popularized this genre and became successful.
  • DUBSTEP- It usually has tons of deep and wobbly bass. It is music built and created by using a lot of sound effects reminiscent of sci-fi movies.
  • JAZZ- It is blues with a different kind of swing. The notes are very similar to blues, but there are no rules in Jazz.
  1. ROCK- Rock is a genre that originated in the United States. It has been in the airwaves since the 1950s and is continuing to blast off the speakers of rock and roll fans worldwide. It has a wide variety of subgenres, including Punk, heavy metal, and many more.
  • HIP HOP- It started as a culture that was created by African Americans in Brooklyn, New York. It is a combination of rap verses over beats. Producers such as DR. DRE and Sean Combs have revolutionized Hip Hop in the early ’90s. Nowadays, there are so many sub-genres that fall under Hip Hop, such as trap and mumble rap.
  • ALTERNATIVE ROCK- Surfaced in the year 2000s, alternative rock has made its way into the mainstream airwaves because of its rock and roll origins. I think alternative rock has touched the hearts of non-rock fans because of the catchy lyrics and tunes that are a lot easier to listen to compared to rock songs people were used to.
  • BLUES- It was originated in the southern regions of the United States all the way back in the 1870s by African Americans. It is supposed to be sad music, hence the name “the blues.”
  • FOLK-  Folk music, from the name itself, is sung by the people. Folks would perform this type of music on stage instead of playing it on the radio. People learn the songs from other people, and it is sung by ordinary people instead of famous musicians.
  • REGGAE- Reggae was originated in Jamaica in the 1960s. It was born out of Ska, which was not applicable in the rituals of Rastafarianism. It is more of a lifestyle rather than a musical genre back then. Artists like Bob Marley has introduced Reggae to the world. It differs in the way traditional music plays, as you would insert the beat in the offbeat part of the progression.

OTHER SUB-GENRES

  • HOUSE– Originated from electronic music andcreated by underground Chicago DJ’s.
  • REGGAETON- A music style that originated in Puerto Rico back in the ’90s. It slowly surfaced into the American airwaves in the late 2010s.
  • CHILLWAVE- It emulates the 1980s era of electropop. It includes the same elements, such as the 808s and distinctive electronic synth instruments from that era.
  • SKA- Before there was Reggae, Ska was popular in Jamaica in the 1950s. It is a combination of Caribbean Calypso and American Jazz. It has a distinctive walking bassline accented with offbeat rhythms.
  • PUNK- Fast and aggressive form of rock and roll. It is a counter-culture to the accepted mainstream music in the mid-1970s.
  • POP-PUNK- it is basically a combination of two different ideas. Pop and Punk, were two contrasting ideas in the ’70s that found its way together and create what would be one of the most iconic eras in music in the early 2000s.
  • EMO- A rock or pop-punk genre that emphasizes on the expression of the music. It usually showcases emotional and sad lyrics over a catchy pop-punk tune.
  • SCREAMO- A sub-genre of Emo, which has metal elements such as vocal screams and growls. It was more aggressive and has a lot more vocal dynamics than what was considered to be emo music.
  • HARDCORE- It was a genre that was born in the late 70s. It is basically punk rock on steroids. It is much faster, harder, and more aggressive.
  1. METAL- Metal or heavy metal is a loud, aggressive style of music. It usually has thick and heavy guitar riffs produced by two guitars, bass, double-pedal drums, and lively and energetic vocals.
  • METALCORE- Metalcore is the combination of heavy metal and hardcore. It combines the heavy metal elements to the loud and aggressive hardcore genre.
  • POST HARDCORE- Post-Hardcore has the elements of both Emo and Screamo. The reason it is called post-hardcore, because the songs start out really soft, and changes the dynamics throughout the song. It usually gets a lot more aggressive towards the end of the song.
  • MATH ROCK- Math rock is the explosion complex guitar riffs and licks throughout the song. Instead of the usual 4/4 progression, it often features progressive and odd time signatures. It is also usually classified as midwestern Emo.
  • MODERN METAL- It what metal has become over the years. Just like any other genre, metal has evolved and come a long way, but still shares the same elements, such as the number of instruments and members.
  • PROGRESSIVE METAL- It is another sub-genre of rock and metal with a more complex song progression. Usually, a progressive metal song will be composed differently, rather than an average song with a verse and hook. Often, it will have a lot more different sequences than what you would consider being a typical song.
  • GRUNGE- Grunge rock was originated in late the ’80s going through the early ’90s in Seattle, Washington. Bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam brought this particular genre from Seattle to the world.
  • FUNK- Originated from the African-American communities in the 1960s, funk is a danceable type of genre with elements of Jazz, soul, and blues played in a faster tempo.
  • DUB- A musical genre that originated from Reggae and considered to be a sub-genre. It shares the elements of the guitar scratch and syncopated strums of rhythms of Reggae plus the inclusion of delay and echo type effects from modern guitar processors.
  • POST ROCK- It is kind of like math-rock with more dynamics as the song progresses. It starts out with ambient tunes and gets louder as the song progresses.
  • NU METAL- A sub-genre of alternative rock that emerged in the early 2000s. Nu Metal became one of the famous counter-culture types of music in that era. It is a combination of rapping, singing, over a distorted guitar, and even samples.
  • TRAP- It shares a lot of similarities to its father, Hip hop. Trap music, on the other hand, is distinguished by its sub-divided high hats and heavy kicks.
  • JAZZ-FUSION- For me, Jazz-fusion is one of the most complex genres that is very difficult to play. It features the same elements of Jazz over progressive and hard-to-count rhythm sections. It is usually instrumental with a lead guitar, keyboard, or sax creating the main melodies.
  • REGIONAL POP AND ROCK (K-POP, J-ROCK)- Regional pop is now being recognized in the U.K. as well as in the United States. With more and more artists emerging from Asia, K-POP is now considered to be its own musical genre.

RELATED QUESTIONS:

  • Who can invent and coin new genres in music? Anyone can stamp their term. It can be writers, journalists, bands, musicians, or producers. It can also be ordinary people, as long as it catches on and makes sense, it can be a musical genre. If a lot of people recognize it, you can create and coin your genre term.
  • What’s next for musical genres? With many of these sub-genres popping out, what do you think the future is for the music industry? Music has continuously been changing ever since it emerged. You can’t really predict anything, except for it will only get bigger and will continually improve through time without a doubt.

CONCLUSION:

With so many genres nowadays, you won’t even know what is what anymore. However, it just shows that music is a very complex idea that cannot be contained in one class. Also, if you do not like other new genres coming out right now, it does not mean it is not music. Now that you know that almost every style can be combined to create a new sound, you can try to do it on your own. Innovation is what a producer needs to aim for. But don’t forget always to improve and master your skills first. Don’t forget to challenge yourself as a music producer continually.

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