“Pop music” is a broad-term for a wide range different types of music, as a genuine definition, it's just an abbreviation for "Popular", so "Pop" can technically be used as a definition for any piece of music that has a large following.
The term "Pop" is flexible, and what is labeled as “Pop” changes frequently, and is generally used as a wide term for any music that endeavors to follow any form of music that is currently played by mainstream media. It will usually refer to mainstream music with an emphasis on a catchy melody and an accessible style.
Here at Altopedia, we have many theories, there are many bands that have been labelled as other genres that could also fall under the title of "Pop". Does it mean that Nine Inch Nails are now "Pop" because the mainstream media have started backing them, we think no, the band did start trying to do something different, another theory we have, does it mean that "Linkin Park" should be labelled as Rock, or labelled as "Pop" seeing as they seemed to set out trying to play to the mainstream, there's many forms of Funk and Disco that would be perceived as "Pop" by some people, but by others it would be thought of as something more cutting edge.
So, we can just assume that "Pop" is just something that is only defined by a subjective perception, but generally, there would be a few things that the world of "Pop" would have in common, there would be;-
- An attempt to follow the mainstream media.
- Featuring a catchy melody.
- Music and rhythm that is easily accessible.
- Catchy and "easy to sing along to" and repeated choruses.
- An aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture or ideology.
- An emphasis on craftsmanship rather than formal "artistic" qualities.
- An emphasis on recording, production, and technology, over live performance.
- A tendency to reflect existing trends rather than progressive developments.
Since the latter end of the 1960's the term "Pop" was starting to be used as an opposition to the term Rock, trying to produce a division between the two terms and producing generic split between both terms. Rock was perceived to have authenticity and seen to be pushing the boundries "Popular" music, "Pop" was seen as more commercial, with an ephemeral and accessible feel. According to Simon Frith; "Pop music is produced as a matter of enterprise not art", is "designed to appeal to everyone" and "doesn't come from any particular place or mark off any particular taste". It is "not driven by any significant ambition except profit and commercial reward ... and, in musical terms, it is essentially conservative". It is, "provided from on high (by record companies, radio programmers and concert promoters) rather than being made from below ... Pop is not a do-it-yourself music but is professionally produced and packaged"
"Pop" has also made use of (as well as kick off) much in the way of "technological innovation". In the 1940s improved microphone design allowed a more intimate singing style, then the development of inexpensive and more durable 45 r.p.m. 7" singles revolutionized the manner in which pop has been presented to the general public. The 1950s and 60s bought the "Pop" star to the television and gave them a presence. The 1960s, also bought along inexpensive, portable transistor radios, which meant that teenagers began to listen to music outside of the home. Multi-track recording (from the 1960s); and digital sampling (from the 1980s) have also been utilised as methods for the creation and elaboration of pop music. By the early 1980s, the promotion of pop music had been greatly affected by the rise of Music Television channels like MTV, which favoured those artists who had a strong visual appeal.