The most popular music genre in the world

Image Credit: IFPI

A massive global study has revealed the most-listened music genre worldwide. Also – is 90s a genre?

In 2021 we take our easy access to a massive range of different types of music for granted. On streaming apps you can flick from garage rock to hyperpop in seconds. But, with all the world’s music available to us, what is the most popular genre of music?

The “Engaging with Music 2021” report by record label representatives IFPI gathered data from 43,000 people aged 16-64 in 21 countries around the world – so truly a global study. Here’s what they found out.


The Top 10 most popular music genres in the world

world's favourite music genres
Image Credit: IFPI

  1. Pop
  2. Rock
  3. 90s
  4. 80s
  5. Soundtracks
  1. Hip-Hop / Rap / Trap
  2. R&B
  3. Dance / Electronic / House
  4. 70s
  5. Soul / Blues

Arguably, some of the musical types listed aren’t what you’d call traditional genres –  “Soundtracks” for example could range from showtunes from musicals to instrumental movie orchestral scores. “90s” meanwhile includes subgenres of 90s grunge rock or Britpop.

90s-inspired music is certainly having a moment in 2021. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR and Beabadoobee’s Our Extended Play EP both drip with 90s guitar music nostalgia, whilst Lorde has openly acknowledged the obvious influence of Primal Scream’s 1990 track “Loaded” on her comeback single “Solar Power.”


IFPI also shared some examples of the most popular genres and where in the world their fans live. More than 300 genres were identified, being the favourite music of least one person.

Different types of music listened to around the world.
Image Credit: IFPI

It’s a snapshot of the scope and variety enjoyed around the world, with types of music ranging from K Trot and space disco to hokkien song.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive of the IFPI, said: “IFPI’s Engaging with Music 2021 paints a rich and diverse picture of the growing ways that fans enjoy music around the world… We also see the continued embrace and love of local genres, celebrated within the unique music cultures found in each country.”


The “Engaging with Music 2021” report is available for anyone to browse online. The report is wide-ranging, with interesting insights into where and how people listen to music and discover new artists. Check it out here.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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