How music has changed since the 80s


The 1980s were a time of change. The emergence of dance music and new wave, not to mention the appearance of MTV and music videos.

Whilst visuals were experimented with, sounds were also experimented with, creating sub genres like heavy metal, hard rock, and glam metal leading to acts like Guns n’ Roses and Bon Jovi.

Hip-Hop also appeared with artists such as Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Slick Rick. The genre would continue to grow in popularity until the present day.

By the 1990s there were plenty of sub genres that were quietly bubbling in the 1980s underground scenes that acquired commercial success and fame. The 90s became renowned for its variety and diversity: from Grunge, Britpop, Boy and Girl Groups, R&B, East Coast and West Coast Hip Hop to name a few.

The 2000s brought about a change to how we would listen to music forever, where music production went from less live instrumentation to more of a digital sound. The rise in popularity of mp3 and the occurrence of the music sharing program Napster. The predecessor to the Apple Musics, Soundclouds, Spotifys and Tidals that we have in the world today.

Napster was the very first free internet song sharing music service, and it was the hype of downloaders everywhere. It was the start of the change that shook the music world and impacted it forever.

By the time 2010s came around, the way we listened to music had changed and artists responded to these changes. Song lengths were changed to 3 minutes less. Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang,” which attained the number three spot on Billboard Hot 100 (2017), was just two minutes and four seconds long, the shortest top 10 song since the year 1975. Language barriers were crossed with many english speaking commercial acts having an international act featured on their hits, take for example “Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It”.

Going through to the present day, social media and content is king, with many songs boosting to the top of the charts with a dance accompaniment for Tik Tok. Not only that but artists have gained following beyond music with their personalities and online presence using forums such as Instagram Live, take Tory Lanez’s quarantine radio for example.

All in all, music and it’s scene transforms constantly. It will be interesting to see how it continues to advance and expand for the next 40 years.

Written by Jonathan