Genre Wars – Further Analysis

What is the most popular Genre of music worldwide? If you are a producer are you backing a lame horse with the music you make? Should you switch styles if you are keen to make a living from making music?

In order to get an answer I took a high level look at Google Search Trends in this video, comparing the popularity of the search terms for genres of electronic music. The results were eye opening but it’s clear that at such a high level there may be some mis-representation. The tool itself allows more granular analysis so this blog post is chance to take look at the global picture of genre popularity from Google’s perspective since 2004 (ie this is not based on actual sales – it is based on search terms input into Google)

If you want more detail you can use the Limit To function. This breaks down the analysis into logical categories such as:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Autos & Vehicles
  • Beauty & Fitness etc

Selecting the broad category of Arts & Entertainment and a sub category of Music & Audio felt like a good level to improve the comparison. Dance and Electronic Music is available for more detail but I wanted to compare the popularity of Hip Hop and Rock to ‘Dance’ categories to get a more detailed barometer on what styles are popular worldwide.

Soulful vs Deep vs Electro

The first comparison I made was Soulful House vs Deep House vs Electro House.

soulful vs deep vs electro graph

This shows a recent downtrend in the overall dominant Electro House genre and a climb in popularity of Deep House, whilst the Soulful House genre overall is constantly a ‘niche’ style of music. Geographically South Africa is more interested in Deep House and Soulful House than other territories – both styles are hugely popular there relative to other regions. We’ve seen how South African artists such as Black Coffee have become hugely influential on the scene and here’s some data to back up why that may be.

Soulful House Geographic Breakdown

Soulful House Geo

Deep House Geo Breakdown

Deep House Geo

Electro House Geo Breakdown

Electro Geo

Trance vs Soulful vs Deep vs Electro

I’ve known Trance was popular for a long time worldwide. It was consistently one of the most requested styles to learn from students I taught at Point Blank. So I dropped it into the comparison and you can clearly see a huge dominance since 2004 but actually a slow decline. From my perspective I guessed this would be the case anyway as I hear less people talking about the style on social media etc.

trance vs soulful vs deep vs electro

The interesting thing is the Geo breakdown, showing the dominant territories of interest for the style. Those of you who are gigging Trance DJs, you know where to direct your agent 😉

Geo Breakdown for Trance.

trance geo

The incredible rise (and recent fall) of Dubstep

So here’s the big one, the monstrous (relatively recent) increase in popularity worldwide of the genre dubstep. Take a look at the results below and you’ll see its meteoric rise (followed by a quite rapid dip in the last year but still overall the genre is strong).


Geo Breakdown for Dubstep

dubstep geo

It’s a big one for sure but just for perspective I wanted to see how the king of the electronic genres compared with two other popular styles; Rock and Hip Hop.

Rock and Hip Hop

So in conclusion, remember this is NOT SALES DATA. It is all based on google searches. It’s clear which are the genres to produce in and if you’re a DJ you know where to head for those gigs! Have a play around for yourselves by visiting Google Search Trends now and let me know of your findings!


3 thoughts on “Genre Wars – Further Analysis

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  2. I don’t really agree with this post, you’re basing it on people that label their music as deep house or soulful house, a lot of people avoid giving their music a sub genre and just call it house, also there’s a lot of music called deep house that really isn’t deep house at all (think defected etc)

    This seems like a really vague way to compare genres of music, also surely the logic about what is the most ideal music to make (even though you should just make what you like and believe in) should be the opposite, if a genre is really popular then you’ll have a bit of success but it’s difficult to make a name for yourself or stand out since the genre is so saturated

    1. Well, this research is based on google search text strings so is never going to be 100% but it is a strong indicator of the worldwide public’s sentiment towards particular styles. Deep House as a genre is open to wide interpretation these days I agree. In an ideal world we’d sample genre data from online store sales; underground ones like traxsource, beatport etc and also commercial ones such as iTunes. I’m confident you’ll find (sadly) that soulful house isn’t very popular relative to other styles. If people plan on making a living from music (a lot of people ask me is it possible) it makes good business sense to make a style that is popular. If you do music production for a living it’s still a ‘job’ and you won’t enjoy every project but it might bring in enough money to live on. I’m just being practical here. I wonder how many UK producers on the soulful scene make enough money to live on from current releases? I doubt any can but would like to be proven otherwise.

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