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Is Pop Music Good or Do We Just Learn to Love it?

| December 5, 2013 | 41 Comments
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California Gurls Music Video - Katy Perry

California Gurls Music Video – Katy Perry


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowPopMusic

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

Do you love pop music and if so, why? What are the ways that music gains meaning and appreciation, pop music or otherwise?

Introduction

The latest episode of Idea Channel explores the business side of pop music and asks how music becomes meaningful to you:

“Love or hate pop music, it’s pretty hard to escape. From Katy Perry to Lady Gaga, pop songs are recorded, packaged, and sold down a well worn pipeline, designed to make you, the listener, LOVE THIS SONG! But do you really? Does the song have real meaning, or is it just that they play it over and over and over and over again until it wears you down, until you can do nothing but… sing along.” -Idea Channel

Check out this video for some ideas about how music becomes pop(ular) and consider your own feelings about your favorite songs. How did you discover them and why are they meaningful to you?

Resource

PBS Idea Channel video Is Pop Music Holding You Hostage?
So is pop music holding you hostage? Watch the episode to find out!


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowPopMusic

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like animated GIFs or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

PBS Idea Channel video Is Miku Hatsune A More Authentic Pop Star Than Lana Del Rey?
Lana Del Rey might be The Girl Who Launched a Thousand Blog Posts but we think there might be something else really interesting here. How is it that she, a REAL PERSON, pales in Pop Star Comparison to a computer program? With the rise of Miku Hatsune, a computer generated pop star from Japan, and the recent kerfuffle surrounding Lana Del Rey’s album release, we take a look at what it means to be authentic in today’s music world. Is Miku Hatsune, a piece of software, more authentic than human being Lana Del Rey?

PBS Idea Channel video Are Mashups the End of Music Genres as We Know Them?
Some of the best things to be found on the internet are music mashups! It’s a strangely pleasing experience to listen to totally unrelated artists commingling on the same music track. Mashups are awesome because they break genre expectations, which makes us think: why have genres at all? Nowadays there’s so much cross-pollination in music and art, creating more and more sub-genres, that the larger genre categories are becoming a useless relic.

KQED Education video tutorial How to Make an Animated GIF
Animated gifs (also pronounced jiffs) are a type of file that have been around for a long time but have seen a recent resurgence in popularity. You can treat GIFs like still images in the way that you upload and share them, but they are animated, so they can behave like tiny little looping videos or slideshows. This video will take you through the process of making your own animated GIF.


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Category: Do Now: Art and Popular Culture

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About the Author ()

Kristin Farr produces arts videos for KQED and writes monthly features for Juxtapoz magazine. She lives in the East Bay, and her favorite color is all of them.
  • Chase Haller

    I think that we grow to stand some pop music but also truely like other songs or artists. For example, I’m not a Miley Cyrus fan (no offense to the weed smoking twerker) but I like a few of Katy Perry”s or Lady Gaga’s songs who many people would say are all similar artists. I think certain artists or songs connect to us in one way or another whether it is through emotion or what just sounds catchy. I personnaly really enjoy music by AC/DC or Eminem while working out but “artists” like Lil’ Wayne or Nikki Manaj will make me want to hurl my phone across the room when they come up on radio apps like Pandora or Spotify. So, in all I think that sometimes pop music is good in our own personal opinions but we also just learn to like it whether it’s because we think the artist(s) are hot or it gets stuck in our heads and we just can’t get it out so we just go with it and start to like it.

  • javier nunez

    i personally dont like pop music i think it is not good , i tryed it and never liked is so i couldent tell you if you could learn to love it . I do know a lot of people who love pop music but ive never asked them , also depends on the style of the pop cause ive heard some from some of my rappers and i sorta liked it .

  • Erick Marin

    Do you love pop music and if so, why? I don´t love it or like pop music.I think pop music is okay because sometime they some really good songs but sometimes some songs aren’t that good.

  • Tyler Ashbrook

    its not that the songs are played repeatedly until its stuck inside of our heads, really, most, if not all pop songs follow the same 4 note pattern. hundreds of thousands of songs all use this same beat. why? because it sounds familiar and that makes it sound “good.” go on youtube and look up vsauce and look for their video called will we ever run out of new music? one of the links will be to the axis of awesome, 4 chords where they play a 4 note beat and sing many popular songs based off it. most of which should sound familiar.

  • Brandon mastropietro

    Do you love pop music and if so, why? What are the ways that music gains meaning and appreciation, pop music or otherwise? I do not love pop music but I do like it it is not that bad. I like it because some of the songs are good. Most of the songs are catchy and is worth playing more than two times. Music gains meaning to people when the song describes someone’s past or what they are Going through now. When the song has a meaning and people see that meaning they can relate to it and like it more. When the song is good and catchy people will listen to it more and appreciate what the artist accomplished.

  • Guest

    I feel like we are forced to love this pop music because it is everywhere you go. You cannot really escape it even if you wanted to.beven if your at home and you don’t listen to it, maybe your siblings or mom might play it throughout the house.

  • Stheffane De Souza

    I personally love pop music, it’s everywhere around me. Most of the songs when they are played on the radio, I don’t really like them. It’s a new song and and I’m thinking to myself do I like this song? One of the preferred radio station kiss 108 plays all of the new and popular song a million times! Needless to say, it gets very annoying and it makes me start to hate the song. Every song that I hear at one point gets overplayed and loses its value. So after I heard the song a couple times enough to learn the lyrics and buy it in iTunes, the artists have already gained millions of money. Then it is time to move on to another hit pop song. Some pop songs do have meanings such as breakups or about love, but the people aren’t really looking at the meaning. If the song is catchy, it will stay in their mind and cause them to buy it on iTunes. Every time I’m in the car, the radio is on or even when I’m at home doing my homework I’m listening to music. Pop music is very hard to escape and that is why the artist earn millions. Popular tv songs play songs that are on the radio often! I may not have even liked the song at first but since I’m hearing it everywhere, it’s changes my opinion and I start to sing along to it. So yes in a way the audience is tricked into liking pop songs.

  • Kurt Medina

    I don’t think the genre of the song matters anymore these days. What does matter is, who is singing it and what are they saying in the song. You can hear a lot of repetition in parts of the song that will entice you to sing along because they are catchy and are impossible to avoid. They keep playing the same songs on the radio because of who is singing them and what they say. For example someone like Katy Perry will be put on the radio more often than a singer who is famous but not as famous as her.

  • Melissa Cucuzza

    I personally like pop music because I like Miley Cyrus, Katy perry, and a lot of pop singers and their songs. The way that pop music gains meaning is how people can relate some songs .Pop music pretty much is played everywhere you go. It’s usually on the kiss 108 radio station and on the tv sometimes with commercials of CDs that are out. Pop songs really has a catch to it also. The pop songs that have a catch usually go on iTunes and it becomes a hit and becomes popular.

  • Amanda Casucci

    I do enjoy some pop music. However, I don’t love pop music. I feel as though I like certain songs because I hear them so often. Music gains meaning and appreciation by allowing people to relate it to different events that have taken place in their lives. For example, if a specific song is playing when one experiences something significant, that song will forever hold a certain meaning to that person; they will be reminded of the major event that took place every time they hear the song. Specifically, pop music gains appreciation after it is played nearly everywhere; if it dominates most aspects of people’s lives, people are going to begin to grow fond of it.

  • Taylor

    I like the majority of pop music because it is upbeat and meaningful. There are also songs that tend to get stuck in my head whether I like them or not. That cannot necessarily be prevented if I am constantly hearing it through media. Most music gains meaning and appreciation through the lyrics of each song and the popularity according to the people. Hearing songs on the radio or buying them on iTunes is what helps specific music become well known. Everyone becomes involved through music in their own way. Depending on how you express yourself reflects your level of appreciation and connection with your favorite type of music. #barile #donowpopmusic

  • Ajay Matine

    Pop music has always been one of my favorite genres of music for as long as I can remember. The way pop artists from back in the day and in todays music have been able to grab their audiences attention has definitely been there strength, from catchy lyrics to just the beat of their songs get my individual attention for sure. But nowadays in society, people usually just end up liking songs mainly off of their catchy tunes, not even really knowing who the song is by or what the name of the song is. Record companies and pop artists make sure that they are producing songs that will be catchy, to not only younger age groups but adults also. #Barile

  • Ibrahim Dervisevic

    #Barile #DoNowPopMusic I do not believe we learn to love this pop music but I do believe we learn to stand this music because it is played all the time almost anywhere you go. Although you may not like the pop music today I’m sure everyone has sung along with a song that they never really like but they know the lyrics because of hearing it repeatedly . I personally don’t like the radio because they play what they want the people to hear and learn to stand it . People are aware of this music weather they want to or not because this is the “popular” music in today’s world . This music is what influences people and they can make people do whatever they want .

  • Christine Kolsky

    I think that you are forced to love the pop music. No matter where you go, it is played everywhere. So, in a way I grow on to the songs that are played. Most of the songs are catchy so they are just stuck in your head and that’s really annoying but, some how you always end up liking it in the end. #Barile #Donowpopmusic

  • Jacqueline Aut

    I am a huge fan of pop music, but after watching this video, it made me question my interest of it. Most of the pop songs that were released recently have no significant meaning to me or in general. Artists claim that all their songs were written to describe them and how their feeling, but unless it’s clearly shown in the song, there’s really no way of finding out the significance. As an audience, we hear a song once and get a feel for it because of the beat and the rhythm. We only say, “That’s my song!” because of how great it sounds, not because it has any meaning to us. I’ve now realized how easily manipulative we could be. No matter how bad a song is, it will still receive the most attention. #Barile #DoNowPopMusic

  • Edson Reyes

    Personally, pop music for me is one of the best things this world can offer. Pop music can have a huge influence in people’s lives. In the urban community pop music is recognized by everyone. For example, Drakes latest album “Nothing Was the Same” was a huge hit and within a week everyone was singing the lyrics and humming or whistling to the beat of the songs in the album. Pop music can bring people together in countless ways and can be one of the many ways to make new friends.
    #Barile #DoNowPopMusic

  • Jessenia Villa

    I’m not a big fan of pop music but I tend to know many pop songs; they’re played everywhere. Pop music is not the type of music I would listen to when I’m by myself, it’s just the type of music I hear when I go out, or even at my job. After listening to a song so often, it gets stuck in your head and you just think you like it. So yes, I feel we are somehow “forced” to like pop music. Some people truly love pop music but the rest, those who know the songs but don’t see the meaning of it, were probably surrounded on a daily basis by these songs. #Barile #DoNowPopMusic

  • Mpritchard456

    When the radio surrounds Miley Cyrus , Selena Gomez and Nicki Minaj. I honestly feel like ripping my ears out. I feel that the songs that are playing these days are played repeatedly that you have to learn to love it. For example, when I am walking around in a clothing store, the most recent pop songs are playing. There is no escaping it. You just have to learn to either block it out or enjoy it some way or another. #Barile#DoNowPopMusic

  • Israel Madrigal

    I personally hate pop songs. I think that they don’t have meaning as a song and that they’re really repetitive. People have to learn to love pop music because it seems really repetitive and boring until you hear it multiple times over and over and over again until it sticks in your mind and you think it’s good. Pop music seems to manipulate people into liking the song. Pop finds it’s meaning by how many times it’s sold and played on the radio like all songs. Also, how often people mention the song too is a form of appreciation. #Barile. #DoNowPopMusic

  • Jehan

    I like pop music because I think it makes me happy;however, I don’t love it. Even-though I like pop music, I don’t watch it too much because I think it will make me obsessed. In these days, some people feel like they have to watch it and know about pop music because it is popular, but I don’t feel that way. Pop Music is just for fun and joy for me, and I think that is how most of the people feel. It is not necessary to say that pop musics are bad; most of them are good, but some of them are bad. The good ones are the one that gives you good lessons. The bad ones are the one that gives you bad lesson, like Miley Cyrus’s new songs that has weird and nasty things for this generation. I think it is not respectful; in fact, it offenses the people around her. I also think that Music can gain meaning by the strong lyrics of the song and how accurate it will be for the viewers.#Barile and #DoNowPopMusic

  • Luis Martinez

    I sometimes listen to pop music when I’m in driving around, and I could see how arctics and producers use the radio to reach out to people. Some song stay on the radio for over mouths on end till it gets stuck in your head. We all at on point of our lives hated one song that gets played way too much. After we tell someone else about the hated song they go along with it and that song becomes a meaningful song. It creates an impression on you. Love it or hate it the song going to reach you one way or another. #DoNowPopMusic
    #Barile

  • Kevyn Madrigal

    I do like some pop songs for about a week or two. Until they get annoying because music radios overplay it. I like music that is not played in radios often because I can listen to them when ever I want. Radios force me to listen to a song over and over and over again. It gets very aggravating. Pop music is probably one of the best music genres. Pop music can easily have a strong meaning, but nowadays music is being produced to just produce. It is like people do not care what it means or who made it they just want a good beat or tune. So I will stick with my rock and 90s rap music until something is worthy of being listened to more than once or twice. #Barile #DoNowPopMusic

  • Leah Theoharis

    I don’t love pop music; it’s sickening to here and it’s what everybody likes, and I try to avoid what most people like,and I do believe that people are brainwashed into liking music by the mass media, and it’s like all people care about are celebrities as if they are so different because the media glamorizes them, but most of them aren’t interesting, and the artists probably have people helping the with the songs, and all the the beats are generic and it’s always about love and it is everywhere. Pop music is in stores,restaurants, television, the radio, everywhere, and people are missing out on better stuff. @#Barile@#DoNowPopMusic

  • Guest

    I personally love pop music. Yes, I’m a sucker for all things Gaga or Minaj and if you insult Miley Cyrus in front of me, watch out. I totally chalk it up to marketing and perfectly placed songs on the TV, radio, movies, etc. The people behind these songs are paid millions to find out how to get consumers to like their music and they’re very good at it. Most pop songs have no meaning at all, they’re nothing but a catchy tune coming out of a pretty face. However, that doesn’t stop any song by famous pop singers from being number one on the billboards. At the end of the day, however harmless, it is a form of brainwashing. These people know what make consumers tick and they use it to their advantage every chance they get.

  • Jennifer Martinez

    I personally love pop music. Yes, I’m a sucker for all things Gaga or Minaj and if you insult Miley Cyrus in front of me, watch out. I totally chalk it up to marketing and perfectly placed songs on the TV, radio, movies, etc. The people behind these songs are paid millions to find out how to get consumers to like their music and they’re very good at it. Most pop songs have no meaning at all, they’re nothing but a catchy tune coming out of a pretty face. However, that doesn’t stop any song by famous pop singers from being number one on the billboards. At the end of the day, however harmless, it is a form of brainwashing. These people know what make consumers tick and they use it to their advantage every chance they get. #Barile #DoNowPopMusic

  • Michael Salvo

    Do you love pop music and if so, why? For years, actually decades, pop music has tried to appeal to the people in that point in time. This can go back as far as the war-time jazz in the early 40s. Producers have always tried to promote what the era is craving. Right now this era is craving crap. There were times when pop music was suppose to be innovative and new. For example, The Beatles. Now I know I’m beating a dead horse, but look at what they did. They created something new, multiple things, and now people are trying to copy there style in the world of pop music. Making one or two songs that are Beatle-esque is a good move. But when you make it an underlying goal to sound almost exactly like them, you’re treading into waters that millions upon millions are trying make it there “unique” sound. Please, save it for the 20 year olds who think liking a band because they’re minimalistic and use mandolins, ukuleles, and have tempo changes in the middle of the songs which makes them “not mainstream”. If people have heard the song while on the toilet going on a YouTube trip, I’m sorry to burst your bubble… it’s mainstream. I’m not saying it’s bad, but come on, do something that doesn’t make me want to start throwing small animals into a wood chipper. #barileclass#donowpopmusic

  • Derek L

    I can listen to mostly any type of music but pop music is not at the top of that list. For me, it’s sad how music has evolved over the years. Now anyone can become a hit, which is not bad at all, but no one is original anymore. Studios mash up sounds until they have a catchy rhythm and then it’s one of the greatest songs. Then it’s the DJs jobs to drill it into your head until you get tired of switching stations and you just listen to it and begin to like it. This is why some songs are such a hit. Peoples’ tolerances are difference but eventually everyone gives in.

    • Jae Hun

      I agree with Derek. Now days, all the latest music has similar rhythm and it becomes a hit song if the rhythm is cathy. I honestly like pop music, but I am just sad about how pop music is becoming to rely on just rhythms.

  • Nikki J.

    Pop music sounds good but it isn’t always good music, but it sounds pleasant to the ear most of the time. It’s meant to be catchy and upbeat and make people want to listen to it more. Good music could be classified as music that was popular decades before, but good music is whatever a person’s personal preference is. It’s whatever people like to hear. I believe we have all learned to love pop music as it has evolved over time with us and our tastes have adapted to it.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/06/3108.html

  • Alex M

    It really just depends on your opinion. Pop music is good if thats what you enjoy. Personally, I don’t enjoy it, so it’s not good to me. Of course, you can’t really avoid hearing popular songs, so there are some I learn to love. A lot of Pop music is very catchy, but plenty is repetitive, unoriginal and uninteresting. But it all comes down to preference; people should listen to whatever they enjoy.

  • Caroline P

    Having a preference for pop music is not something that comes naturally to me, or other people. After hearing the song over and over again on the radio, the tune becomes catchy thus making me believe I “like” the song. Whether I really enjoy this song or not, i may never know. By hearing the song on repeat, I begin to love the song and the upbeat vibe that accompanies it. Pop music could not be classified as music as much as it can be classified as music that our brain is wired to enjoy.

  • Francesca Botto

    The liking or disliking music is completely subjective. What one may find enjoyable to listen to, another may not. I personally am not the biggest fan of pop music, however there are the occasional hits I download on my ipod. Despite what others say, the repetition of songs drives to dislike the music rather than enjoy it. I don’t think it forces me to “learn to love it”.

  • Young butter

    I think the reason music is being played on the radio cause they are popular.

  • Linda

    The liking or disliking music is completely subjective. What one may
    find enjoyable to listen to, another may not. I personally am not the
    biggest fan of pop music, however there are the occasional hits I
    download on my ipod. Despite what others say, the repetition of songs
    drives to dislike the music rather than enjoy it. I don’t think it
    forces me to “learn to love it”.

  • luis

    i think the reason music is being played on the radio is because its popular and decide if its going to make the money they want

  • Kiyaa

    it depends on what song it is cause some of pop songs are stupid and annoying but others are catchy and about something.

  • Freddy Kruger

    pop music should be listened on the radio heheheheheheheh

  • Young butter

    hbudbcuboidubclibzickdsbcivbiviubskjdb!@#$%^&*()_+=

  • Melissa Perry

    The reason any song is played on the radio is that people listen to it, they don’t change the dial. It’s supply and demand;well, without much an issue of supply.
    Pop songs are upbeat and repetitive, this makes them perfect for tasks such as exorcising and driving. The upbeat tempo keeps us pumped, or awake and alert. The repetitive chorus is easy to learn and sing along to, further engaging our minds. Pop music is not my first choice personally; but it is perfectly designed to be listened to while preforming menial tasks such as cooking or cleaning. Consequentially I have a playlist of select pop music I use while working. I have found that if I listen while I work I am faster, more productive and I enjoy myself more.
    And finishing my work faster gives me time to find a quiet patch of sunlight and read a favorite book, so, win-win.

  • Alis M.

    Pop music is extremely over played, however; some songs do deserve the credit. Although a lot of the songs become repetitive and obnoxious, there are the golden few that listeners just cannot get enough of. I am a fan of all different genres of music and I often find that the songs played on the pop radio station are the most annoying. Also, pop songs seem to be the most popular songs to dance to, making them more widely-known to the general public.

  • mike conto

    Yes, mainstream music is all about supply and demand. However, Theodore Adorno (1903-1969) made many great points over the course of his career saying that popular music is no longer art for this very reason, that the demand is manufactured and artificial. Likewise, the supply is always primarily pre-digested and formulaic That is to say that the listener already knows the song before he or she hears it. Any short moments of ‘new’ material constitute what he calls “pseudo-individuation”, which is really just a bare minimum of original, or improvised content to assure the listener that this song is new and meant for them.