Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: How many genres of music are there?

Let’s play a game. How many different genres of popular music can you name? In the early 50s, this was fairly easy. Country, folk, R&B, spiritual, classical, jazz, and a few others. But what about today after almost 70 years of fragmentation?

A guy named Glenn McDonald set out to map all the genres and sub-genres out there. How many do you think he found?  The answer: somewhere north of 2,500—and that number keeps growing. Along with all the usual suspects—metal, shoegaze, grunge, punk and so on—he got deeper into all sorts of micro-micro subtypes.

For example, have you ever heard of blackgaze? Or deep filthstep? Labratorio? Charred death? Skweee? This map he put together is fascinating.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37993 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: How many genres of music are there?

  • Kudos on your bass player selections. Most impressed you have Jah Wobble on there. I had the luck and perfect timing to see the legend in a little Portland club, Mississippi Studios back in 2019 with a buddy who turned me onto PIL and Jah’s Radioaxiom: A Dub Transmission to, be exact, years ago. Jah and his band were amazing, playing quite a few songs from this period. As I recall he was very engaging and also quite funny, at least on that night he was. After that show, we got to talking with two girls in the adjoining bar, turns out they had two extra tix for the Drive By Truckers the next night, Saturday, and offered them to us, I jumped at the chance. The Truckers are one of my all time favourite bands. Show was awesome, raced home Sunday to see them that night at the Rickshaw in Vancouver. Three great nights in a row.
    I’d love to hear you do something on the Gun Club and/or Kid Congo Powers sometime, both played together at one time and are so under appreciated.
    Enjoy the holidays, Merry Christmas to you and your wife.


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