What Music Are Students Listening To Now?

As music continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: its power to connect, inspire, and entertain.
21 September 2023

Today, a new wave of musical trends has taken over, inspiring and captivating young minds across the globe. College campuses and high schools alike echo the beats and rhythms of today’s chart-toppers. But what exactly are students tuning into these days?

Interestingly, if you look back a decade, musical trends were largely dictated by radio airplay and music television. However, today’s students have a wealth of digital platforms at their fingertips, shaping their musical preferences in more diverse ways. From Spotify playlists to Apple Music’s latest recommendations, the dynamic of discovering new tracks has become more personalized and expansive.

It’s no surprise that with the demands of modern academic life, students often turn to music as a source of relaxation, motivation, and inspiration. In fact, a recent survey conducted by thesisgeek.com discovered that almost 70% of students prefer listening to music while studying, suggesting a deep entwinement of academic pursuits and musical preferences.

One could even say that the beats per minute (BPM) in the tracks might correlate with the intensity of study sessions. Maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but music certainly plays a significant role in many student lives.

The Top Genres Students Are Vibing To

Hyperpop

Origins and Evolution: Emerging from the shadows of mainstream pop, Hyperpop is a vibrant, fast-paced subgenre. Distorted vocals, intense digital manipulation, and glitchy soundscapes give Hyperpop its unique sound. It represents a reaction against the polished, often overly-produced tracks of traditional pop, offering instead a raw and unpredictable musical journey.

Leading Figures: Charli XCX’s experimental projects and 100 gecs’ unpredictable beats make them undeniable figureheads in this realm. Other notable names include SOPHIE and AG Cook, whose works further defy boundaries and challenge conventional music norms.

Lo-fi and Chillhop

Ambiance over Lyrics: The hallmark of lo-fi is its soothing instrumental music. Lo-fi tracks often incorporate ambient noises, such as the hum of a coffee shop or the pattern of rain, making them ideal for background listening.

Popularity Among Students: With a growing emphasis on mindfulness and mental wellness, many students find solace in the calming embrace of Lo-fi and Chillhop. The repetitive, gentle beats aid concentration, making these genres a student favorite during study sessions.

Indie and Alternative Rock

Breaking the Mainstream Mold: Indie and Alternative Rock genres pride themselves on their departure from mainstream rock. They often experiment with unconventional instruments, intricate compositions, and poignant lyrics.

Notable Bands: While Tame Impala offers a psychedelic experience with its synth-driven tracks, Arctic Monkeys blend British rock with indie undertones. Both bands, among others, provide an auditory experience that’s as much about introspection as it is about melody.

K-Pop

Beyond Music – A Cultural Phenomenon: K-Pop is more than just music; it’s a blend of engaging visuals, intricate choreographies, and compelling narratives. The genre’s idols often train for years before debuting, mastering singing, dancing, and even multiple languages.

Diverse Range: While BTS and BLACKPINK might be the most globally recognized names, the K-Pop world is vast. Groups like Stray Kids, ATEEZ, and TWICE offer varied music styles within the genre, ensuring that there’s something for every kind of listener.

The Rise of Podcasts and Audiobooks

The New Age Radio: Podcasts are the modern equivalent of radio talk shows but with the freedom to delve deep into niche subjects. From true crime sagas like “Serial” to educational content like “Stuff You Should Know”, the world of podcasts caters to diverse tastes.

Audiobooks – Reading Evolved: With platforms like Audible making literature more accessible, students are turning to audiobooks, not just for academic texts but also for leisure reading. Narrations by famous personalities add an extra layer of engagement.

Social Media’s Impact

TikTok and Viral Hits: Gone are the days when music discovery was limited to radio or TV. TikTok has revolutionized how tracks go viral. A catchy hook or a danceable beat can quickly become a global phenomenon once it hits the TikTok charts. Artists like Doja Cat and Lil Nas X have witnessed meteoric rises, thanks to their songs becoming TikTok sensations.

A Democratic Music Scene: Social media platforms democratize music. Artists don’t need a record label; a viral moment on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok can be enough to launch a career. This has led to a more varied and dynamic music scene, driven by what the digital populace genuinely enjoys.

Social Media’s Impact

TikTok, the short-video platform, plays a pivotal role in dictating music trends. Songs that go viral on the platform often skyrocket in global charts. This phenomenon highlights the power of social media in shaping musical tastes.

Takeaway

Students today have a vast and varied musical landscape to explore. From genres that offer a deep dive into emotions to those perfect for a study break, the current musical era is diverse and inclusive. As suggested by the Billboard charts, the amalgamation of different genres and the influence of digital platforms are molding a unique musical future. The blend of old and new, mainstream and indie, ensures that this generation has something for every ear.

As music continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: its power to connect, inspire, and entertain. Whether you’re a student looking for the perfect track to accompany your study session or just someone keen on keeping up with the latest trends, the current music scene promises something for everyone.