The idea that some music genres should have more merit or recognition than others has been a topic of discussion for many years. It’s not uncommon to see people criticizing others for their music taste, yet it is rare to find someone who respects a specific genre they might not like. Despite the constant need to label music in terms of value (genres and subgenres), there is no basis for this debate. It all comes down to preference, and not necessarily to critical analysis.
We don’t need to venture too deeply into this theme to find a very evident example of this type of criticism. One of the oldest arguments is that classical music deserves more excellence and acknowledgment than current popular music. Nevertheless, many classical musicians agree that this commentary comes mainly from classical elitists (who believe all “modern” or recent forms of music are inferior). This discussion shouldn’t open the door to openly diminish one genre to praise another, but rather to accept and respect different tastes and opinions. This particular theme is subjective, whether we focus on the analysis of Rock, Pop, Kpop, HipHop, or R&B music. Asking 100 people to name their favorite food will lead to 100 different answers, yet it doesn’t mean we should compare those personal choices to find the “worse” one, as it is essentially a matter of preference.
The change in the popularity of some specific music genres over the years (such as the attention that used to be on Rock as opposed to the importance currently given to Pop music, especially on the radio) led some to believe Rock music had lost its influence. But the truth is that it continues to be consumed by the public. It wasn’t forgotten, nor will it ever be. Pop music gained more attention over the years, but it doesn’t equal being more worthy of mention and praise than another genre. The same way there was a moment where Disco music prevailed, Rock (and all its sub-genres) also had theirs. There is no denying that Pop has taken over the charts, but Rock didn’t disappear. Some might prefer one over the other, and some might listen to both and enjoy them equally, but no one should impose a hierarchy in terms of music.
Due to the rising popularity of Kpop in the worldwide music scene, many have chosen to diminish this genre by considering that popularity doesn’t equal good music. However, this point of view often comes from prejudice and unwillingness to listen to something new, and not necessarily from music analysis. A pop song in Korean is still a pop song, and it shouldn’t be considered less valuable. Disliking and hating a music genre without ever listening to it is the same as criticizing someone for writing with blue ink instead of black ink, and choosing to write only in pencil. Many have a biased opinion of an artist and the genre of music they produce, but there is no effort to form an honest opinion. Usually, the negative comments don’t come accompanied with an explanation, mostly because there isn’t one. This mindset results in considering a specific genre as less important or less worthy of recognition.
Musical preferences (or different music tastes) shouldn’t lead us to consider a particular genre better or worse than another, as it is subjective. Many factors influence our taste in music, one of them being our personality, which by itself answers all of the questions included in this ongoing discussion. It is personal, and no one holds the power of decision nor the “knowledge” to create a music hierarchy. There are no genres or subgenres of music better than others. It depends on personal preference.