This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Teen pop" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Teen pop is a subgenre of pop music that is created, marketed and oriented towards preteens and teenagers.[1][7] Often, the artists themselves are teenagers during their breakout. While it can involve influences from a wide array of musical genres, it remains a subset of commercial pop, focusing on catchy melodies and marketability.[7] Teen pop’s lyrics emphasize themes that teenagers can relate to, such as love, growing up, or partying.[4] The image of the artist as an aspirational or desirable teenage figure is a crucial element of the genre, highlighting their visual appeal.[8]

Despite facing criticism for being perceived as inauthentic or overly commercial, teen pop has remained a defining genre in the music industry. Today, it continues to dominate commercial markets with artists such as Olivia Rodrigo and Tate McRae. The genre's popularity can be attributed to teenagers' disposable income, which they often devote to purchasing singles, albums, and merchandise. The impact of the teen pop genre extends beyond the music industry into culture, influencing fashion, language, and social trends.[9] Teenage fans often develop a parasocial relationship with their idols, believing that the artist cares about them and their fellow fans.[8] The intense connection between teen pop artists and their young audiences has had a profound effect on the psychological nature of teenagers, shaping their self-image and cultural identity.[10]


Structurally, teen pop may include influences from a variety of other genres, such as R&B, rock, electronic, or hip hop.[1][2] Usually, it includes catchy repeated chorus lines,[11] Auto-Tuned or pitch-corrected vocals, and upbeat melodies.[4]

Appealing to adolescents, the lyrical content of teen pop usually involves themes teenagers can or aspire to relate to, such as young love, partying, high school social hierarchies, and often incorporate sexual inneundo.[12] An element of visual appeal is integral to teen pop, with teen idols usually being an object of desire or aspiration to their fans, often by cultivating an image of being a girl/boy next door.[13] Stylish fashion, popular hairstyles, and choreographed dance crazes are important commercial elements of teen pop.[8]

According to AllMusic, teen pop "is essentially dance-pop, pop, and urban ballads" that are marketed to teens, and was conceived in its contemporary form during the late 1980s and 1990s, pointing out the late 1990s as "arguably the style's golden era."[1]'s Bill Lamb described teen pop sound as "a simple, straightforward, ultra-catchy melody line [...] The songs may incorporate elements of other pop music genres, but usually they will never be mistaken for anything but mainstream pop. The music is designed for maximum focus on the performer and a direct appeal to listeners."[7]

In Crazy About You: Reflections on the Meanings of Contemporary Teen Pop Music (2002), Phillip Vannini and Scott M. Myers write that teen pop songs "are targeted to youths presumably unaware and unconcerned with the problems of everyday society. Youths are symbolized as mainly in growing up while having a good time."[10] Some authors deemed teen pop music as "more disposable, less intellectually challenging, more feminine, simpler and more commercially focused than other musical forms."[4] In Music Scenes: Local, Translocal and Virtual, author Melanie Lowe wrote that teen pop "is marked by a clash of presumed innocence and overt sexuality, a conflict that mirrors the physical and emotional turmoil of its primary target audience and vital fan base: early-adolescent middle-and upper middle-class suburban girls."[14]


Teen pop has a rich and evolving history that extends beyond its commercial success. [15] Characterized by its simple, catchy melodies and mainstream appeal, teen pop has been a staple of the Music industry since the 1940s, with artists like teen idol Frank Sinatra paving the way. However, it wasn't until the late 1980s and early 1990s that the genre experienced a significant resurgence, coinciding with the widespread use of the term "Teen Pop" to describe this particular style of music.

[16]This revival came after a period of decline in the late 1970s and early 1980s when teen-oriented pop faded due to the rising popularity of Punk rock and Disco. Disco becoming popular from the United States' city nightlife scene, and punk rock from its lyrics focus on themes of rebellion against Authority and the Establishment. [17] [18] Nevertheless, the early 2000s marked a peak in pop dominance, with teen pop becoming even more popular. Artists like Britney Spears became iconic figures, influencing not only music but also fashion trends of the 2000s.[19]


20th century

Teen-oriented popular music had become common by the end of the swing era, in the late 1940s, with Frank Sinatra being an early teen idol.[4] However, it was the early 1960s that became known as the "golden age" for pop teen idols, who included Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Lulu and Ricky Nelson.[7] During the 1970s, one of the most popular preteen and teen-oriented acts was the Osmonds,[7] where family members Donny and Marie both enjoyed individual success as well as success as a duo apart from the main family (Donny also recorded with his brothers as the Osmonds).

The first major wave of teen pop after the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s occurred in the mid to late 1980s, with artists such as Menudo, New Edition, the Jets, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Martika, New Kids on the Block[1][7] and Kylie Minogue.[20] In the early 1990s, teen pop dominated the charts until grunge and gangsta rap crossed over into the mainstream in North America by late 1991. Teen pop remained popular in the United Kingdom with the boy band Take That during this period, until the mid-1990s when Britpop became the next major wave in the UK, eclipsing the style similar to how grunge did in North America.[1]

Britney Spears is credited for revitalizing the genre with her best-selling debut and sophomore studio albums, earning her the title of Princess of Pop.

In 1996, British girl group Spice Girls released their debut single "Wannabe", which made them major pop stars in the UK, as well as in the US the following year. In their wake, other teen pop groups and singers rose to prominence, including Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Robyn, All Saints, S Club 7, Five, B*Witched, and Destiny's Child.[1][7] In 1999, the success of teenaged pop singers Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore marked the development of what AllMusic refers to as the "pop Lolita" trend,[1][7] sparking the short careers of upcoming pop singers such as Willa Ford, Brooke Allison, Samantha Mumba, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mikaila, Amanda, Nikki Cleary and Kaci Battaglia. In 2001, artists like Aaron Carter, Swedish group A-Teens, girl groups 3LW, Play, Eden's Crush and Dream and boy bands O-Town, B2K and Dream Street were teen pop artists who achieved success. In Latin America, successful singers and bands appealing to tweens and teens were Sandy & Junior,[21] RBD[22] and Rouge.[23] According to Gayle Ward, the demise of this late 1990s teen pop was due to:

1990s and early 2000s teen pop artists eventually entered hiatuses and semi-retirements (*NSYNC, Dream, Destiny's Child) or changed their musical style, including the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, 3LW and Aaron Carter.[7] Many teen artists starting incorporating genres such as pop rock, contemporary R&B and hip-hop. B2K were a hip hop/pop/R&B group consisting of four teenage black boys, and were considered a boy band, though they were only active from 2000 to 2004. Their style of music was very different from other teenage artists, sounding more mature than the typical boy band, though all members were in their mid-teenage years at the time.

21st century

Justin Bieber is credited for creating a renewed interest in the genre and in the male teen idol with his debut EP My World. He is widely referred to as the Prince of Pop and the King of Teen Pop.

In the mid to late 2000s, teenage singers such as Rihanna and Chris Brown achieved success, indicating new relevance of teen-oriented pop music.[7]

In 2005, AKB48 was created to promote idol culture and Japanese pop nationwide and overseas followed by the expansion of sister groups and rival groups locally and internationally over the years. In 2016, SNH48, as AKB48's second international sister group, announced its local Chinese sister groups like BEJ48, GNZ48, SHY48 and CKG48 to integrate idol culture with a Chinese twist.

The emergence of Canadian singer Justin Bieber created a renewed interest in teen pop, especially of the traditional male teen idol. With the release of his debut seven-track EP My World on December 5, 2009, he became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album chart on the Billboard Hot 100.[25] Since his debut, Bieber has played a key role in influencing modern popular culture and has sold over 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.[26][27]

Finnish pop singer Robin Packalen performing at the 2015 Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu, Finland

In 2010, the creation of Ark Music Factory helped contribute a new generation of teen pop artists via the Internet, such as Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose, despite major criticism with these artists due to the excessive use of auto-tune. As for Japanese teen pop culture, the category of "idol" was playing an important role. Momoiro Clover Z is ranked as number one among female idol groups according to 2013–2017 surveys.[28]

By the late 2010s, K-pop artists such as BTS and Blackpink, attained international stardom in teen pop culture.[29] Having sold over 4.7 million copies, Map of the Soul: 7 by BTS is the all-time best-selling album in South Korea. BTS is the first Asian and non-English-speaking act to be named International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Global Recording Artist of the Year (2020).[30] The group was featured on Time's international cover as "Next Generation Leaders" in 2018 and are recognised as the "Princes of Pop".[31]

Other noteworthy artists include Taylor Swift, an influential figure in contemporary teen pop music, emerged onto the scene as a teenage country artist in the mid-2000s and progressively transitioned to mainstream pop. She quickly became one of the most influential and highest-grossing artists of her generation with multiple Grammy Awards, best-selling album sales, and record-breaking hits. On top of her musical achievement, Taylor Swift also has an immense cultural impact as she has been a vocal advocate for artists’ rights within the music industry. By leveraging the power of her commercial success and undefiable fan support, Taylor Swift constructed a solid platform to denounce injustices regarding the value of creative labour in the digital age. She has been especially instrumental in the reform of policies concerning the fair compensation of artists on music streaming services. Taylor Swift is regarded as “not only a highly successful artist but as an emblematic figure whose very success validates the potential of old-industry structures to both challenge and adapt to the demands of a new economic environment.” [32] Swift continues to push boundaries and redefine the pop landscape in monumental ways.

One Direction, a British-Irish boy band that formed on the UK version of ‘The X Factor’ in 2010 is the most profitable boy band of all time. [33]Composed of members Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, and Zayn Malik. The group swiftly rose to colossal stardom after its debut and eventually became synonymous with the global trend of teen pop culture in the early 2010s, a phenomenon deeply rooted in the age of Twitter. [34] One Direction’s fame ignited a fan frenzy among their predominantly female fan base to a magnitude such that it has been compared to the “Beatlemania” era of the 1960s. [35] Building on the craze of the American boy bands of the 1990s and early 2000s of NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and later the Jonas Brothers, [36] the One Direction teen idols redefined the concept of the boy band and its legitimacy by shedding the image of the manufactured idol and embracing their authenticity.[33] They created a new wave of the boy band genre that directly contributed to the emergence of other artists such as 5 Seconds of Summer.[37] Despite their indefinite hiatus in 2015, One Direction has a cemented place in the annals of pop music history and its members continue to pursue solo music careers.

More recently, a major teen pop artist has dominated the stage. Olivia Rodrigo is a singer song-writer who has dominated the teen pop scene since the 2020s. Emerging as a teenage Disney star, she swiftly transitioned into pop music to draw from her personal experiences to weave narratives of love, heartbreak and self-exploration. Olivia Rodrigo’s rise to fame can be attributed to her prominence on platforms such as TikTok where she became viral after releasing her first single “Driver’s License” in 2021. [38]Jessica Sage Rauchberg even affirms that “TikTok is foundational to Rodrigo’s success”.[38]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Teen Pop Music Genre Overview AllMusic Staff. AllMusic. Retrieved June 23, 2018
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Greene, Doyle (10 January 2014). Teens, TV and Tunes: The Manufacturing of American Adolescent Culture. McFarland. ISBN 9780786489725.
  3. ^ Marshall, Britnee (October 24, 2012). "What is Synthpop?". KSJS. Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Pop Cult: Religion and Popular Music Till, Rupert (2010)
  5. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (April 6, 2006). "Mariah Carey's Record-Breaking Career". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 17, 2020. And young white pop stars—including Britney Spears, 'N Sync, and Christina Aguilera—have spent much of the past ten years making pop music that is unmistakably R&B.
  6. ^ "Britney Spears: Sexpot or virginal teen?". Entertainment Weekly. November 14, 2001.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lamb, Bill. "Teen Pop" Archived 2011-02-23 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c Jasmine, Lucretia Tye (2023-10-05). '70s Teen Pop. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 978-1-5013-8352-6.
  9. ^ Welch, Graham F.; Biasutti, Michele; MacRitchie, Jennifer; McPherson, Gary E.; Himonides, Evangelos (2020). "Editorial: The Impact of Music on Human Development and Well-Being". Frontiers in Psychology. 11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01246. hdl:11343/241720. ISSN 1664-1078. PMID 32625147.
  10. ^ a b "Crazy About You : Reflections on the Meanings of Contemporary Teen Pop Music". Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  11. ^ Vannini, Phillip; Myers, Scott M. (2002). "Crazy About You: Reflections on the Meanings of Contemporary Teen Pop Music". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Vannini, Phillip; Myers, Scott M. (2002). "Crazy About You: Reflections on the Meanings of Contemporary Teen Pop Music". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Higashi, Sumiko (2014), Higashi, Sumiko (ed.), "Debbie Reynolds", Stars, Fans, and Consumption in the 1950s: Reading Photoplay, New York: Palgrave Macmillan US, pp. 47–56, doi:10.1057/9781137431899_4, ISBN 978-1-137-43189-9, retrieved 2024-03-21
  14. ^ Music Scenes: Local, Translocal, and Virtual. Vanderbilt University Press. 2004. doi:10.2307/j.ctv17vf74v. ISBN 978-0-8265-1451-6. JSTOR j.ctv17vf74v.
  15. ^ "Teen Pop Music: A Guide". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  16. ^ "Teen Pop Music: A Guide". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  17. ^ "A Short History of How Punk Became Punk: From Late 50s Rockabilly and Garage Rock to The Ramones & Sex Pistols | Open Culture". Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  18. ^ "Disco | Origins, Genres & Cultural Impact | Britannica". 2024-03-09. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  19. ^ "Teen Pop Music Subgenre Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  20. ^ True, Chris. "Kylie Minogue Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. ...took her out of the stifling world of teen pop...
  21. ^ In their Brazilian homeland, dynamic teen siblings Sandy & Junior are a million-selling phenomenon. Billboard
  22. ^ RBD’s Life Is a Mexican Soap Opera in More Ways Than One The New York Times (July 17, 2006)
  23. ^ South America Loves it's 'Popstars' Billboard (via Google Books)
  24. ^ Wald, Gayle. "'I Want It That Way': Teenybopper Music and the Girling of Boy Bands" Archived 2002-08-10 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 27, 2008.
  25. ^ Hombach, Jean-Pierre (February 22, 2012). "Justin Bieber (Introduction)". Justin Bieber. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. p. 8. ISBN 978-1470126797.
  26. ^ McIntyre, Hugh. "Justin Bieber Is No Longer Just A Pop Star, He's Proven He Can Do Anything". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-10-09.
  27. ^ Collins, Kat (12 December 2019). "Ed Sheeran, Drake and Justin Bieber: What were they doing 10 years ago?". BBC News. Retrieved 2021-10-09.
  28. ^ "ももクロ、初のAKB超え タレントパワーランキング". Nihon Keizai Shimbun (in Japanese). 24 June 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
    タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese) (June, 2013). Nikkei BP: 48–49. 2013-05-04.
    タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese) (June, 2014). Nikkei BP. 2014-05-02.
    タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese) (June, 2015). Nikkei BP. 2015-05-02.
    タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese) (June, 2016). Nikkei BP. 2016-05-04.
    タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese) (June, 2017). Nikkei BP. 2017-05-04.
  29. ^ Vogue, Teen (18 December 2020). "The Best K-Pop Moments of 2020". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  30. ^ Brandle, Lars (4 March 2021). "BTS Crowned IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2020". Billboard. Archived from the original on 10 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  31. ^ Herman, Tamar (11 October 2018). "BTS Make Time Magazine's 'Next Generation Leaders' List: 'We Are Spreading Korean Culture as Its Representatives'". Billboard.
  32. ^ Théberge, Paul (2021). "Love and Business: Taylor Swift as Celebrity, Businesswoman, and Advocate". Contemporary Music Review. 40 (1): 41–59. doi:10.1080/07494467.2021.1945227.
  33. ^ a b Tiffany, Kaitlyn (13 December 2016). "How One Direction Stayed the World's Biggest Band Even After it Stopped Existing". The Verge.
  34. ^ Santero, Nicole Kelsey (2016). ""Nobody Can #DragMeDown": An Analysis of the One Direction Fandom's Ability to Influence and Dominate Worldwide Twitter Trends". University of Nevada: 7.
  35. ^ Santero, Nicole Kelsey (2016). ""Nobody Can #DragMeDown": An Analysis of the One Direction Fandom's Ability to Influence and Dominate Worldwide Twitter Trends". University of Nevada: 8–9.
  36. ^ Lyons, Annie (2020). "One Direction Infection: Media Representations of Boy Bands and their Fans". University of Texas at Austin: 23–24.
  37. ^ Lyons, Annie (2020). "One Direction Infection: Media Representations of Boy Bands and their Fans". University of Texas at Austin: 26.
  38. ^ a b Rauchberg, Jessica Sage (26 July 2022). "A different girl, but she's nothing new: Olivia Rodrigo and posting imitation pop on TikTok". Feminist Media Studies. 22 (5): 1291. doi:10.1080/14680777.2022.2093251.