1990's Music

Music 1990's.mp4

Music in the 1990's

Music in the 1990's was all about the commercialization of music. Even alternative and rock bands got in on the action with stars like Hootie and the Blowfish getting their music in television commercials and bands like Nirvana and Sound Garden were getting play time on the radio and took MTV by storm with their cutting edge music video. The music industry was thriving in the 1990's and artists were making more money than ever. Niche marketing allowed artists to find and capture their audience easier and technology made listening to music more accessible. This would eventually lead to a battle with music piracy as Americans resisted the rising price of music and embraced technology that allowed them to circumvent the industry.

Teen Pop also emerged during the 1990's and really only existed in the late 1980's, late 1990's and early 2000's. Many teen pop stars got their start as child actors on Disney programming like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera who were all on The Mickey Mouse Club together as young children and continued their success into the music genre. The success of these artists would lead to a new era of crossover child stars in the 2000's who get their start on a Disney kids show and transition to music as their audience grows up - examples of this include stars like Drake, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus.

In the 1990's being a music star means being a superstar, you set trends, appear on shows and earn huge amounts of money. For the most part the 1990's brought great success to the music industry and further cemented it's place in the heart of American Pop Culture.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 2: Explore the provided images and attached links for music during the 1990's (35 minutes)

Music was a great representation of the changing preferences of Americans around the country in the 1990's. As music became increasingly intertwined with product commercialization and the rapidly expanding influence of television and entertainment the 1990's introduced a new era of music.

  • Take some time to listen to the music of the decade and messages they are sharing

  • Explore beyond the musical examples provided on this page

  • At the end of class you will be asked to share some of what you discovered

    • What are three things you learned as you explored the music of the 1990’s?

    • What is ONE (1) similarity to the music of the previous decade?

    • What is ONE (1) major shift from the music of the previous decade?


Teen-Pop is a style of music in the late 1980s and 1990's that was a successful form of commercial music written for and consumed mostly by adolescents and pre-adolescents. Music and lyrics represent a system of meanings that consumers may use to define their self-concept and personal and social identities. (https://celebmix.com/the-10-most-catchy-90s-teen-bopper-tunes/ )


Brittney Spears

Backstreet Boys

Rap / Gangster Rap

The 1990s started with gangsta-rap frenemies Ice Cube and Eazy-E forging their own paths, with former NWA band mate Dr Dre innovating G-Funk through his monumental 1992 release, The Chronic. This evolved into an epic East Coast-West Coast feud, during which time Puffy Daddy, Jay Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and Eminem all found fame. In fact, Snoop Dogg's "Doggy-style" album became the first time an artist’s first album debuted at No.1. (https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/90s-music/ )

Vanilla Ice


The Notorious B.I.G


In the 1990s, a great deal of music which had been considered underground, punk, or just plain weird in the 1980s could suddenly be found in the mainstream; playing on commercial television, on the radio, in shopping centers and sporting arenas. By the decade’s end, alternative music was both triumphant and meaningless. Its stars played to massive crowds and its music was used to sell cars on television. It had integrated itself completely into the media spectacle, and could no longer reasonably claim to be offering an alternative to it. (https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/intothemusic/nineties-rock-an-alternative-history/5888302 )

Hootie and the Blowfish

Sister Hazel

The Bodeans

Grunge / Punk Rock

The biggest curveball that 1990s music threw us was, of course, grunge. In the lead up to its inflection point, guitar-based music roughly fell into three categories: alternative rock, classic-rock standbys and an already-dimming hair metal scene. The larger impact of grunge on 1990s music was that it normalized what was once deemed counter cultural. Suddenly, middle-of-the-road music listeners were nudged towards exploring what was once considered the domain of indie-music fans, who initially viewed these newcomers as interlopers. (https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/90s-music/ )

Pearl Jam


Sound Garden