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“World” (or “World Music”) is a controversial classification often used in music marketing to easily discriminate different music from the anglophone genres (and even traditional anglophone Folk genres from more popular styles such as Rock, Pop, Jazz and Electronic music).
The term can thus encompass all the music ever created, from traditional African drumming and the extended qawwali singing of Pakistan’s Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through to rock’n’roll from Italy or Brazil. Indeed, as even the United States has its own traditional music styles (both those of the native population and those of more recent arrivals), the description is often used to refer to an even broader collection of music than that previously outlined. One music journalist has referred to “world music” as “someone else’s pop music”. Those who use of this classification display a breathtaking ignorance of the variety of music through history and around the world.
In recent years, music marketing has gradually moved away from the all-encompassing “world” style, a move made partly in response to the growing popularity of Jamaican reggae and other readily-identifiable former denizens of the “world” racks. The term is also erroneously used to refer to a genre of music which fuses Anglo-Saxon popular genres with non-Western music sources, the correct term for this style is worldbeat (or world fusion).