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A sub-genre of the New Wave pop/rock music genre that was popular in the 1980s.  New Wave emphasized short, uptempo songs with catchy melodies and lyrics, and synth pop adopted these general values.  Artists and bands in the genre divided into two general groups: those that used synths almost exclusively (examples included Human League, Soft Cell, and Gary Numan), and those that used synths in combination with conventional rock instruments (such as The Fixx and The Cars).

Two factors played into the rise of synth pop.  By the late 1970, some synth models that were produced in the early '70s were being replaced by their original owners, and were becoming available at low prices on the used market.  Additionally, newly developed polyphonic synths, which were more suitable for the live-performance ethic of the genre, were becoming available at lower prices thanks to the use of integrated circuits from Curtis and SSM in their designs, putting them within financial reach of younger, less wealthy musicians.  The first practical drum machines were also appearing at this time, which made it possible for the all-synth bands to perform the material they wanted to do.  

Synth pop evolved rapidly until about 1988, when the entire New Wave genre began to fade in popularity.  Synth pop indirectly played into the development of electronica.  How did this come about?  The folk-influenced bands of the 1990s rejected synth as "unnatural".  That left a lot of synth and keyboard performers, with gear, looking for something else to do, and many of them were attracted to electronic dance music.

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