Question: What is World Music?
Answer: Louis Armstrong once said, "All music is folk music; I ain't never heard a horse sing a song." Well, that standard applies pretty nicely to world music as well... I, for one, have never heard an alien play a song.
That said, when people talk about world music, they generally are referring to music that pretty much encompasses everything that doesn't fit comfortably onto an American Top 40 pop chart. From traditional ethnic music to foreign language pop music, the phrase "World Music" covers a whole lotta ground.
Therefore, fans of world music cover a whole lotta ground as well. The majority of fans are actually the members of the ethnic traditions from whence the music sprung. However, plenty of mainstream Westerners have world music leanings as well. Some may be fans of only one specific type of music, say, reggae or Celtic music. Others may be up for anything that comes along.
All in all, world music is considered just plain music to the vast majority of people in the world. Music is universal, and to discover the music of a culture is to discover the culture as a whole. As Agnes De Mile said, "The truest expression of a people is in its dances and in its music."
Original source of article: "What is World Music?" by Megan Romer, About.com