Originally conceived in the 1970s, synthpop is an extension of the New Wave movement that paralleled and provided an alternative to the punk rock movement. As one expects, the synthesizer is the central focus of synthpop music, but in synthpop no effort is made to make the synthesizer imitate the sounds of acoustic instruments. Song structures follow a traditional pop structure of verse-hook-chorus, and the music follows repetitive melodic and rhythmic patterns. The artificiality of the synthesizer is celebrated, and vocals are often monotone and processed to sound more robotic.
Early contributors to the synthpop sound came from around the world--the German Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream; British artists Ultravox, Gary Numan, and Brian Eno; Frenchman Jean Michel Jarre; and Japanese pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra. As the years went on and synthpop has evolved with improving technology and increasing sophistication, labels such as Mute Records, A Different Drum, Memento Materia, and Alfa Matrix have all been instrumental in keeping the genre alive.
Synthpop has been the basis of many other dark electronica genres such as futurepop, EBM, and electroclash.