While Jews may dominate the business side of the music industry, their accomplishment on the creative side has been more uneven.
They have always had an outsized influence among rock groups, although typically in the angsty misfit genres, such as heavy metal, punk, and alternative (Lou Reed, Kiss, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, the Ramones, NOFX, Bad Religion, etc.). Despite their participation in adversarial African-derived genres like rap (the Beastie Boys) and ska (the Selecter, the Specials), as well as aloof / too-cool black genres like Midcentury jazz (Stan Getz), they scarcely took part in the more agreeable genres within black music like R&B and disco. And where mainstream pop ranges in tone from cheerful to longing, the range of Jewish crooners is less sympathetic to the listener, ranging instead from schmaltzy to complaining (Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Carly Simon, etc.).
They are well represented in genres where the relationship between the performer and the audience takes the form of spectator and spectacle, but are no-shows in genres where the performer is more of a background instigator trying to work the audience members up into a participatory activity among themselves, such as dancing.
Aside from reflecting the Tribe's well known tendencies toward neurosis, these differences also show their inclination toward the verbal and psychological (whether cerebral or emotional) and away from the corporeal and kinesthetic. Dancing takes as much basic body coordination as other salt-of-the-earth pastimes like playing sports, hunting, fishing, and camping -- all activities that the mentally oriented Jews find awkward and off-putting.
You really notice the absence of Jews in cheerful, danceable pop music when you listen to an '80s compilation. I usually listen to albums by a single group, where broad patterns in the genre are not so evident. But with the much larger sample size on the compilation I was listening to the other day, I was struck by how few of the groups I'd seen on lists of Jewish cultural figures.
Pursuing that hunch, I perused several lists (such as this one and this one), and did my own search of musicians whose Wikipedia articles mention them being Jewish and being a singer or musician in the new wave, synthpop, disco, or dance-pop genres. This restricts the focus from roughly the '70s through part of the '90s, when dancing was a popular activity.
The hunch panned out, with hardly any Jews in the more dance-oriented genres, unlike their heavy influence in rock and crooner pop.
In all of disco, there was only a single Jew -- Steven Greenberg, who founded the multiracial act Lipps Inc., the one-hit wonder known for "Funkytown".
Likewise in new wave, I could only find one confirmed Jew -- Nick Feldman, the bass player and half of the core duo of Wang Chung, who had a string of hits but are best known for "Everybody Have Fun Tonight". Jon Moss, the drummer for Culture Club, was adopted by a Jewish family from a Jewish-run orphanage, but I couldn't find a source that said his birth parents were themselves Jewish. Indeed, when asked in a recent interview if the orphanage accepted goys, he replied only with, "Probably, yeah," as though he himself is unsure of his genetic background.
Nor did the gods of synthpop treat the Jews as their chosen people. There's only one, and a halfie at that -- Pete Burns from Dead or Alive, who had a few hits but are best known for the dance classic "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)". One of the members of Army of Lovers, whose biggest hit was "Crucified" in 1991, comes from an Algerian Jewish family, but I'm talking about the Ashkenazim here.
Paula Abdul was a dance-pop star throughout the late '80s and early '90s, though she too is Sephardic on her Syrian father's side (and Ashkenazi on her mother's side). I suspect her success owes more to the part of her blood that comes from the belly-dancing world rather than the tax-farming world. Taylor Dayne, however, is fully European Jewish; her song "Tell It to My Heart" from 1987 is the beginning and end of the story of Askhenazi dance-pop.
My search also turned up a handful of Jewish musicians listed under "new wave," but they're from the bands that were mostly playing rock, punk, and ska, with only a hint of disco, dance, and synth-rock -- the Knack, Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian from the Hooters, Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles, and Danny Elfman from Oingo Boingo.
A tougher case to call is Blondie, whose guitarist (Chris Stein) was Jewish. They started off as a stripped-down punk and power pop band, and gradually evolved into a more eclectic style that mixed in synth-rock, reggae, disco, and rap. They were more of a bridge between the punk and new wave scenes, maybe proto-new-wave. Whatever you want to classify them as, they deserve an honorable mention in this survey.
Throughout human history, dance and music were two sides of the same coin, and only relatively recently has music become primarily passive on the audience's part, whether it's elite classical music or generic radio-friendly crap. Dancing is a group activity that bonds members together, giving music a key role in creating and maintaining a sense of community. Contemporary pop music that sets the stage for carefree dancing is an attempt to preserve those traditional roles of music.
Thus, the relative absence of Jews in dance music is part of their broader hesitation as culture-makers to create a more cohesive group-iness among their host population. (Please no retarded comments about the debt that Gentiles owe to all those schmaltzy Jewish winter-time tunes that don't have anything to do with Christmas.) They don't mind making a buck off of it as managers and record label executives, but actually creating it themselves -- too awkward, yucky, and shameful. Moving your body around in dance is fit only for the half-animal goyim, beneath what appeals to the mind of the mensch.