Kraftwerk (German pronunciation: [ˈkʀaftvɛɐk], "power station") is a German electronic and pop music band formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1969 in Düsseldorf. The band was fronted by both Hütter and Schneider until Schneider's departure in 2008.
Kraftwerk emerged from the German "krautrock" scene in the early 1970s, releasing three albums in an experimental rock style before embracing electronic instrumentation in the middle of the decade, including synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders, and self-made instruments. They achieved commercial success with albums such as Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978). During this time, they developed a distinctive style which combined electronic music with catchy pop melodies, sparse arrangements, and repetitive rhythms, and adopted a stylized visual image which often employed matching suits. Member Wolfgang Flür left the group in 1987. They released their final album Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003. Schneider departed in 2008. As of 2016, the remaining members of Kraftwerk continue to tour.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Kraftwerk's sound was highly influential; they were among the first groups to popularize electronic music and are considered to be innovators and pioneers of the genre. The band has had a lasting effect across many genres of modern music, including synthpop, hip hop, and dance music. According to The Observer, "no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture" and a wide range of artists have been influenced by their music and imagery. In January 2014, the Grammy Academy honored Kraftwerk with a Lifetime Achievement Award.