Genres are a mess and no one knows what to do about it

Spacetime

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The state of genres right now is a mess. Spotify now lists over 5500 types of genres. They keep multiplying and multiplying, each new one with less identity and unique marking feature than the next. We seem to give out new genre names like it is candy, but none of that candy is good, memorable or logical.

This is an experimental time for music sure, as everyone has the technology at their fingertips, we are seeing a lot of merging influences. However lets compare with film, where experiments are still identifiable within the foundational influence that grounds the film into a particular core genre. Thrillers have been executed in many ways and styles, but still they are Thrillers, not Progressive Thrillers or Deep Thrillers. If I decide to make a Thriller movie using grainy footage it is not a Lo-Fi Thriller.

No one knows what to do about this problem, and it is a problem. Beatport have been constantly butchering the categorization of sounds. They truly fucked up what it means to label a song Progressive House. We now have 15+ styles for this genre that has no idea what it is or how to label itself anymore. Bandcamp just gives up and creates the genre ‘electronic’. You might as well have the second genre be ‘instrument’. Spotify is the worst of them all, just take a look at the last few years top genre lists from them; Bubblegrunge, Vapor Twitch, Chamber Psych, Deep Chill-Out, Escape Room, Future Ambient, Gamecore…. The list goes on

This quote is from the guy that creates the genres in Spotify. Is this really what genres have come down to now?

“Escape Room is a particularly in-jokey sort of name—it feels connected to trap sonically, although it's more experimental-indie-r'n'b-pop that spins off from the sonics of trap. I just thought about 'the trap,' and the idea of puzzle-solving in an escape room. PC Music [one Escape Room artist] sort of felt like it was solving and creating puzzles. Preverb is another one that I named; it's a play on 'reverb,' nodding to the acts' emerging nature."
 
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LostLegend

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Its simple. Genres are a marketing tool now.
Yup, 'Trance' is a dirty word these days.

That's why you have all these sub genres like 'melodic techno', 'melodic house' and my favourite 'future melodic' (FFS :LOL: ) whaen all of these are essentially prog trance in all but name.

I mean:


ARTBAT are one of the current 'cool kids' of melodic techno... but honestly tell me how this tune is anything other than Trance? 🤦‍♂️🤷‍♂️
 
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TwinSilo

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I concur. The current genre labelling convention has reached its limit, the words cannot keep up with the rate of new genres and they've become so detached from the original definitions. Listen to Witch house and you wont find a single House signature, but instead generic trap arrangements, sometimes even dnb style.

It worked fine before when the odd expert would coin a genre when there was only around 50 in existence. They acted as gatekeepers actually of the new sounds and had the historical context to ground the language in something meaningful when something new needed a label. Now we have every kid on wikipedia or youtube making up a new subgenres which and because few 100 people are into it you get the hipster Spotify throthing at the gash and adding it in (5500 genres is ridiculous).

It's worth mentioning that as time passes many of the new genres become consolidated with hindsight. I think in 20 years we will look back at this peroid and group a lot of the bullshit together. For example the 20 different Trap genres will simply become Trap.
 

Hensmon

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Its simple. Genres are a marketing tool now.

Is it though? The endless classification only makes it harder to market tracks because no one knows what anything is and things are too unknown or confusing to search. It's a big reason I stopped using beatport for discovery. Also I don't think its the marketers who sit in the room and make genres anyway (who exactly?) It's random scene instances and quirks that somehow gain etymological momentum.

If anything it was more marketing driven mindset back in the day via popular music magazines and publications that could highlight or coin terms, and that worked very well, they knew what they were doing. I wish it was still like that. Now its random guy/musician on the internet with almost random luck or micro scenes that propagate nonsense.

A quick search on some random genres;

Witch House - "The term witch house was coined in 2009 by Travis Egedy, who performs under the name Pictureplane."

Phonk - The word "phonk" was popularized by SpaceGhostPurrp,[4] who released tracks such as Pheel Tha Phonk, Bringin' Tha Phonk, and Keep Bringin' Tha Phonk.[5][6] YouTube channels, such as Ryan Celsius, Trillphonk,[7] Emotional Tokyo, and rare also helped popularize the genre.

Vapor Twitch (from reddit r/vaportwitch) - I think vapor twitch was named by an admin at EveryNoise.com to help categorize the spillover of musical innovation coming from today's freshest future bass producers (and similar genres). I'll be using the song Blame by Ekali & ZHU as what is probably the most spot-on example of vapor twitch at its dawn here in early 2019.

Steroid Trance - "Invented by some guy who lives in his mums basement, spending his days on Trancefix forum educating the sheep"
 

Exodom

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Yes its too granular now, the attitude today is to allocate a new genre even with the smallest deviation or addition of new idea to the track. If we had this mindset in the past we would already have over 30 genres of Trance right now, like one name for Andy Moor/Anjuna electro style, one genre for Digital Blonde dark style, one style name for all the Coldharbor tracks and more for Dutch style tracks and so on and so on. We understood that Trance can take different forms and not need a new microscopic naming convention each time. I know we had stuff like Dream Trance (Robert Miles) and Ibiza Trance or Balearic Trance (Chicane) but these references themselves became deprecated in some sense.

It was nice to have labels take ownership of a certain sound actually, without the need to coin its own substyle.


Steroid Trance - "Invented by some guy who lives in his mums basement, spending his days on Trancefix forum educating the sheep"

Lmfao! Trancefix does more than just educate us sheep on the matter, it's the last line of defence against the coming night.
 
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Aquarium

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Lmfao! Trancefix does more than just educate us sheep on the matter, it's the last line of defence against the coming night.

TF VS STEROID MEME.png
 

dmgtz96

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Is it though? The endless classification only makes it harder to market tracks because no one knows what anything is and things are too unknown or confusing to search. It's a big reason I stopped using beatport for discovery. Also I don't think its the marketers who sit in the room and make genres anyway (who exactly?) It's random scene instances and quirks that somehow gain etymological momentum.

If anything it was more marketing driven mindset back in the day via popular music magazines and publications that could highlight or coin terms, and that worked very well, they knew what they were doing. I wish it was still like that. Now its random guy/musician on the internet with almost random luck or micro scenes that propagate nonsense.

A quick search on some random genres;

Witch House - "The term witch house was coined in 2009 by Travis Egedy, who performs under the name Pictureplane."

Phonk - The word "phonk" was popularized by SpaceGhostPurrp,[4] who released tracks such as Pheel Tha Phonk, Bringin' Tha Phonk, and Keep Bringin' Tha Phonk.[5][6] YouTube channels, such as Ryan Celsius, Trillphonk,[7] Emotional Tokyo, and rare also helped popularize the genre.

Vapor Twitch (from reddit r/vaportwitch) - I think vapor twitch was named by an admin at EveryNoise.com to help categorize the spillover of musical innovation coming from today's freshest future bass producers (and similar genres). I'll be using the song Blame by Ekali & ZHU as what is probably the most spot-on example of vapor twitch at its dawn here in early 2019.

Steroid Trance - "Invented by some guy who lives in his mums basement, spending his days on Trancefix forum educating the sheep"

This is way too good.
Witch house was actually a whole underground movement and everything, but it died down quickly. Now it's more of a Youtube, Internet thing.

More random genres:

Bedroom pop - the kind of dreamy pop that US college radios play. Music by college students for college students.

Dark trap - of all the trap "genres," this is the weirdest and one of the most popular. Think of stuff like Ghostemane, $suicideBoy$... the super annoying trap that sounds creepy and that feels like you have the bass boosted all the way up in your car

There are also entire "aesthetics" that are not really genres. They're more like styles? Tracks in one aesthetic share elements in common, but they could be from many different genres. For example, dark academia can be classical and rock. Steampunk is also all over the place.
 

Br8k L3gnd

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I am a simple man, I hear trance, I tune in :) Everything else after that is either groovy or not.
 
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jetflag

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^ that actually a pretty straight forward solution to the whole infinite genre problem.

step 1: listen to it (briefly if you must)
step 2: reject, accept or elevate based on your personal preference.
step 3: label it yourself, if you must.
 

Gagi

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Haha yeah, and who cares about what Spotify says? They just use that to better recommend you music. Easier to classify something as a subgenre X and recommend it to you based on that, than to implement a whole bunch of audio processing and machine learning classification algorithms and use that as a basis for recommendation (they do have that too though).
 

Br8k L3gnd

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Haha yeah, and who cares about what Spotify says? They just use that to better recommend you music. Easier to classify something as a subgenre X and recommend it to you based on that, than to implement a whole bunch of audio processing and machine learning classification algorithms and use that as a basis for recommendation (they do have that too though).
I still use youtube as my main player. I am so 2000late :)
 
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Recharge

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Winamp, lol The good ole days man. Firing up my XP machine :)
Damn I have winamp on my second laptop. Don't think I used it in the last 2 years thought. Mostly because music is more then just pleasure these days. I would say YouTube/SoundCloud/Mixcloud/Serato on my laptop and on my phone SoundCloud/Mixcloud because I hate ads.
 

freewave

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The state of genres right now is a mess. Spotify now lists over 5500 types of genres. They keep multiplying and multiplying, each new one with less identity and unique marking feature than the next. We seem to give out new genre names like it is candy, but none of that candy is good, memorable or logical.
Spotify and EveryNoise which directly fits in with it puts us in a unique position were technology can really catch up with listening habits and world wide genre representation which frankly does exist. Dutch Indie Rock and Swedish Pop/Rock has its own representation through this and now there are visuals on just how big the genre-verse really is. A lot of this post is dealing with the frustrations of this and maybe some age related "today's music is crap", which is bound to creep in with aging. And I agree its all a bit frustrating.
No one knows what to do about this problem, and it is a problem. Beatport have been constantly butchering the categorization of sounds. They truly fucked up what it means to label a song Progressive House. We now have 15+ styles for this genre that has no idea what it is or how to label itself anymore. Bandcamp just gives up and creates the genre ‘electronic’. You might as well have the second genre be ‘instrument’.
Agreed that Beatport has really dropped the ball for many years (especially with Progressive / Big Room House ) and continues to do so.
Spotify is the worst of them all, just take a look at the last few years top genre lists from them; Bubblegrunge, Vapor Twitch, Chamber Psych, Deep Chill-Out, Escape Room, Future Ambient, Gamecore…. This quote is from the guy that creates the genres in Spotify. Is this really what genres have come down to now?

“Escape Room is a particularly in-jokey sort of name—it feels connected to trap sonically, although it's more experimental-indie-r'n'b-pop that spins off from the sonics of trap. I just thought about 'the trap,' and the idea of puzzle-solving in an escape room. PC Music [one Escape Room artist] sort of felt like it was solving and creating puzzles. Preverb is another one that I named; it's a play on 'reverb,' nodding to the acts' emerging nature."
Again Spotify is at the forefront with genres and sometimes that turns into that they are responsible for labeling new ones. Its best when that name comes from the communities /artists/ labels/reddits itself but sometimes its Spotify playlist "engineers" who come up with the terms themselves and also with the data connections they have. I can't say that its a terrible thing to do so but sometimes its VERY clumsily executed, the genre names can sound silly, and the communities might NOT pick up and even use these.

Example:
What the heck is Vaportwitch ?
New Vaportwitch Reddit

Shimmer Pop and Shiver Pop were 2 early examples of this (and both given the same definitions at the time) and while the former has a little validity I don't see many people actually using these. I agree I've noticed some of those other terms they've come up with and I'm not sure many of them are in use. Compare that against other microgenres from earlier and I think we are starting to reach a point where new genres are not really being recognized or picked up by music media without the presence of music blogs, online media publications, and with so many home artists jumping into the fray with bandcamp releases. It is overwhelming and its hard to say what new music is making an impact and what genres are as well. Personally I'd rather visit the past years then even attempt what is current now.
 
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