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Categorizing music into genres - is it good or bad for artists?


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Just wondered if anyone had thoughts on this? (or if you could point me in direction to a thread where it's already been discussed).

Even though I work in a library environment so should absolutely LOVE classifying and categorising stuff I wondered if it had gone too far with music now we have all these genres and sub genres. Can't decide if it helps or hinders artists.

 

Is it more of benefit to listeners so that they identify with a certain community but could 'harm' artists in that it could pitch fans loyal to one genre against another - a bit like the big mainstream artists who give their fans 'names' like Little monsters, Beliebers etc and the Little Monsters would never listen to - or admit to listening to - anything written by Bieber regardless of whether the music was good or not. (Just for the record I'm not a Little Monster or a Belieber myself :beerbang: )

 

What got me thinking about it was the reaction I got from a fan of one band when I suggested they might like another band 'as it's similar grunge music'. He was mightily put out and said the band he was listening to was some other sub genre of metal that I'd never even heard of and the band I'd described as 'grunge' were actually another sub genre that was new to me too and he wouldn't listen to that.

Also I went to buy what I considered a mainstream album (by Hoobastank) and nearly left without it as I couldn't find it in the A-Z section of a store but was then told it's classified as Heavy Metal. Who decides to classify it as that? The band or their publicity team?

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I don't like categorizing music myself, I say I like rock music but that's pretty much it. Whether it's soft rock, hard rock, metal, AOR, classic rock.... doesn't really matter to me.

 

Recently we've been discussing the difference between AOR and melodic rock which I personally don't make the effort to distinguish. Anyway, here's what everyone wrote:

 

http://heavyharmonies.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=35277

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  • My Little Pony

I love categorising music, because I'm a bit obsessive compulsive and I like having everything in its place. However, when people ask what I listen to, I always generalise and say "80's-style Melodic Rock and Metal."

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I don't like categorizing music myself, I say I like rock music but that's pretty much it. Whether it's soft rock, hard rock, metal, AOR, classic rock.... doesn't really matter to me.

 

Recently we've been discussing the difference between AOR and melodic rock which I personally don't make the effort to distinguish. Anyway, here's what everyone wrote:

 

http://heavyharmonies.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=35277

Thanks Simo, that was a good thread! Guess it comes down to personal taste on whether peeps think it's a good or bad thing categorizing judging from the comments there.

 

Do you reckon it does artists a disservice when music gets too narrowly categorised or does it help in some way by creating niche markets and loyal followings?

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I categorize all music into 3 categories....1. I like it...2. I can listen to it ...3. I can't stand it

Hahha, me too!

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I love categorising music, because I'm a bit obsessive compulsive and I like having everything in its place. However, when people ask what I listen to, I always generalise and say "80's-style Melodic Rock and Metal."

Sounds like a healthy approach :tumbsup:

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I categorize all music into 3 categories....1. I like it...2. I can listen to it ...3. I can't stand it

 

Yeah, it should just be that simple. I've said previously there are only two categories - 1, you like it, or 2, you don't. ;)

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I categorize all music into 3 categories....1. I like it...2. I can listen to it ...3. I can't stand it

 

What he said ...

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I don't like categorizing music myself, I say I like rock music but that's pretty much it. Whether it's soft rock, hard rock, metal, AOR, classic rock.... doesn't really matter to me.

 

Recently we've been discussing the difference between AOR and melodic rock which I personally don't make the effort to distinguish. Anyway, here's what everyone wrote:

 

http://heavyharmonies.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=35277

Thanks Simo, that was a good thread! Guess it comes down to personal taste on whether peeps think it's a good or bad thing categorizing judging from the comments there.

 

Do you reckon it does artists a disservice when music gets too narrowly categorised or does it help in some way by creating niche markets and loyal followings?

 

 

In places like HMV, they'll categorise everything from Within Temptation to Nickelback to Pearl Jam to Slayer as 'Heavy Metal'. Presumably on the grounds that none of these bands are 'mainstream pop'.

 

I agree that some bands may have 'suffered' as a result of being categorised - either through being typcast (not all Black Metal bands sound like Mayhem, people), or through the so-called fans refusing to listen to something new simply because it isn't a genre they're comfortable with - I STILL get friends asking me how it is that I can listen to someone like Gary Numan one minute, and Amon Amarth the next.

 

Loyalty to a band is a great thing, but not when it ends up with people being blinkered to what's around them, and becoming 'elitist' about 'their' band.

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So some here categorise what they like to hear into 2 categories.
1. Music

2. Not music

 

If that works for them.....

I like a cross section of many different TYPES of music, and don't like some.

Like most people, it is effective to be able to have words to describe what I like and what I don't.
I don't generally like rap, or most of the more extreme metals (death, hardcore, screamo, etc)

 

I do like HARD ROCK.

This is my preference. My tastes lean towards (but are not limited to) sleazy, 80's style)

 

The debate about genres is kind of a waste of time, simply because, genres exist, and people refer to them.

This ain't gonna change.

If I stopped referring to genres to describe what I like and what I don't, it would become an essay of descriptive words to convey it.

I'd also hate threads to be posted here, and people say "this music is shit" with no reason why, for fear of daring to mention a genre and then be accused of being closed minded or limited in taste.

I'd rather them say "this music is shit, because it's screamo vocals" or because it's to thrashy, or too power ballady, or too rappy etc.
nothing wrong with that, don't let people try to convince you there is...

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And i guess categorizing can be super helpful for, say, the 'If you liked this album then you may also like this...' arena

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I like CuretheSane's approach.

 

I try to appreciate good quality music whatever the 'genre' it's been assigned. And of course, within any genre there will be good&bad quality stuff,or stuff you just can't 'get' (Experimental contemporary classical music for example- though there have been occasional pieces among that which I've quite liked)

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So some here categorise what they like to hear into 2 categories.

1. Music

2. Not music

 

Who said that?

 

 

If that works for them.....

I like a cross section of many different TYPES of music, and don't like some.

Like most people, it is effective to be able to have words to describe what I like and what I don't.

I don't generally like rap, or most of the more extreme metals (death, hardcore, screamo, etc)

 

I do like HARD ROCK.

This is my preference. My tastes lean towards (but are not limited to) sleazy, 80's style)

 

The debate about genres is kind of a waste of time, simply because, genres exist, and people refer to them.

This ain't gonna change.

If I stopped referring to genres to describe what I like and what I don't, it would become an essay of descriptive words to convey it.

I'd also hate threads to be posted here, and people say "this music is shit" with no reason why, for fear of daring to mention a genre and then be accused of being closed minded or limited in taste.

I'd rather them say "this music is shit, because it's screamo vocals" or because it's to thrashy, or too power ballady, or too rappy etc.

nothing wrong with that, don't let people try to convince you there is...

 

You seem to be reading too much into this, mate. I hope it's not because of my comments in that other thread the other day? As I explained, the reason comments like "too AOR" irritate me is that it usually comes across as someone trying to suggest that it's poofter's music and that they listen to much heavier stuff, which is awesome. The fact that you actually then said you like a lot of AOR... but that a band was "too AOR" for you... it just got confusing and didn't make any sense at all.

 

If, for example, someone said they hate a song because there are too many keyboards, or the synth is too heavy... that would make sense. Especially if you are known for liking AOR without keys... just all that acoustic AOR out there. ;) But not liking something because it's "too AOR," when you actually like AOR, makes no sense to me, personally. Maybe to others it does.

 

I also like bits of absolutely anything and everything (rock-related) and therefore couldn't say I don't like something is bad because it's "too hard rock," or "too metal," or "too sleazzzy," or "too glam" or something, because I like all those genres. Something is only bad if the songs are crap. ;)

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I dont like Power Metal....there, I said it

 

:)

 

Power metal is horrible.

 

And so is prog stuff. ;)

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Geoff, your assumptions about me and AOR are wrong, but I don't think you quite understand how.
I actually said I don't like the AOR with too many synth keys (more than once)
Believe it or not, there are different degrees of AOR. You may like it all, but that doesn't mean others don't

I did take exception to your pigeon holing me as someone who classes AOR in the way you did. Not sure about classing any music in a 'gay' way, we're not at school in the 80's any more.
I've never slammed any music here. At times I've said it's not for me, but I certainly don't judge what other people like.

 

Anyway, moving on.

To Silverkin, yes, please use my description of what I like to recommend any music you think will suit me.

That's why I'm here :)

 

I find it amazing that people here are able to listen to so much music.

I guess I listened to a lot before I had a family etc, but still, people seems to be engrossed in multiple bands every week here.

Personally I need to listen to an album 5 to 10 times before I know it enough to omit the weaker songs and keep the great ones.
Wish I had more time...

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Power metal is horrible.

 

And so is prog stuff. ;)

 

 

Now that just smacks of someone saying that power metal is for bogans and far too heavy for them.

 

:whistle:

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I dont like Power Metal....there, I said it

 

:)

Power metal is horrible.

 

And so is prog stuff. ;)

My prog universe is early Marillion and Threshold (esp Mac era)

 

Thats about it lol.

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Are Dream Theater prog metal?
I tried so hard to get into them, but just couldn't

I have a few albums, from memory the only song i really took to was a cover of the Elton John song Love Lies Bleeding

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I dont like Power Metal....there, I said it

 

:)

 

Power metal is horrible.

 

And so is prog stuff. ;)

 

...Except the good prog stuff? :guitar:

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Categorizing music is important mainly to record stores back in the days because why on earth a jazz fans waste his time in rock sections, and sometimes rock fans don't really like metal so browsing a hard rock / AOR is much more fun. In Japan, a record store called Disk Union even rent like 7-8 different stores for each genre, usually rock and metal in one store, classic and jazz is at another store, reggae, etc.

 

But for ourselves as a music fan, hm not really necessary I guess, in my library, I just sort my Cd alphabetically

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Are Dream Theater prog metal?

Wikipedia says they are,if you trust them. I've never really got what makes a piece 'progressive' (although from various comments I gather they tend to be long?)

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Categorizing music is important mainly to record stores back in the days because why on earth a jazz fans waste his time in rock sections, and sometimes rock fans don't really like metal so browsing a hard rock / AOR is much more fun.

Ahh so it is good more for browsability reasons to some extent? So ideally,in a record store it would be better for artists if they were shelved in multiple genres where possible? (Like the Hoobastank album I was looking for could have gone in Metal,Rock+mainstream sections)

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