EDM, the unofficial “official” umbrella term for quite an impressive range of genres that includes synthesizers, augmented instruments, and a likeness in their ability to get a hoard of people off their feet. Even we, EDMTunes, have adapted the term in our likeness because it’s accessible and easier than saying something along the lines of “House, Progressive House, Tech House, Minimal, Dubstep, Chillstep, D&B, Trap, Moombahton” . Yes, we opted to go with the practicality of EDMTunes, and no, we are not blind to what the acronym EDM may imply. However, in the ever-changing environments that dance music followers, and the artists alike, find themselves in, where do we draw the line of proper genre labeling accountability?
Most music blogs, ourselves included, strive to be in the know of any and all genres and subgenres there are as to aptly lead our readers in an appropriate direction as to which genre their favorite songs may fall under. This is a task all too underappreciated, as even to the most avid EDM enthusiasts this is not always a black-and-white process. Where then, should genre identifying be brought to a near exact science? The answer I submit to you: how about Beatport?
As many of you may know, some of you may not; Beatport is an EDM fanatic’s musical library, or as I once heard it referenced, “Beat Bible”. Is it wrong to assume then that our Beat Bible should be filled with accuracy in all accounts, that genres are appropriately assigned, presented efficiently, and with purpose? I would argue that this is not always the case. Although they’re progressing, such as the recent addition of Trap to their listings, some aspects of Beatport’s genre matching efforts leave more to be desired.
I spoke with the Managing Director of High Intensity Records, Founder/Owner of Trap and Bass, Co-owner of DTI Music Group, Colton Gamby on the matter, on which he had some interesting points.
“In my experience Beatport does allow artists to appropriately release their tracks under the correct genres. Beatport definitely does have a lot of genre choices, especially more than most other retailers, though at the same time there could be a couple more genres to help sort things a bit better, recently we’ve seen beatport.com/trap so it looks like they’re going to be separating that, too, from Dubstep and Hip Hop,” Gamby said.
I went on to ask Gamby about circumstances in which maybe a lesser-known artist might be unfairly shadowed by bigger names in the industry because they have to release their tracks under a genre that doesn’t suit their work.
“There definitely are some cases like this, though it’s tough because, you will have some labels release in a genre that the song shouldn’t be released in, just because they want to chart super high. On the other hand, there are so many artists releasing in Progressive House, for instance, that it is super hard for artists to get noticed unless they have a lot of sales. So it’s a good and bad thing, but there are definitely some unfair practices that are used just to chart,” Gamby said.
Gamby’s response brought up and interesting angle to the genre complications on Beatport, one I had not yet considered. I then was curious to ask what he might suggest to change such problems.
“Retailers double-checking everything and putting them in the proper genres, that would be the only real solution for a retailer that lists songs by genre,” Gamby said.
He went on to add that even if the retailer did double-check every release it could create tension between artists/labels and the retailer itself because they may not agree on which genre their tracks fall under. I would suggest that even in a double-checking system there is the unavoidable risk of being human. By this I mean to bring back the original problem: who has the final say of just what genre a track is?
I, for one, am not necessarily partial to the “idea” of genres or to any particular genre for that matter, but in respect to Beatport and like retailers I do not see a perfect system in which genre divisions can always be a fair game. Right or wrong, when properly labeling a track’s genre the accountability falls on responsible and knowledgeable beholders.
What do you think? Be sure to let us know below.