Does genre still work?
Classification is just a part of human life. From what food you’re eating to your blood type, everything is put into a category and classified in a certain way and we all generally understand what that means (in most cases).
Whilst individuality is something to be cherished when it comes to music it is a little more complex and a lot more confusing. And of course, the understanding differs from one person to another. Yes, I’m talking about genre here.
When I say understanding differs from person to person, everyone has their favourite type of music to listen to and they are more likely to understand those genres and sub-genres over something they don’t. For example, someone who knows the difference between Trap, Drill and Dance is less likely to know the difference between Death Metal, Thrash Metal and Black Metal and vice versa.
Whilst I do believe that genre has been effective, and to a short extent still is, we’ve reached a point that the industry needs to reconsider how genre is classified and how it works.
I think having a general overview e.g., rock, pop, metal, rap etc. is still a valid way to think about it, but endless sub-genres that have lots of links to each other just messes with it too much. Especially when bands cover multiple points on that spectrum. If classifying music that deep needs to happen then a new way needs to be thought of before the issue gets too confused.
The fluidity of music is something that needs to be celebrated more and the rivalry between genres needs to stop. I understand that people are going to be annoyed if a band sound different from where they started, for example, compare Paramore’s “Hard Times” on our xRhythms playlist and one of their earlier tracks “Misery Business”, but the hard shift in genre labelling can prevent people from listening to their new stuff, which means they miss out on something they might enjoy.
There is a plethora of artists who touch on various genres, and that fluid nature of music is exactly what makes it great.