The Genre Tag Problem

The Genre Tag Problem:

Ask any passionate music fan about their favorite genre or genres of music, and you’ll be in for a graduate-level course in their passion. And that’s before you dive in to the various subgenres of music, in details that would overwhelm any sort of systematic organization in a store. For a passionate music fan, it’s not nearly as simple. Just look at this list of subgenres for Heavy Metal, itself a sub-genre of Rock music. And forget about using the iTunes genre images if you get really specific. And, if it’s not easily classifiable, odds are, in the iTunes Store it’s classified as “Alternative”. This is a limitation by design.

I think people like me who are meticulous about their genre tags are a dying breed. I used to recommend getting as specific as possible with your genre tags because if you wanted to listen to something with a beat you could select the 5 dance music genres and iTunes and go nuts.

But you can’t do that on iOS.

The motivation behind having detailed tags was so one could easily navigate a music library. I still have a standard process of verifying that tags are good on new music, but now with things like Genius Mixes and iTunes Radio stations it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put much effort into it.