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Thread: Genre versus Style tags, best practices?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2017

    Genre versus Style tags, best practices?

    I am running Asset Upnp on a QNAP NAS and up until now I have strictly controlled the number of genres in my music collection to avoid proliferation. But over time I am thinking of adding either multiple genres or making use of the style tag to allow for a more detailed level of filtering. Usually I access my music via plex when I am at my computer or via a HEOS when I am at home.

    Some questions:
    1) Does Asset allow for multiple genres in the genre tag? I have mp3s and flacs in my library and a few scattered .m4as
    2) Can anyone introduce me to a readable discussion of the difference between genre and style tags?
    3) It looks like I can go two ways to add multiple genres. I could go through and use Music Brainz Picard, or I can go via Plex and get Last.Fm genre tags. Does anyone have any advice?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    Re: Genre versus Style tags, best practices?

    I can answer question 1 for you: Yes

  3. #3
    dBpoweramp Guru
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    New York

    Re: Genre versus Style tags, best practices?

    On 2 and 3, your preference, possibly influenced by what the metadata databases are showing, particularly if you don't want to change a lot of tags. Does your player selection software let you select by both genre and style? If only genre, you might have to ignore style.

    There was a major thread here a year or so ago, hundreds of posts discussing this subject among others, all of them involving metadata. You might find it to be interesting if someone point you to it.

    An example for me. I have tons of Caribbean music, much of it Calypso. A lot of the metadata has made Calypso a style of Reggae. But Reggae is really a relatively new (indirect via Mento, Rocksteady and Ska) offshoot of Calypso. Calypso has been recorded since the early 1900's. Reggae evolved in the 1960's. In reality, reggae could be considered a style of calypso (Hey, Jamaicans, don't toast me, read the history of reggae, if you haven't already...) But reggae became much more popular in the world scene than calypso, so the people who set up the beginnings of genre classifications made one for reggae, but dumped calypso into either reggae or that amorphous thing called "world music" or worse yet "other". So I have to end up changing the genre on stuff from "world" or "reggae" to "calypso" or "soca" (the modern derivative of calypso). My choice.

    One consideration, since you may sort for this on playing, too many different selections for genre may subdivide your music too much. But, as you have apparently discovered, the tagging systems for some (a very important qualification) filetypes allow true multiple searchable genres for a file. So you can have let us say a jazz selection tagged with genres of "Jazz" and "Hard Bop" and search for either. But some only allow one genre tag, so it might end up in the file as "Jazz; Hard Bop" (The correct separator/delineator might be a pair of slashes, a semicolon, or whatever, The dBpoweramp ripper uses a semicolon for the user interface, but substitutes the correct one or makes multiple tags for the style of tag used by your filetype. However the real gotcha is the player/control point/database. Does it recognize multiple genres, because if it doesn't it won't find your jazz; hard bop entry unless you actually search for jazz; hard bop, instead of finding it in both jazz and hard bop. And with FLAC (which allows multiple genre tags, for instance), it may only find whatever tag you entered first. Worthwhile to investigate before you have tagged 50,000 tracks with what you thought made sense to you.

    Metadata is the "sewer" of music organization, as you probably will discover. There are no true standards, all software is different. Then you have car radios and thumb drives. Many car radios are metadata ignorant when playing from a thumb drive, they only read the file name...

    Good luck, but do look at all the implications of whatever standard you have made up.

  4. #4
    dBpoweramp Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: Genre versus Style tags, best practices?

    There's no definitive standard, but this should give you a start:

    https://www.allmusic.com/genres (select a genre and scroll to the bottom for associated subgenres/styles)

    Genres & styles in the online databases are all over the place since they are user contributed. If you strive for "accurate" genres they are more or less useless in my opinion. I usually look up the albums on wikipedia, discogs.com and allmusic.com and then make my own decision.

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