Beatport just updated their lists of genres for the first time in five years. They announced the coming change last month and spent the last few weeks re-categorizing over 500k tracks for the big change. I was very curious what would happen and even made a few suggestions. Now they're here!
So what changed?
- added two new genres: Big Room and Future House
- removed two: Electro House and Chill Out
- changed Electronica to Electronica / Downtempo
- Progressive House is still around but will mean something else
- Dance category is newly relevant
How are they organized now?
Big Room is essentially everything carried over from Electro House plus all the big anthem house from Progressive House. Easy peasy.
Progressive House is now a lot of tracks I was classifying as progressive techno, stuff from labels like Lost & Found and Suara. If you already used the Progressive House section, you'll recognize these as most of the tracks that were charting in the bottom 50 of the top 100. These weren't bad tracks (I buy them), but they were always overwhelmed by popular Big Room anthems.
Electronica / Downtempo is a very awkward yet curious new arrangement. Electronica used to be a secret gateway to the absolute best indie techno and Chill Out was a collection of anything under 118 BPM including tons of wishy-washy chill out compilations.
Now they've been mashed together. At the moment it looks the same as the old Electronica section with great dance electronica dominating the charts. But what's going to happen to the really good chill out music? I'm worried it could end up becoming very difficult to find on Beatport.
[UPDATE 9/14/16: looks like Electronica / Downtempo was simply slow to repopulate. In just a few days the top 100 has already started filling up with downtempo and true electronica (i.e. not dance) tracks. I guess that's good for accuracy, however the promoted items are all extreme navel-gazing electronica, stuff you only liked in college for "that one year". I'm pretty worried now. This was my favorite section and now it's sludge.]
Dance is a rather plain category. It's the genre used by generic music services like iTunes and Google Play to cover everything electronic. It seems to act that way here since it's made up of mainstream music labels like Ultra and Interscope, as well as undergroud-turned-mainstream labels like Mad Decent and Dim Mak.
Previously the Dance category was a lot of club house and handbag established back in the late 80s & 90s, so the change is an improvement to catch up to the modern market. I'm guessing all the handbag stuff went to Future House. Still, it would have been better to make these labels cater to the audience a little more.
The good news: the new genres are also in classic Beatport, so that view of the site is still alive and well.
As for the new categories, they seem to work for a particular niche: mainstream music publishers. There's little new here for DJs, and less for long-term electronica fans. Yes times change, but the improvements are very focused on what's happening in music streaming services rather than actual trends on the dance floor. It's great to finally separate Big Room from Progressive House, but that was something that happened four years ago.
Beatport has already said this is the beginning of changes. They really did need these changes for the mainstream services so I'll keep an open mind.
Now let's see what they'll come up with for their actual users / customers: the DJs.