Editorial: Beatport, add genres and we all win
With 10 million unique visitors a month, Beatport is the largest online resource for dance music in the world. As fans and artists, we use the platform religiously to buy, sell, and find new music. In other words — Beatport is our Beat-Bible. As such, we all share the same stake in Beatport’s underlying issue; the current limited arrangement of genres hinders music discovery, profit potential, and more. Let’s unify as fans and artists to ask Beatport to take on a more fair and avant-garde understanding of genres. This antiquated system is just not cutting it.
First, let’s get one thing straight; categorizing electronic music is never easy, especially in this all-embracing genre so booming with innovation and diversity. As music bloggers, we get it. Without claiming to be ethnomusicologists or pretentious snobs, we are still compelled to try. Why? We have a responsibility to steer our readers in the right direction toward music discovery. As tastemakers, we genre-ify, because, quite frankly, we have no other choice. The price we pay is the inevitable outcry that our genre evaluations are erroneous, but we urge you to take the dive with us. Updating Beatport’s genre database will not only improve our experience as fans and artists, but make the world an easier place for consumers, marketers, and our retailer.
“Beatport’s mission is to provide all the music, tools and resources DJs need to launch, manage, and profit from their careers.” – Beatport’s Mission Statement
Many artists are struggling in the current system. A young DJ seeking to rejuvenate his 110 bpm library would be hard-pressed to find a Moombahton track among its current fragmented placement. Browsing Electro House, Dubstep, and Indie Dance may offer results, however unlikely. Beatport has made some moves toward embracing this three year old genre with charts, but these only serve to show the variety of their gaffes. Nonetheless, determined artists still try to find ways to reach their audience. In their most recent release, prominent Moombah duo, Sazon Booya, alongside Big Beat Records, attempted to combat their own Electro House pigeonhole, by sprucing up their remix’s nomenclature. Sassy.
Fusing elements of Dubstep with Drum & Bass, Drumstep artists often find their releases typecasted to D&B. Unfortunately for them, Dubstep is a bigger seller for these tracks. Chris Barlow from Terravita commented, “To get around that, we have to add Dubstep tracks on the release so it’s listed there and gets a feature in the Dubstep section.” He went on to tell us, “Beatport is great for music fans and DJs, because they do understand the genres better than a place like iTunes. Unfortunately, it shows that they aren’t on top of the changing music scenes by listing the more cutting-edge genres like Moombahton and Drumstep.”
Trap is another genre that gets lost in translation. Like Moombahton, the recent phenomena is characterized by relatively specific tropes; 1/32 hi-hats, 808s, and a bpm around 150. Yet, this Americanized convergence of Hip Hop and Dubstep finds itself among a plethora of categorizations. Can you guess how UZ’s summer release, “Trap Shit V7,” was pegged?
Considering the relatively new existence of genres like Moombahton and Trap, one may argue the lack of original content or support from labels to be cause for exclusion. To them, I’ll shy away from name-dropping key words like Dillon Francis or Mad Decent and ask: Do you think Beatport’s Reggae/Dub genre would meet those standards with the count of overall releases this month low enough to count on two hands?
Australian Progressive House DJ, Luke Chable, even resorted to starting a petition, pushing the introduction of new genres to Beatport. Sign it — I did. Chable: “The Progressive House genre is littered with both Big Room and Commercial Dance records, and many true Progressive House artists get lost in the process, along with new artists struggling to even get a look in.” Amen, brother. Let’s face it, big budget labels and commercial tracks steal the exposure from small labels that deserve a fighting chance. Dividing genres like Progressive House will only serve to level the playing field.
If you aren’t using Soundcloud or blogs, discovering new artists, tracks, and trends on Beatport is like finding a needle in a haystack. Still, we understand EDM genres are part of a greater preconception that advocates out-of-date archetypes superseding the idea of summertime fads. It could be that I’m just a crazy American embellishing our scene, but let me say this: adding genres will not only make music discovery more streamlined but allow a surge of fresh sounds to take hold, abating less recycling of the same tired stuff. In the end, actively supporting and acknowledging new music and genres will aid our mutual cause, Beatport; the future of this music.
While Beatport does have their own online suggestion box, admins have been fielding genre requests like this with no follow-through for years. Using the few examples here, we only hope to make a point for more up-to-date categorization that accurately reflects EDM on the ground.
People come to Beatport over iTunes for a reason. We trust Beatport. When Beatport introduces a new sound or artist, we listen. Let’s work together to keep this whole EDM snowball rolling. So be a pal, help us discover music, help artists reach us, and most importantly, help all of us get a better bang for our buck. We aren’t asking for the world here; just a few more chapters in our Beat-Bible. Start somewhere. Start small.