iTunes by genre

Putting all my filed* music on to my iPad and exploring it with the “Genre” navigator reveals to me the following:

  • Alternative & Punk: 43 songs
  • Australian Pop**: 165 songs
  • Australian Rock: 622 songs
  • Classical: 136 “songs” (really movements)
  • Classical Crossover: 25 songs
  • Comedy: 56 songs
  • Country: 80 songs
  • Folk: 104 songs
  • Holiday: 15 songs
  • Jazz: 20 songs
  • Latin: 52 songs
  • Musical: 304 songs
  • New Age: 135 songs
  • Pop: 280 songs (non-Australian)
  • R&B/Soul: 20 songs
  • Rock: 1059 songs (non-Australian)
  • Soundtrack: 544 songs
  • Steampunk***: 13 songs
  • Swing: 46 songs
  • World: 42 songs

I still have a bunch of CDs to rip which will add stuff, mostly in the Soundtrack and Classical genres. I prioritised ripping popular music when I started the long process. The iPad (and iTunes) has these cool genre icons for most of these, but very annoyingly doesn’t have one for Musical. Nor Swing. (Nor Steampunk, but that’s kind of understandable.) It’d be nice if there was an easy way to add custom genre icons (of which there are lots), but apparently you need to dig through the guts of jailbroken code to do so, which isn’t my idea of fun.

* What’s the right word here? It’s not “digitised” because music on CDs I haven’t ripped is already digital. It’s not “ripped” because I’ve bought and downloaded many songs that aren’t ripped from CDs.

** Yes, I sub-genre-fy my pop and rock stuff into Australian and non-Australian. It helps split up two large categories into more manageable and searchable chunks.

*** Yes, Steampunk! I grabbed a free concept album. Some of it’s pretty good. “Clockwork Heart” in particular is brilliant.

11 Responses to “iTunes by genre”

  1. Andrew says:

    What qualifies/would you recommend in Australian Pop/Rock? What with The Internet, the fact that they’re not popular here [Chicago] won’t hinder access to them anymore.

    [I used to comment on your LiveJournal occasionally as SomebodyElse, and now follow this (and IW and D&D) through Google Reader, and it was largely, though not completely because of that that I became interested in cricket, which is now probably my second favorite sport (I often refer friends to your rules of baseball/rules of cricket page). That's all just to say, I didn't come from nowhere, even if I haven't posted in years. And since I'm posting here, I might as well say, Irregular Webcomic was one of the (if not THE) first webcomics I discovered, and as someone who appreciates things ending appropriately, thank you for its existence, and congratulations on its conclusion!]

  2. Mathew Walls says:

    I don’t understand how anyone can find genre tags useful. How do you even decide what genre stuff is?

  3. Mathew: I can see where you’re coming from – the idea that it’s putting things into labelled boxes where they don’t quite fit.

    But frankly, I find it pretty easy to tell the difference between classical music and rock music. Or soundtracks and country music. Certainly some of the lines are a lot fuzzier than others – what’s the difference between pop and rock? Some songs I have trouble applying a single genre to, and just go with whatever I think makes the most sense at the time. But that doesn’t change the fact that I find distinguishing my musicals from my new age music to be useful.

  4. Andrew: What qualifies is pretty straightforward – popular music made by Australians! :-)

    My recommendations are slanted to the ’80s and ’90s, since that’s when I was growing up and listening to new music more than I do now. INXS, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Jimmy Barnes, Models, Kate Ceberano, Paul Kelly, Jenny Morris, Hoodoo Gurus, GangGajang, Eurogliders, Dragon, The Church, AC/DC, Skyhooks, The Angels, The Saints, Divinyls, Mental as Anything, Hunters & Collectors. Crowded House half-qualifies, being Aus/NZ, and are too good not to mention. If you’re willing to push into country, I’ll mention Kasey Chambers.

    My tastes may not match yours, of course. Try artists mentioned on this Wikipedia page.

  5. Drachefly says:

    I think the word you’re looking for is ‘Imported’

  6. Dennis says:

    If you’re interested in checking out more Steampunk genre music, check out the band Abney Park:

    http://www.abneypark.com/

    I highly recommend them!

  7. Mathew Walls says:

    What genre is Apocalyptica? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalyptica
    Do you classify “Bad Things” by Jace Everett as country or soundtrack?

    These are questions that make it impossible for me to use genre tags. No matter what categories I come up with, there’s always too much uncertainty and too many grey areas. So yeah, I can tell that Paul Kelly and Rammstein are definitely making different types of music, but I can’t come up with an objective and useful way to categorise them that won’t cause problems when I add a few more artists in there.

  8. Well, what can I say? You don’t find music genres useful, I do find them useful. I don’t think either of us can justify calling the other “wrong”. :-)

  9. Ben says:

    (Drawn here by your link in IWC annotation)

    As a music student (horn) I am beginning to have this problem with my ever growing iTunes library. Fortunately (for the sake of categorization) I don’t go out of my way to import tracks that aren’t of the ‘classical’ genre. Unfortunately, the genre ‘classical’ really is dismally stupidly broad. I have a modernist piece by James Macmillan and a baroque piece Monteverdi that are both classified as ‘classical’. Apparently the ‘classical’ genre spans 5 centuries!

    At the moment I just make a playlist folder for every composer and then make sub-folders called “symphonies”, “overtures” or “chamber works” (because I normally know what I’m looking for this works, I currently only have ~1500 tracks so maybe 500 pieces). Once this becomes unwieldy I will have to make folders such as “modernist”, “romantic” and “classical” and categorise the composers. However, then it could be a hindrance. How do I categories someone like Strauss (who composed the best romantic tones poems of musical history, but later composed incredibly modernist operas) or Sibelius (who wrote in the modernist time period but with a lot of romantic characteristics. I see him more as modernist, but Sibelius said otherwise…)?

    The innovation we really need is a tagging system so you can tag a track with multiple genres at once.

  10. perry says:

    i came here from your recent irregular comics info post about music genres. what i do for playing music by genre is i put all classical album folders in a folder ‘classical’ and then on my phone (i use my phone to do all my music listening) i browse to that folder, click ‘en-queue all’. unfortunately there are no special icons for genres in my phone’s music player, but if i put an image in any folder, it gets used as album art.

  11. Vii says:

    I’m in support of the use of genres, mostly because otherwise it’s really hard to talk about music, and since I’m a musician I have to do that a lot. Of course, my tastes are rather conservative, so I don’t really listen to any genre-blending music (except for ‘folk-rock’ or ‘renaissance-rock’ or whatever Blackmore’s Night and Mediaeval Baebes are). I do listen to Japanese music, but it comes with its own genres so that’s not a problem. The problem is when I have to explain it to someone, in which case the conversation usually goes like this:
    Them: What are you listening to?
    Me: Enka.
    Them: What’s Enka?
    Me:…Japanese…Blues? (Because that’s about as good as it can be explained in English briefly. It’s way cooler than it sounds.)

Leave a Reply