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Metadata and psy genre classification


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Short background: I noticed last year it was foolish of me to back up all my cd's in wav format because it's just impossible for metadata editing and using the files in apps like Traktor, winamp, etc... So I've been busying myself ripping my entire cd collection again in FLAC.

The thing I keep running into though is how to approach genre classification. I generally follow all the discogs conventions but when we arrive at genre/style it's a real conondrum. Everything psy related will become 'electronic' but there's no equivalent to style in metadata (or I just haven't found it yet). But I'll be damned if every electronic music track I have is categorized under genre electronic in traktor for example.

How do you guys and girls handle this? Do you follow a specfic convention, and how do you keep a straight line in that?

 

For everything Goa it's pretty easy, I just take the style Goa Trance and put it as genre, but the rest of the psy-trance family all gets lumped together under 'Psy-Trance'. To be quite honest I don't want all my forest and full-on to be together under 1 genre... Even though they are subgenre's of the psy-trance genre.

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I generally keep things simple for the root tracks. Whatever comes out via XLD is how I leave it. If manually adding, I might put Goa, Psychedelic, or Suomi (but I don't have any rules about these terms and use them loosely and in ways wildly inappropriate). In Rekordbox I may add additional tags as you can do custom tags of whatever, and however many, you choose.

I rarely look for music by genre, so filtering that way just isn't my workflow and process. I also find adding too many labels/terms to be troublesome as so much music can fit in different realms and it gets overly complicated to sub-define too much (but, again, that's just my perspective and flow with it).

=)

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i manually classify every track in my library by genre. everything umptemp psy is categorised into "goa, fullon, progressive psytrance, darkpsy (including forest, except of course forest goa trance which is found under goa ;) ), dark progressive psytrance (i.e. zenon), suomisaundi, psytek, nitzhonot and psytrance (which is oldschool psy before fullon came along, uk psytrance or psytrance that doesn't fit into any other category).

i do however run into problems sometimes. minimal psytrance from 00/01 will sometimes end up in progressive and sometimes in psytek. i cannot justify the effort to look through all the progressive to correctly identify the minimal psy tracks in their own genre. sometimes uk psy will sound so similar to fullon that it'll end up in the fullon category. also some more modern psytrance sits at the boundaries of progressive, fullon and psytrance, so a given track might end up in any of these categories if it feels more like that than the others; for instance the tracks from the mysteries of psytrance 4 compilation did end up in four different subgenres.

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I put a genre tag on every track that I own but I don't use the Discogs genre information, because it is often either too vague ('Electronic') or just wrong.

In the past I tried to be _very_ specific with genres but I gave up on that. There are a lot of good tracks that sit at the boundary between genres and I got tired of having to look in multiple different places for those tracks when trying to find them. Now I divide it up based on what I would play together in a DJ set. Goa gets its own genre tag/folder because I try to play purely goa tracks in those sets, but the chill genre tag gets added to everything from psy-chill to dub to acid-tinged ambient, because I mash all those kinds of tracks together in my chill sets. The psytrance genre tag gets added to a wide range too (full-on, twilight, uk, ...) because if I am listening to one of those then I'm usually in the mood for all of them.

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18 hours ago, the goa constrictor said:

I generally keep things simple for the root tracks. Whatever comes out via XLD is how I leave it. If manually adding, I might put Goa, Psychedelic, or Suomi (but I don't have any rules about these terms and use them loosely and in ways wildly inappropriate). In Rekordbox I may add additional tags as you can do custom tags of whatever, and however many, you choose.

I rarely look for music by genre, so filtering that way just isn't my workflow and process. I also find adding too many labels/terms to be troublesome as so much music can fit in different realms and it gets overly complicated to sub-define too much (but, again, that's just my perspective and flow with it).

=)

So what's your meta-workflow like? I suppose you don't always start from your entire presumably huge collection when selecting tracks for a set? Do you keep something like playlists as an inbetween?

Thanks to the others for the replies, very insightful! It's an incredibly interesting topic I think, one we'll collectively get better at as this whole digitilisation goes on. I used to keep an excel with everything in my collection but maintaining that became too tedious and why do everything manually if you can have automated processes which these tags pretty much fulfill?

The downside with using traktor or rekordbox ofcourse is that there's inherent path dependecy: the longer you go on using that way of working the greater the cost becomes of switching to another way of working. Not entirely given the nature of the id3 tag but still...

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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I actually kinda do start with the entire library (and it can be daunting).

Generally I have inspiration from a handful of songs I've been listening to a lot recently and build from there. I'll create a playlist in Rekordbox and begin dropping albums and tracks in which might compliment or complete the journey.

As for the Path Dependency: I started with vinyl in the mid-90s, moved to CDJs in early 2000s, then Traktor around 2010. I switched to Rekordbox this spring, around April. It was/is a learning curve but I couldn't be happier. I hated playing with a laptop. I love being able to export music onto my thumb drive and play with proper platters. It feels more like DJing again. And since I don't overtly tag and sub-define my tracks with tons of metadata, switching from Traktor to Rekordbox wasn't too terrible. Re-analyzing all of the music is a cumbersome thing but whatever, do it as I go.

Edit/Addendum:
1. While I have started creating and playing with custom tagging in Rekordbox, the tags I am making are less genre-specific and are more stylized. Some tracks are great for sunrise, others afternoons, some can go anytime. So I am beginning to experiment with this but it's been a dabble and nothing serious.

2. I have a long history of declining gigs if I'm not inspired. I don't feel I need to have a playlist or ability ready to rock a party at any moment. If I've not been actively listening to stuff that I'm passionate to share, when I get offered gigs, I'll recommend friends and other DJs who might be a better fit for the time being. This has frustrated various promoters who then kinda stop reaching out, which is fair, but I am not gonna fake it or take gigs just for the sake of it. So the need to have music organized for a consistent gigging schedule isn't needed for me =)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have tried to organise genres manually when I import/or rip CDs. I also add Record Label (composer entry + Publisher).

I use MediaMonkey to organise (and digitise) my digital collection, playlist and file/folder structure.

I have also used it for re-organisation/move my filenames and folders (so that all files are organised/named in the same manner) and migrated all my music library to my new NAS without "breaking" the database (and playlists).  Very useful, so I haven't had to "restart" my library in the last 10-15 years... (Migrated my library from iTunes maybe 8-10 years ago)

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