Roon we need to talk (about genres)

I think it is impossible for there to be some sort of consensus on genre. Roon or its providers can provide a default, and they can provide potentially better tools for customization. But any genre hierarchy changes made that may affect all users will definitely be cause for someone to squawk.

It’s not even a static target. Bands evolve, or we look back on something with 25 years’ perspective and consider a genre or band differently. Think about trying to classify Modrien after his first few paintings…that wouldn’t have gotten you very far!

But it should, and in Electronica - it is.
If you look at BeatPort, DiscCog. Not perfect but used by DJ’s as a discovery tool. So as accurate as the industry gets.

Simple example/fact - those who classify any EDM as “Techno” (Berlin/Berghain/Detroit) are simply wrong.

Don’t confuse educating self in current consensus of music genres/styles with the possibility for a sufficiently accurate catalog.

Bottom line - For me and fellow electronic music lovers - Beatport’s discovery work. Roon’s don’t.

It is per release/album, as it should.

Sorry Ron, I feel that’s just a bit silly. I am not saying you are wrong about your genre opinions, simply that the idea that genre is “objective” is effectively impossible. The music is just what it is – genre is an intellectual overlay that approximates the classification of influence and sound, like those physics formulas we learned in high school being approximate models of how the universe works. It’s not the actual “it,” it’s our mental overlay.

Plus, this isn’t about scientific classification - i.e. we’re not trying to determine the phylum and species of a plant or insect to write a book about it. Presumably this has to do with creating a playlist to listen to or about music exploration, which are inherently subjective activities.

If it works in practice - then probably not entirely silly, right?

The simple fact is that me (and all others) are able to look for specific genres/styles/sub-genres/labels for electronic music in Beatport and the likes and usually not be disappointed. Not so in Roon.

End result - the Radio and discovery functions for Electronica are useless in Roon.

Can it be better regardless of your claims for silliness? Sure, we have examples.

At some point a self-respecting community should consolidate on it own taxonomy to a reasonable extent. And in fact it is already done in the electronic music industry to a much better degree of correctness than what offered by Roon’s choice of DB.

Hi Ron. My point is definitely not that Roon’s genres are perfect or even usable for most folks. My point is much more conceptual here --I am responding to your use of terms like “wrong” or “correctness.” That seems dogmatic to me.

You are totally free to prefer Beatport’s taxonomy. It may very well be 1000 times more helpful to you than Roon’s Allmusic genres. My point is that this need not be accompanied by a “correct” or “wrong” opinion…even if you include a community, that is just more people with the same OPINION. It’s subjective, not objective, that is my foundational point.

Then, with that point, its relationshhip to Roon is that no matter whose genre classifications Roon imports or uses as a default, someone is going to disagree. And they are not “correct” or “wrong.” Just a different opinion. Bringing this to software development, my take is that it’s better for Roon to focus on best-of-breed tools to manage genre classifications rather than to search for some better taxonomy to use as a default to force upon users. No matter whose genre taxonomy they use as a default, someone will want it differently, and that is not “wrong” or “correct.”

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I got your opinion vs. fact point from the first post.

I agree with it to some extent, but tried to convey that Roon/Allmusic taxonomy for electronic music is a major step backwards that far exceeds the classification that is subject different opinions.

I will also state that - classifications are useful to a community. If you agree with that then you could agree that, where possible, we should strive to agree on objectively measured definitions of genres and styles. In electronic music these would include BPM, drum patterns, track structure, etc.

Do you keep the opinion that in genres everything is open to opinions?

When the classifications of a song are against the one made by the artist/producer itself and against the common knowledge of professionals in the industry, it might well be regarded as “wrong”. Right?
If Roon would classify Justin Bieber - Baby as Heavy Metal, would you still hold the same opinion?
These are the levels of discrepancies in Roon’s electronic music catalog that I am referring to.

I simply do not see that the word “objective” can be included…but that said, it would certainly be great for there to be some level of consensus among a user group relative to genres, and for Roon to support a method of importing that into the software – i.e. analogous to exporting and importing something like a playlist, perhaps Roon could support one user exporting their version of a genre hierarchy (or some portion of it…if we think of it like a tree, starting from some “root” or “branch”) and then another user being able to import that.

Perhaps that could even be done with Genre assignments to artists or albums. But until Roon can reliably identify all artists and all albums and versions thereof, that probably would create more chaos than it would resolve.

Well, Public Enemy is not Baroque Chamber Music, and Velveeta is not Thai food. But as you get closer in from such extreme examples, yes, I think there is plenty of room for opinion.

I’ve been listening to music and going to concerts since the early 80s. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about my favorite bands and their origins. Through Roon in the last year, I’ve learned a lot of things I did not know – the relationships of early art rock to new wave and what new wave or punk artists were in 70s bands not “labeled” as such. It’s just far more complex than any genre model can really capture. Sort of like trying to predict the weather to the last degree and raindrop or the economy to the last penny.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t broad classifications that most could agree with. But when you zoom in, there will be differences of opinion and there isn’t a right or wrong in this type of thought process.

I don’t believe so. The artist’s or producer’s opinion may hold more weight, but it’s still an opinion. There was band called Death that formed in 1973. Punk Rock did not exist then. If you listen to their music, it follows an amazing number of the patterns of punk and American hardcore. But that was 1973. Those genres didn’t exist then. What do you do with that? The artists couldn’t have considered themselves punk. It didn’t exist.

Yes, sure, not saying it doesn’t need work. My point is that maybe rather than work towards fitting in some other external taxonomy, it is best to create tools that let people roll their own, or choose their own. Consensus is useless to a given individual user who disagrees with it.

Absolute correctness shouldn’t be a goal. But the current state in Roon’s electronic classification is a joke.

If said individual is in a striking minority, perhaps it would benefit him to simply conform, so that he could communicate better with others.

I’m all for a community driven classifications like Waze for maps and Wikipedia for knowledge:

Let’s not go there. I was having fun until someone mentioned conformity. Consider this, without the usual rhetoric, to be a forceful opinion to the contrary.

Roads are not music. Roads go to a specific spot. I cannot opine that the Appian Way leads to Berlin. It goes to Rome. Not the same thing. Even routes are based on estimated time.

There is a lot of good information on Wikipedia. Not sure it is always “knowledge” or “correct.”

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OK :slight_smile:
Luckily folks at any taxonomy research in any field of science are not sharing your views…

Now that’s a deep concept. I won’t be in the mood to “go there” until I’ve had a few beers this evening :slight_smile:

Nope. I like being in a minority and perceiving things differently. I like people having opinions but we seem to be wanting to impose a version of opinion onto people as “fact”. I don’t think it should ever be a goal of Roon - or any other product out there - to thrust a version on people. Sure it would be nice to load meta data from other places. Maybe we find one that more closely approximates our fact. Sorry, opinion. But maybe we want to fly against the grain because we just perceive things differently.

Actually @Peter_Davies1is incorrect, that only shows you the way tags imported are translated to what genres in Roon. On that same screen, if you click on one of the little pencil icons (to reassign a genre) you’ll get the genre hierarchy. But as someone else said, it’s online at Allmusic

Opinions help define us as individuals.
But, if we want to communicate efficiently with eaxh other we should agree on language and terms. That way we can ask “Suggest me music of the genre X” and actually get the expected result.

Actually, i do not dislike the fact that rock and pop are grouped under big parent genre Rock/Pop. I mean, in my previous Logitech Media Server library, i used to have 3 big libraries: Classical, Jazz and Rock/Pop. It makes sense to me.
In general, i find it difficult to say “this is rock” or “this is pop”. But i’m not a genre classification maniac…

Nevertheless, there are albums/artists that i feel like more Pop (Madonna? Early Beatles?) and album/artists that i feel more rock (Springsteen?)…
More than that, i think that in the big family of Rock/Pop, the various sub-genres are more “rock” or more “pop”…

So, in general, the roon/allmusic logic works for me. Except that in roon, under Pop/Rock, there is a Pop subgenre, but not a Rock Subgenre. This doesn’t make much sense. Actually, i have a Rock Tag in my files…, so in my library settings i said that it’s a Pop/Rock subgenre. I could define all other roon “Rock” subgenres to be… subgenres of my Rock, and it would be ok. I guess.

On the other hand, I agree that… all various subgenres (of Rock/Pop, but also of Jazz and Classical) are not very satisfying (for me… “alternative” , “indie”, “adult”… do not make much sense…) and i would like a simplified hierarchy.

So, i agree that the possibility to edit in a better and easier way the library genres hierarchy would be very very appreciated.

There’s another point, though, that i really dislike: international music. i mean, it seems that what is not English-american… is international, and i think this is quite “closed-minded”. if i look at italian music… it seems that there are “italian pop” or “italian folk”… but not “italian rock”. i don’t know, it seems that the same concept of a hierarchy cannot work to distinguish regional music.

in my opinion… regional identification should not be a genre at all. the overall genre hierarchy would be simplified (see discogs).

then, there could be an additional “regional filter” if you want to select a particular genre coming from a particular region/country. in a way, it would be as if every genre had a regional sub-genre.

there are also specific genres that are strictly regional, in the sense that they are present only in a specific country/region, and cannot be seen as regional subgenres (i don’t know, flamenco? mongolian throat singing?). i would put all these under a “world music” parent.
i think this is the logic i meet in general in music stores… and it works.

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Is any body else having the problem that Roon won’t allow you to choose genres?

For example, The Beatles are marked as “Pop/Rock”.

I’m like some of you, who don’t like rock and pop under the same category, so I edit to deselect pop/rock. That’s all I do: deselect pop/rock. Then for some reason, Roon adds a bunch of additional genres.

The same thing happens most of the times I try to deselect “Album Rock”

Perhaps this can be split into a new topic and moved to support