In an ideal world, I think genres shouldn’t exist. Here’s why…
Genres are just boxes that we shouldn’t try to put music in. Your creativity can’t be contained in a uniform square.
Also, genres are not descriptive. In some cases, they confuse things more than help.
Updated November 29, 2019
The Problem With Musical Genres
Saying a band is a “Folk” band doesn’t tell me anything. That could be Fleet Foxes or Bob Dylan or Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
All very different sounds.
“Rock” music could be Queen or Arcade Fire. “Rap” could be Kanye or John Reuben.
And what the heck is “Alternative”? That tells me nothing about the sonic properties of the music.
I know genres are helpful for finding music that could sound a certain way because they’re one-word categories that give people a very general idea of the music. I’ll give them that.
But when describing your music, don’t just say “Punk rock” or “Folk.”
Instead, I have another idea.
It’s more descriptive if we say things like “Coldplay is a mini-me of U2” or “Allen Stone is when you combine the voice of Stevie Wonder, the soul of Bill Withers, and the perspective of a grownup millennial.”
Try describing your music this way. It takes some thought, but it could spark serious interest in your sound.
Or, because genres are so blended nowadays, you could just tell people what instruments are involved.
I think these ways of explaining your music gives people a much more descriptive idea of what they’re about to hear than genres.
So I guess my point is, don’t think of your music as “this” or “that” genre.
Think outside the boxes.
Use descriptions and words that give people a clear idea of what your music sounds like. Not just a one- or two-word genre.