Mapping All Music

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

If attempts to convert the universe of musical genres and bands into something visually navigable entertain you, here's one:

There's an overview map of the musical genre-space, and individual artist-maps for each genre, with sample illustrative audio for each genre and most bands, and more extensive genre-primer playlists linked on Rdio.

Everything in this is generated algorithmically, which means there are some incongruous bits here and there, but if I tried to do this by hand it would take essentially forever, so it seems like a reasonable trade-off.

(There's a little more background information about the thing here:

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:21 (four years ago) Permalink

Quite something, sir!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:28 (four years ago) Permalink

this is rad

calypso and salsa chaining off of IDM is kind of weird but i can kind of understand it

ciderpress, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I love this, congratulations!

Van Horn Street, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:34 (four years ago) Permalink

this is fascinating

Call me at **BITCOIN (DJP), Friday, 12 April 2013 17:34 (four years ago) Permalink

sexy e.g. Beyonce "Halo"

sandra dayo connor (The Reverend), Friday, 12 April 2013 17:37 (four years ago) Permalink

In the version I have where the genres are placed strictly by data values, with no adjustment for readability, calypso and salsa are in a little clump with highlife, vallenato, boogaloo, mbalax, latin jazz and mambo. IDM belongs up above them a bit, but gets interposed in there due to the math for spacing the names out so they aren't all on top of each other...

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:42 (four years ago) Permalink

This is very cool. What's the underlying data? Is is social or more to do with content? (if that makes sense)

bananas are my preference (seandalai), Friday, 12 April 2013 17:44 (four years ago) Permalink

The underlying data is like mountains on top of mountains on top of turtles on top of turtles, and these are some of the patterns that form when the snow falls off the peaks. Some things are cultural/social, some come from audio analysis. Basically everything we do at the Echo Nest is directly or indirectly involved one way or the other.

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 17:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Is the metal cluster pulling shoegaze towards it, or was that just accidental? Not that I disagree that there's a connection, but it's interesting to see it expressed.

lazulum, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:14 (four years ago) Permalink

Nothing is accidental. It's not a force diagram, so there's no "pulling", precisely, but yeah, I like mentally following the arc from post-metal to shoegaze to dream pop. The non-data distortions are all in the Y axis, and increase as you go down, so the stuff at the top is more precisely positioned than the stuff at the bottom...

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:33 (four years ago) Permalink

i believe it should be "mapping all rovi" now

infirm neophytic child (zachlyon), Friday, 12 April 2013 18:36 (four years ago) Permalink

And if it wasn't obvious, there's a kind of fluctuating definition of "genre" involved. Although I think "Sexy" is probably the only one that has absolutely no real justification.

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:37 (four years ago) Permalink

This is awesome!

jaymc, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:38 (four years ago) Permalink

Rovi has no Sexy.

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:41 (four years ago) Permalink

or Ninja

MarkoP, Friday, 12 April 2013 18:54 (four years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

If you were refusing to look at this until I added bounce, electro swing and moombahton, it's ready for you now.

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 02:53 (four years ago) Permalink

this is genius

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 06:36 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah this is fascinating. love trying to intuit all the relationships and continuities

Chris S, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 07:22 (four years ago) Permalink

i'd been wondering where moombahton went

infirm neophytic child (zachlyon), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:18 (four years ago) Permalink

Is there any way you could add a 'search by artist' function? I'd love to be able to look up individual artists and see what they are.

they all are afflicted with a sickness of existence (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 11:55 (four years ago) Permalink

Sad to admit, but I looked for my old band, found it under 'warm drone'

ヘイシグ・ブローズ (MaresNest), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:28 (four years ago) Permalink

Choral and oratory should get together.

lazulum, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:37 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I have an artist-lookup thing internally, but it'll be a bit more work to expose it. So not yet!

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 15:46 (four years ago) Permalink

Oh, MaresNest, which drone band were you in? (Or were you not drone?)

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 15:53 (four years ago) Permalink

Rothko, I don't know what the hell we were tbh. We got called all sorts of things, I'd have put us next to Labradford I guess.

ヘイシグ・ブローズ (MaresNest), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 17:15 (four years ago) Permalink

Was Rothko that group with lots of bassists? They were great!

scintilla (seandalai), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 17:18 (four years ago) Permalink

Yea, for the first 3/4 years it was 3 bassists

ヘイシグ・ブローズ (MaresNest), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 17:26 (four years ago) Permalink

Oh, very cool, I was a Rothko fan. I even wrote (short) reviews of A Negative for Francis and Forty Years to Find a Voice. I think you're in fine and basically appropriate company in warm drone.

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 17:32 (four years ago) Permalink

ty glenn :)

ヘイシグ・ブローズ (MaresNest), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:22 (four years ago) Permalink

why does the powerviolence cluster resemble a map of south america? why are das oath way of by themselves, a tiny island floating in arctic seas? is there really a band called venomous concept? that's rad.

controversial vegan pregnancy (contenderizer), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:30 (four years ago) Permalink

^ north AND south america tbh, all of them

controversial vegan pregnancy (contenderizer), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:30 (four years ago) Permalink

Continental drift is copying my readability algorithm.

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 19:31 (four years ago) Permalink

I appreciate the classification of the iPod commercial suspenders bands as "stomp and holler"

crüt, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 21:04 (four years ago) Permalink

no lumineers no credibility

The Reverend, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 21:28 (four years ago) Permalink

Ah, you're right, I accidentally left "stomp and holler" out of my last update. I just put the more recent map for it up, which does in fact have the Lumineers...

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:13 (four years ago) Permalink

hm, is there an equivalent of electrofunk/post-disco/old school ('old school' in the Zapp & Roger, Patrice Rushin sense) somewhere in there, or is that grouped in with funk?

Chris S, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:28 (four years ago) Permalink


Chris S, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:29 (four years ago) Permalink

why is the map for "house" all shitty edm?

The Reverend, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:32 (four years ago) Permalink

(insert obvious joke)

ḉrut (crüt), Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:35 (four years ago) Permalink

OK, I added post-disco. It has a lot of overlap with funk and disco, and I'd guess that the automated song-selection for it won't do a great job at adhering to the "post" part, but in all of these cases I'm pleased if the cloud of music kind of swirls around in vaguely the right vicinity of the proper aesthetic. These are supposed to be invitations, not circumscriptions. A human with real first-hand knowledge of an individual genre should pretty much always be able to do better than my robots.

As for house, the plain "house" genre is kind of deliberately miscellaneous in both substyle and era. The more specific ones (tech house, chicago house, hard house, etc.) ought to be more coherent.

I also added first attempts at c-pop and chinese traditional today. I don't know enough about those to say how good my versions of them are, but they're definitely Chinese, so that's encouraging.

glenn mcdonald, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 01:23 (four years ago) Permalink

And chinese indie rock.

glenn mcdonald, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 02:28 (four years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Here's another thing that turns this around into a timeline of sorts:

glenn mcdonald, Wednesday, 4 December 2013 01:18 (three years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

This is fun:

What's a J Boog?

μ thant (seandalai), Saturday, 1 March 2014 01:52 (three years ago) Permalink

hey florida y u no like haim

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 1 March 2014 02:21 (three years ago) Permalink

We Do Really Loud (doo dah), Saturday, 1 March 2014 02:51 (three years ago) Permalink

@seandalai, was about to share that myself.

can hawaii be more stereotypical?


, Saturday, 1 March 2014 03:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Today Spotify acquired the Echo Nest, where I work on this stuff!

glenn mcdonald, Thursday, 6 March 2014 17:20 (three years ago) Permalink

And now the 1000+ ENtro playlists to each genre are available on Spotify, as well. See the links at the bottom of each map page. Like the ENtro to mod revival [] or just go straight to the ENtro to everything [].

glenn mcdonald, Friday, 14 March 2014 02:05 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
seven months pass...

i just discovered this, and it is the greatest thing ever

flopson, Sunday, 1 October 2017 23:58 (one month ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.