If I could kick the asses of the little MBA assholes who push their marketing strategies down on music, I would. The use of “genre” labeling to market music is annoying as shit to me. It stands between me and the radio station of my dreams and it only serves the number-grubbing strategies of bean-counting little asshats.
Genre labeling sucks, particularly for those of us consuming the music. Does anyone ever listen to only one genre of music? Rarely. And yet you try finding a radio station that mixes formats. Good friggin’ luck. The best you can hope for is some kind of public radio that dedicates certain hours to certain genres.
And try defining a genre and getting everyone to agree on it. Fat chance. I, for one, have strong opinions about what should be classified as “country”–or, more accurately, what shouldn’t be. If I’m going to be held hostage by a system that forces everything into the labeled boxes, then they damn well better stop shoving pop shit into the jar labeled “country” particularly when that means squeezing out stuff that is honest-to-goodness-two-step-worthy-country. It’s not that I don’t like pop, I just don’t appreciate having it packaged as country in some kind of frakked up attempt to bump up marketing (especially since aspring pop stars seem to be using country as their easier road to the top–but that’s a rant for another Wednesday).
Even after you “define” a genre, what do you do with the stuff that just doesn’t fit? There so much great music out there that doesn’t get played anywhere because of the lack of big-business backing, and also because no one knows which of those ill-conceived categories to put it in. Exhibit A, Eddie from Ohio. They play some country, some folk, some rock, some pop, some blues, some gospel…what they don’t play is radio and that’s not because they aren’t good.
The only winners are the marketing gurus who have simplified the playing field and made it easier to control the creation of megastars. In the meantime we get crappy radio stations that over-play sound-a-like junk and run screaming in fear of anything that might come from outside their ill defined boundaries.
Screw it. I’ll just listen to Last.fm.
Is it too much to ask that there be a station out there that says “screw labels, let’s play music” and gives me Jonathan Coulton’s “Mandelbrot Set,” Reba’s “Fancy,” Arcade Fire’s “Intervention” and Aaron Copeland’s “Variations on Simple Gifts” in a back to back set?