Genres and folksonomy


What’s more accurate?

  1. same Use genres from MB?


  1. Use genres from MB + Use folksonomy?

it really depends on what you mean by “accurate”

option #1 only includes folksonomy tags on the genre list, and none of the other tags. these are also separated on entity pages from other tags.

option #2 will include all folksonomy tags on an entity, which could literally be anything. for example, there’s awesomename or willowdaze andré busker marvin garschke sören gudegast andré goosmann vacuum a moment of weakness physics is in quatro hydra wastrel hazelnuts you can call me by her name bluesy funky rock´n´roll with a smooth dash of polzos keydo.

folksonomy tags are basically a free-text field for anyone to do anything with, and currently genres are a slightly structured subset of that. some genres aren’t in our list though, and there are many misspellings of genres too.


“Accuracy” is not a feature of MB genres.

As I have explained elsewhere, Genres is a great big huge mess - both generally speaking in the music metadata world, and particularly on Musicbrainz.

Most Musicbrainz data is structured and curated - in fact almost every type of music metadata except genres.

On Musicbrainz, genres are neither curated (i.e. they are not subject to peer review) nor structured (there is a defined list of genres, but they are a bit ad-hoc and have no hierarchy) and there is neither interest nor effort to address these or even more importantly to promote consistent coverage across the Musicbrainz database.

To be fair, this is true for most other music metadata repositories. But this is definitely an area that Musicbrainz could do far better if there was a desire to do so.

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We’re retreading old ground here, but imo it is curated in the same way as any other edits: You can vote yes (+) or no (-), and if it has more no than yes it wont be used.


IMO there is a HUGE need for a source of comprehensive, high quality, curated genres in the music world.

+1/-1 is NOT curation - IMO it is opinion, but if it is curation then it definitely is not the same curation as other metadata because e.g.:

  1. Genres are treated as “subjective” - but I do not personally believe this is the case. If you consider genres as a hierarchy, then there is I believe broad agreement about music being Pop / Jazz / Classical / Musical. I would accept that there is some variety of opinion at sub-levels, and that there are fusion sub-categories that are children of two or more higher levels.
  2. There is no workflow to bring submission of genres to other people’s attention and ask them to vote on it. Indeed Tag submissions are not even “edits” in workflow terms.
  3. There are no style guides defining how tags should be used.

Yes - there is currently a LOT of subjectivity in genre definition and assignment, but that is IMO EXACTLY why there is a need for bringing more structure to it. So let’s have a structured and extended debate on what the genre hierarchy should look like, and then have a concerted and curated effort to classify the MB works, recordings and releases according to these definitions. Yes - there will be some people who disagree with the definitions and how music is assigned to them, but there is nothing to say that something considered to be spanning multiple genres couldn’t have all the genres added.