Join 30,000 Audio Issues Subscribers and Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet That Make Your Mixes Sound Awesome Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Plug-ins You Already Have

Are Musical Genres Important?


This is a guest post by Andrew Reilly.

You might have noticed that a musical genre is the first label placed on a band. More often than not, the labeling is a lazy one.

Not every band is able to fit neatly into a little box with a bunch of other bands but because of the desire to have everything packaged up neatly, the labeling of musical genres continues. There is no doubt that genres are the invention of record labels and music magazines (and now online sites) to reach out to new buyers and show them what they should be listening to.

Bands Have No Say in the Matter

It is important for a band to not think too closely about which genre they are in because this will immediately start to limit them. It is obvious that bands will have influences and it is inevitable that a new band will sound like other bands around or who have been around before. Most musicians started off as music fans of other artists and it would be wrong to think that this influence will not shine through in their own sound.

Don’t let a Musical Genre Define You

If a band or artist starts to deliberately sculpt their sound to fit in with a particular genre or fan base, it can go wrong very quickly. After all, music is best when it is free and loose and coming from a natural creative space. If songs are created because there are a lot of fans who like that particular sound, it will probably come across as being manufactured and fake. In this sense, genres are not important and they should be ignored by a band as much as possible.

If you Enjoy a Musical Genre, Embrace it!

However, if a band does have a sound that fits alongside other acts and the band enjoys this music, there is nothing wrong with being proud of the genre. After all, musicians should be music fans as well and if a musical genre genuinely excites a group, is it so wrong to be part of it?

Being involved in a music scene with like-minded people who enjoy the same sort of songs and sounds can be a great experience. Genres can sometimes be an easy way to work alongside other people and to introduce new fans to the music you are making.

No matter what, there are two very definite and different sides to the argument over genres. Both of these opinions are valid but it is important to know where you stand on them.

If you like the idea of musical genres and you feel it helps you find new bands, embrace the concept of musical genres and enjoy yourself. If you dislike musical genres, carry on treading your own path and don’t get too hung-up on the reasons that other people choose for liking a band. If you’re in a band, as long as people like your music, it doesn’t really matter why they got into liking the music.

Andrew Reilly is a music loving, gig-going fanatic from Glasgow, Scotland. A career in music was cut short by a criminal lack of talent but Andrew has since found his niche in writing about the music he loves…and some that he doesn’t! A background in marketing has ensured that Andrew is always keen to explore the promotional and business side of the music industry.

Image by: Tyom


Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet and Make Your Home Studio Mixes Sound Great Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Gear You Already Have

*Spam sucks and I will not share your email with anyone.

About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

Read more

LEAVE A COMMENT

  • I wholeheartedly agree that it’s up to the musician to not allow a genre to define their sound. When artists start limiting themselves to the boxes that others have built for them, that’s where originality starts falling apart.  Genres are ultimately made up by everyone other than the artist, so that they can give some method to the madness that is music. 

    To be able to think outside that box, however, you need to know what the box looks like – which is why familiarizing yourself with the genres your fans like is important.

  • I wholeheartedly agree that it’s up to the musician to not allow a genre to define their sound. When artists start limiting themselves to the boxes that others have built for them, that’s where originality starts falling apart.  Genres are ultimately made up by everyone other than the artist, so that they can give some method to the madness that is music. 

    To be able to think outside that box, however, you need to know what the box looks like – which is why familiarizing yourself with the genres your fans like is important.