The past few years have spelled trouble for Beatport, but it's finally announced an update that ought to resonate well with much of its user base. After electronic music fans have called for the online music marketplace to update its genre tagging system, its management has announced that new categories will be added to its interface by the end of August.
Beatport VP of Marketing Terry Weeringasinghe told DJTechTools that "Big Room" and "Future House" would be among the new genre tags, and pointed out that the website has already launched a "Dance" chart geared towards more radio-friendly releases like The Chainsmokers' "#SELFIE." The last category updates were so far back that they included "dubstep," "indie dance" and "hip-hop."
Seeing as how the definitions of electronic music genres evolve over time and differ from region to region, Beatport is assembling a committee of tastemakers to help with the decision making process - including brass from Kompakt Records, Toolroom, Spinnin' Records, and Aus Music. As it stands, Beatport Pro subscribers are able to assign their own tags to music, which has arguably created inconsistencies in the categorization of each one.
In the past, the freedom given to content uploaders has even dramatically impacted how music is categorized outside of Beatport. For instance, the term "progressive house" famously changed meaning roughly a decade ago after Steve Angello began tagging Size Records' trance-tinged main stage anthems as such. The term had originally been coined by a Mixmag writer as a means of describing the layered, slow-building productions released by outfits like Leftfield in the early '90s.
Weeringasinghe went as far as to suggest that the responsibility fell on Beatport to establish an industry standard pertaining to the labeling of genres moving forward. He said:
"Genre tagging’s importance becomes apparent when content is only crowdsourced. When you look at the Deep House chart on Soundcloud, there are currently tracks by Drake and Ed Sheeran in the Top 10 because it’s based on public tagging with no definition or control of the genre. We have to set an industry standard, and we have to do that with our customers and key people in the industry. It’s not the worldwide definition of what that genre is, but what it is on Beatport it has to be consistent so that you can find that thing more easily.”
Weeringasinghe also briefly commented on the suspension - and ultimate cancellation - of Beatport being auctioned off by its parent company, SFX Entertainment. “The changes we’ve made have laid a strong foundation for Beatport and dramatically improved our profitability," he remarked. "Being focused on the store is enabling us to make positive strides to improve, making it possible to finally change our genres, and to add a pre-order system, which has been the biggest request from our labels and suppliers.”
Beatport has yet to issue an official statement regarding its updated genre tags, but will likely do so sometime in the next couple of weeks.