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(Last Updated On: September 10, 2017)

What's the Problem Now?

I have a lot of CDs. More are coming. I download lots of music. It will never stop flowing in. Categorisation is an issue. It's difficult to create a format that works smoothly across all aspects of it. I need organisation, because there's so much of it, and I'll otherwise forget things for years.

Here's how I'm operating now:

Physical music

  • Separated by genre
  • Ordered chronologically

Simple.

R&B, Funk and Soul over there. American and Canadian Rap there. Garage, Grime and UK Rap there. Reggae and Dancehall there. Drum & Bass, Jungle and Dubstep there. Pop there. Compilations there. Each section is in order of when the album came out. When a CD is taken out to be listened to, it goes right back where it belongs afterwards. 99% of this is fine, and isn't a problem.

 

Digital

This is more of a scramble, so it's easier to explain from an artist view. Every act has a folder. That folder lives within a regional folder, which falls within a decade folder, which falls within a genre folder.

Example: August Alsina has a folder of his albums and mixtapes. His folder is in 2010s, which is in R&B. Smooth. It sounds logical and easy to arrange. In reality, it's a mess. Here are all the reasons my current system doesn't cut it:

 

1. R&B by decade

It's helpful to split things this way, as each era was stylistically different. The issue is that each musician has their own folder, and can only occupy one decade, even if their career spanned multiple.

Example: R. Kelly turned up in 1991 (or even earlier, if you wanna talk MGM). He still has many many hits in the '00s, but the '90s were when he made his mark. Cool. But then someone like Jason DeRulo debuted in 2009, but then feels lost in the '00s, when '10s were his zone.

 

2. R&B by region

I've got Danish and Swedish R&B. I've got Philly and Detroit strain. I've got London and New York ones. They all have a different swing, but fall into the same pot. I decided countries are as deep as I can go with this, before I'm overdoing it.

 

3. R&B by sub-genre

R&B is an umbrella genre for which Contemporary R&B is at the forefront. In previous decades, the off-shoots all rivalled each other in popularity. While some artists might fit snugly under one folder, others just don't. There are some that might suit a Boogie, Gospel, Disco label better. The decades solve most of this, but not all.

 

4. Soul

Borders blur with R&B, obviously. There's also all of them offshoots to consider, plus the ones from R&B that could slip in here.

 

5. Pop that's nearly Soul and R&B

I've retrospectively decided that New Kids on the Block, Blue and 5ive had passable material. Some of their work was more Pop, and some was more R&B. In a folder full of greatness, they're looking a bit out-of-place.

 

6. UK Rappers making Pop

When they release albums that are lame apart from the couple of tracks, but I have to store the whole album, despite the match it doesn't match all  of what's around it.

 

7. Grime artists making Rap

There's a one-folder-only rule in operation. If you saw them, the differences are obvious. It's just that so many have shifted massively from one to the next. I've already made the prediction that Stormzy's future will be a lot more Rap-focused, I won't have to make the transition for him.

 

8. UK Rap being too loose

I refuse to make a “UK Hip Hop” category that includes Ed Scissor but excludes Wretch. Doesn't make sense. Yet having BVA and Grizzy jamming in the same pool of acts doesn't seem right.

 

9. Bass music

Encompassing D&B, Jungle, Dubstep and all the like. Great things, but so many of the artists transition from one thing to the next. These releases need to be split into different genres, but the albums and compilations just don't let me.

 

10. Dancehall

It's the singing and rapping thing again. People like Buju Blanton and Sizzla went from one extreme to the other, so the whole discography doesn't fit into one.

 

11. Lover's Rock

Worthy of its own folder or not? Gets me all the time. In which case, a whole load of changes need to be made, and Dub will probably need one too.

 

11. Non-Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall

Segregating on this level doesn't seem right, but when there's so many from America, Canada and England, I need some way of differentiating.

 

12. Pretty Ricky

So many rappers sing: Domino, Afroman, Snoop just came to mind. Singers have rapped: Bobby Brown, Tevin Campbell, R. Kelly. Many do both very well (hail up Trey Songz). But what is Pretty Ricky? As much as you'd like they fit into R&B more, go listen to one of their songs and then get back to me.

 

13. Drake

As above, but different genres on single albums are just irritating.

 

13. Southern Rap sub-genres

Buck, Crunk, Trap, Bass, Bounce, the rest. I ultimately decided to pass on these, as it would have gone too far, especially when we have artists from these parts taking styles from elsewhere (like when parts of Memphis went through a G-Funk phase).

 

14. Borough-separated Rap

The nuanced differences of New York Rap in the '90a initially made his a necessity. Once I discovered how many groups are made up of people from all over the shop, it had to be abandoned.

 

15. Non-sub-genres

I need to see that you're in it for the long haul. Dibby fad sub-genres can't run around here.

 

16. Release types

Albums, mixtapes and EPs are cool. Singles with tracks that aren't on anything else are irritating. Making things look untidy and whatnot. I don't want to get single versions of everything too.

 

17. Loosies

Loose, non-released tracks just float around in artist folders. True, they weren't released officially, but this is the whole reason why I've kept it. Where to put them in an otherwise-neat collection is another thing.

 


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- Chiino

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