Genre in Practice

Categories, Metadata and Music-Making in Psytrance Culture

  • Christopher David Charles University of Bristol


Digital technology has changed the way in which genre terms are used in today’s musical cultures. Web 2.0 services have given musicians greater control over how their music is categorised than in previous eras, and the tagging systems they contain have created a non-hierarchical environment in which musical genres, descriptive terms, and a wide range of other metadata can be deployed in combination, allowing musicians to describe their musical output with greater subtlety than before. This article looks at these changes in the context of psyculture, an international EDM culture characterised by a wide vocabulary of stylistic terms, highlighting the significance of these changes for modern-day music careers. Profiles are given of two artists, and their use of genre on social media platforms is outlined. The article focuses on two genres which have thus far been peripheral to the literature on psyculture, forest psytrance and psydub. It also touches on related genres and some novel concepts employed by participants (”morning forest” and ”tundra”).