Tag Archives: tagging folksonomy music last.FM

tagging music

::bounce:: OMG!!! Remember when i whimpered about how audioscrobbler should tag music? They did it!! Audioscrobbler and Last.FM finally came together as one (Last.FM) and they introduced a new interface. With the new interface, they introduced tagging. This means that you can tag any artist, song or album. They have a tag editor that lets you tag en-masse. (Unfortunately, a lot of the tagging is painfully slow and not nearly as clean and easy as things like Flickr – it often requires multiple steps before you can add a tag and i keep hanging browsers.)

This is absolutely brilliant! Music is the best candidate for tagging because there’s no authority on genre (although lots of people think they are). Genre is something that is collectively discussed and disagreed upon in almost every music community. Genres regularly split as innovations in music occur and club wars take place over particular tracks and whether it is _really_ X genre. Music genres are highly personal while simultaneously collective – communities are built based on people with similar music tastes and they collectively negotiate the boundaries of a particular genre.

Every music fiend i know bitches about the fact that iTunes only has one possibility for genre. It makes it difficult to negotiate music and you have to create hierarchies. With tagging, that is no longer necessary. Tagging allows people to negotiate music in a more sophisticated way, slicing through the genres in structures that better reflect how people conceptually organize music. Furthermore, in the case of Last.FM, it allows us to move away from streaming by person to streaming by person by their genres (or any tags really). This lets us shape how our music is perceived by others by giving us a way to control the slices.

It’s going to take me forever to tag my music (and damn do i wish it would connect back to iTunes) but i’m very very excited that Last.FM has started this process. And, please, tag your music so that i can listen to it in context!