A Genre Map

Inspired by an email exchange with Samuel Richardson, creator of ‘Know your genre‘  I created a genre map that might serve as a basis for a visual music explorer (perhaps something to build at one of the upcoming music hack days).  The map is  big and beautiful (in a geeky way).  Here’s an excerpt, click on it to see the whole thing.

Update – I’ve made an interactive exploration tool that lets you wander through the genre graph. See the Labyrinth of Genre

The Labyrinth of Genre


Update 2 – Colin asked the question “What’s the longest path between two genres?” – If I build the graph by using the 12 nearest neighbors to each genre, find the minimum spanning tree for that graph and then find the longest path, I find this 31 step wonder:


Of course there are lots of ways to skin this cat – if I build the graph with just the nearest 6 neighbors, and don’t extract the minimum spanning tree, the longest path through the graph is 10 steps:

  1. #1 by Mic on January 16, 2011 - 7:13 am

    I don’t understand what this should represent… some similar genres are well connected, but some other really do not! Punk is only connected with ska and wristslitters (?!) and not to skapunk, hardcorepunk, politicalpunk.
    There is a good metal section in the bottom, but it’s not connected with another metal section (power metal and friends) somewhere in the middle. etc..

    This is however a curious thing to look at (and really beautiful in a geeky way :P): where did you took the data from?

    • #2 by Paul on January 16, 2011 - 11:48 am

      Mic – I have to prune lots of edges to avoid a spahgetti graph. So for this graph I prune using a minimum spanning tree. The result gives the least number of edges to connect the whole space, but this algorithm will often prune connections that you would otherwise want to keep. I’m working on a different way to visualize this. Staytuned. The data comes from here: http://musicmachinery.com/2010/11/10/lastfm-artisttags2007/

  2. #3 by Colin on January 18, 2011 - 3:18 am

    What’s the longest path between two genres? What are those genres?

    • #4 by Paul on January 18, 2011 - 8:29 am

      Colin – I’ve updated the post to answer your questions.

  3. #5 by abraxas on February 10, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    this is like the http://www.mapofmetal.com/ metal map!
    do you think that tagging music is correct?


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