The corporate disaster that is Beatport continues unabated, with the company announcing that it has rejiggered their genre classification to make the music you want easier to find. The public’s response: FAIL. Deadmau5 took to his favorite platform, Twitter, to express his bewilderment at his music being labeled “Bigroom” instead of his preferred destination of Electro House, which Beatport, for some unknown reason, has decided to drop from its genre listings.
It’s no secret that FutureMusic has found Beatport to come up wanting, again and again and again and again. Beatport’s latest foray into refining their music discovery approach is yet another misstep, proving the Denver-based company still doesn’t get it and is essentially rudderless. Due to essentially being first-to-market with a defining electronic music store, solid branding, adroit marketing moves, tight relationships with industry insiders, and savvy distribution deals, Beatport became the defacto market leader in the electronic music download space. Despite wonky backend technology, made worse by an anemic search engine, it leveraged its position to garner a $50 million dollar buyout by SFX Entertainment. We won’t go into SFX’s now legendary mishandling of Beatport and other forays in the electronic music space that enabled them to squander billions of dollars and go into Chapter 11 (You can click on the “corporate disaster” link above for the dirty details —Ed.). What we will do is inform you of one simple trick to allow consumers to find your tracks on Beatport, circumventing Beatport’s pathetic genre classification.
With Beatport’s horrendous search engine, limited genres and embarrassing genre classifications being some of the worst in the business, what can artists and labels do to help potential fans discover their music? Hack the titles when uploading your tracks to the service with the genre you feel categorizes your music the best. Now Joel Zimmerman could probably care less that Beatport has reclassified his music as Bigroom, as opposed to Electro House, since users are likely to be searching for “Deadmau5” by name*, but for the up-and-coming electro maestro, you’re going to have to work for it. Thus, instead of just calling your track, “Next Big Thing,” you should seriously consider calling it “Next Big Thing – Electro House Mix,” instead of “Next Big Thing – Big Booty Mix.” Since Beatport has no track descriptions (a crucial flaw) and no clue on information hierarchy, one of the only criteria you can control is your title, which is actually indexed by Beatports circa 1995 technology.
The more obscure your genre, the more critical it is to hack your title, since it’s the only methodology for being picked by Beatport’s algorithms and correctly indexed. Therefore, Trap, Tribal House, Banging House, Afro House and so on, which are not categorized as genres at all, will come up in the results when your potential customers search for those styles.
How long SFX keeps Beatport afloat is anyone’s guess, since the company has had a big, honking “For Sale” sign for quite some time with no takers. However, as long as they are the leader in the space, you should capitalize on hacking your track titles to give your tracks their best chance of success (and profits), before it becomes a moot point.
*A search for “Joel Zimmerman” on Beatport yields: Rain A Tribute To Joel Zimmerman by Domy Castellano, proving the point of how a track’s title is the most important search criteria.