This is the first blog post in a new series explaining Musiio terminology. Each time, you should come away with a better understanding of Musiio’s industry-leading AI solutions and gain new ideas for how to use them.
First up is the Energy classifier. But what do we mean by “Energy”?
The amount of energy that a track has can mean different things to different people. Is a high-energy track generally fast? Does a low-energy track have fewer sonic elements?
This blog post will help you understand and use Musiio’s Energy and Energy Variance tags for better catalogue navigation, playlisting and recommendations.
What does Energy refer to?
In Musiio parlance, Energy refers to musical complexity. The higher the energy, the larger the number of highly active musical parts. While the energy value isn’t inherently linked to any other classifier such as BPM, genre or mood, there tend to be some correlations.
The Energy classifier has five possible values:
- Very High
- Very Low
Very Low Energy
Starting with Very Low energy, we can expect tracks with this tag to be calm with few musical elements. You’re unlikely to hear Very Low energy tracks on the radio. Jeff Buckley’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ is one of the few popular tracks with this tag.
Practical uses: Use the Very Low energy tag to shortlist for sleep playlists. They may have some rhythmic elements, but these tend to be subtle. The tag also correlates with instrumental movie soundtracks, which is ideal if you need to set a relaxed or dreamy mood.
The Low energy tag is common in background music for sync, and stripped-back acoustic and sentimental tracks. Low-energy tracks tend not to have any driving rhythmic elements behind them.
Practical uses: Filter for Vocals and Low Energy to quickly produce shortlists for background music that can work in restaurants, cafes and retail.
This tag is ubiquitous in Top 40 hits, and it’s a broad church. Around 60 per cent of top streaming tracks in 2022 had a Medium energy tag, from the low-key indie stylings of Steve Lacy, and the upbeat disco-tinged pop of Lizzo to the 90s-inspired pop-house of Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul’.
In Practice: If you want to maintain steady energy within a playlist, you can quickly exclude tracks that are not Medium Energy.
These tracks tend to contain higher energy drum and bass parts, and frequently have energetic vocals. These are tracks that make you want to move. LF System’s ‘Afraid to Feel’ has a busy hi-hat part and driving four-to-the-floor beat. Even with its unusual tempo changes, it’s a perfect example of a track with High energy.
In Practice: Filtering a catalogue by High energy tags is ideal for creating workout playlists. Because there are so many fewer popular tracks with High energy compared with Medium, you can quickly get into the right ballpark for adrenaline-pumping music, regardless of genre.
Very High Energy
This tag tends to be linked with tracks that make your skeleton involuntarily leap out of your body. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but intense electronic music, metal and rock are typical in this energy bracket.
In practice: If you’re looking for busy percussion, thumping beats or face-melting guitar shredding, you can use the Very High Energy tag to shortlist for these sorts of playlists. Filter by genre or mood to zero in on the style you want.
Next time, we'll take a closer look at Energy Variance, a powerful but easily overlooked classifier in Musiio Tag.