In my last post I looked at how the AI caught me out in a very specific use-case, an artist I knew well who changed genre recently and I didn’t know about it.

Some artists are famous for switching it up, Madonna perhaps almost every album. But here I am going to look at some classic artists who made the switch but let the AI tell the story. 

This is what happens when artist assumptions don’t always fit the audio...

Bob Dylan

Famously pre-1965 Bob Dylan was known as an acoustic folk singer, including around the time of 1963 Album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. I have selected the hit song Blowin’ In The Wind as an example, listen here:

Now check out the tags for this track, we can see the Acoustic Guitar Tag, the Gentle energy and the folk genre tag. All pretty standard for a pre-1965 Dylan.

Then in as little as 2 years, his album Bring It All Back Home would be considered a turning point in Dylan "going electric". Here is the 1965 song Subterranean Homesick Blues from that album:

For this track the tags come back as Electric Guitar, Energetic and Indie/Rock in the genre tags. About as clear cut as you can get about the switch from Acoustic to Electric.


Pink’s first album had a very different vibe stylistically from her later albums. Here is a single from her first album "Can't Take Me Home" released in 2000:

Check out the tags for, we’ve got R&B and Hip Hop, as well as percussion and ‘relaxed' in the results.

Skip to a later track by the artist such as ‘Sober’ from 2008 and you can see the difference in results.

This track creates the tags Pop and Rock as genre tags and the mood is tagged as powerful. Pink actually has a lot of different influences in her music, other songs in her back catalogue get tagged as ‘electronic’ or ‘indie’ and being able to have the metadata reflect the reality of the song and not just one overarching genre for the artists entire catalogue is a powerful tool.

David Bowie

Bowie was prolific. I don’t think with Bowie you can really say he started on genre A and ended up at B, it is much fairer to say he was constantly evolving throughout his lengthy career as a recording artist. 

An interesting way to look at Bowie is by era.


In his phase as Ziggy Stardust, his track Jean Genie gets tagged as Indie/Rock with Electric and Bass guitar.


The 80s was the rise of all things electro; Bowie's ‘Let’s Dance’ is identified by our AI as having elements of Disco in the track.


By 1995 and the song Hallo Spaceboy we start seeing Electronic as the predominant AI genre tag with a little bit of Rock in there.

To conclude...

No one artist’s journey is the same, and no one catalogue by that artist is the same!

And I think it’s worth repeating; lots of the world’s best artists evolve their sound. That’s good for them, but not so good for catalogue management. 

Check out our new series of AI insights that do a deep-dive tagging hundreds of tracks by a single artist, such as Taylor Swift and find the moment she crossed over from Country to Pop.

And if you are looking for better catalogue management or the automation of tagging and better search, contact us at to find out more. 

Share this story