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I am using mp3tag to access Discogs database to clean up MP3 tags in my 4000+ items library. For surprisingly large number of results I am getting:

Funk / Soul

entry as the only or one of the genres.

What exactly is this?

Shouldn't this be treated as a two separate genres and therefore saved as Funk, Soul in DB?

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  • Soul is more for listening but funk is for shake. It comes from my childhood
    – Fabrice T
    Jul 31, 2023 at 20:11
  • So you seems to be suggesting that I am correct. That mixing these two genres with "/" into single one seems wrong idea.
    – trejder
    Jul 31, 2023 at 20:24
  • Yes it's wrong. For my own experience, I started liking soul after 30 yo. I mean it sounds somehow for teenagers. But funk was good kind (genre) of song at my 10th
    – Fabrice T
    Aug 1, 2023 at 6:05

1 Answer 1

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On the face of it, soul and funk are very different. Soul is an heartfelt, emotive style invented as a secularization of the Black gospel music of the times, while funk is a percussive, high energy style where every instrument is "a drum" as James Brown had it. But soul and funk are both Black American music styles that had their heyday in the 1970s, so there's some inevitable overlap between them.

There are definitely people who are clearly on one side of the line or the other--Sam Cooke is soul, not funk, and no one would call Rick James' funky music "soul"--but plenty of artists straddled the line. No artist is more associated with funk than James Brown, but what about ballads like "Man's World"? Otis Redding was soul, but often got funky, Parliament/Funkadelic's dual name is a marker of its multiple personality as a producer of both soul and funk classics, and the Chambers Brothers, Isaac Hayes, and Earth, Wind and Fire were arguably both soul and funk at once.

Ultimately, all genres are marketing tools, and what Discog's classification tells you is that they feel confident that the target audience for Funk is substantially the same as the target audience for Soul.

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