Where'd the ID3 genre list come from? Only the first twenty entries are alphabetical. Someone must've written a paper on this.

It reads like a teenager (in 1998) wrote down genres as he thought of them until he hit the 7-bit enum limit.

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Reading Wikipedia's history of this now, it is devoid of useful citations.

For the paragraph about how Michael Mutschler shortened the comment field to store a track number, it cites "Practical Common Lisp," by Peter Seibel.

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@mogwai_poet here's the relevant text screenshotted from google book search; there are clearly a number of programming books that use ID3 tagging as an exercise and then by way of introduction copy the history off some webpage or other

@mogwai_poet I always assumed that was true, and that teenager’s name was Justin Winamp

@mogwai_poet my guess is it wasn't a teenager but it had the same thought process :blobowo:

@polychrome @mogwai_poet So I did frankly way, way too much digging into this question and it looks to me like Justin Frankel was definitely 19 years old when ID3 tag support got added to WinAMP and he personally extended the genre list to include "Primus"

The first 80 genres were created by Eric Kemp / NamkraD, though, and history has not recorded much about him besides that he came up with the original format.

@mogwai_poet @SpindleyQ the way these things used to go it might have been "just this guy we knew on IRC made this format and we've pushed it into WinAMP because it was cool".

@polychrome @mogwai_poet NamkraD is often credited as being "from " so this strikes me as extremely likely

@mogwai_poet The FAQ from is... marginally informative:

'Q: Could you add the genre X to the genre list?
No. The ID3v1 genre list is obsolete and inconsistent and was no good to begin with. All genres above 79 were added by Nullsoft and are not really part of the "ID3v1 standard", if such thing existed.'

@mogwai_poet It does explain why I have to remove so much garbage from the list whenever I set up a new tag editor, though.


I always thought the ID3 tags could be arbitrarily long, and the genres were just comments in embedded in the file.

Now reading about how id3 tags actually work, it's kind of amazing they caught on at all.

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