Wikipedia maintains a list of 300 pop music genres from all around the world.
I am looking for a list like this, with a few sample sound files per genre

Ideally available as a ZIP file containing a folder per genre, and the folder contains 1~5 samples of about 10~30 seconds. Similar formats are OK too. I would prefer to avoid any web-scraping, unless what I want does not exist yet.

Must be redistributable under an open license.

Rationale: I intend to create an Anki flashcards deck with those, to allow students to memorize genre names and the samples. The goal is to be able to say the genre name after hearing a sample.

  • I would assume that any samples, provided that you had them classified would be useful for what you're trying to do. There are lots of places that give out 'free' samples, but they might not be 'royalty free'. (ie, you can have 'em, but once you try to use them commercially you can run into issues).
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 15:40
  • @Joe Yes, that's why I am looking for redistributable samples (public domain? Creative Commons?). Several platforms offer tracks under such a license, for instance Jamendo and Wikimedia Commons. So I guess my data request is realistically answerable.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 2:35
  • And what's the problem with using those? If the issue is just that it's not structured how you want it, that can be fixed. It's hard enough to find open data in some cases -- sometimes you have to format and normalize it yourself.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:09
  • @Joe: Tags on these platforms are crowd-sourced and often inaccurate. I want typically representative samples, and I can't tell whether track2834 is a pure example of genre324 or whether it just contains 10 seconds of a genre324-inspired remix. There is a real curation work to perform, and I don't have the musicology skills to do it, unfortunately.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 7:49
  • Designation of "purity" for musical genres is fraught, to say the least. Who are the arbiters? Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid the curation of a dataset like this is an expensive proposition, especially if you take into account the complexity of copyright. I certainly think it's optimistic to hope that it's already assembled into the format you describe.

The Free Music Archive (FMA) is an extensive source of free audio files, and it has 15 genre tags (including spoken). You'd be on your own to produce clips. This page on their site also has links to articles about the FMA, some of which sound as though they might also cover other free music resources.

Otherwise, I'd suggest a literature review of academic study of music genre. Maybe a paper will provide a lead on a resource like you describe that is not as readily found by Google directly.


Check the creative commons music sites.

In addition, there is Columbia's music database. On Columbia's site, they also provide open source code that allows you to sample audio files from other services like 7Digital.

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