Visualize a tetrahedron (a pyramid with a triangular base). Label each corner: "Metal", "Techno", "Singer/Songwriter", and "Rap". It is my theory that almost every "pop" or "rock" musical artist or group can fit somewhere in this tetrahedron. For instance:

Most artists aren't single points, but a sort of blob; their sound ranges around, depending on songs/albums. Some are rather limited (like Britney Spears), whereas some are pretty expansive (like Moby).

Within this theory, individuals are either "conservative" or "liberal" and "point", "edge" or "face" people. Me, I am a liberal-edge person, with the edge being "Techno" + "Singer/Songwriter": I love the extremes of these two genres, as well as stuff pretty close to the extremes in "Metal" and "Rap" -- but I just don't like getting down with Snoop Doggy Dogg or Pantera. My brother is a conservative-face person; he likes the extremes of Rap, Metal and Singer/Songwriter, but just doesn't like Techno at all. My parents are conservative-point around "Singer/Songwriter," with the "Metal" shared side being a little more liberal than the others; it's very difficult to get them to listen to our music.

Get the general idea? Okay, yeah, it's not a perfect system. Some groups are hard to place (like the Punk/Third-wave ska/Swing guys), some don't fit in period (the system makes no accomodations for orchestra/classical, jazz, or various ethnic influences, but most people can't visualize more than 3 dimensions without getting a severe headache), and sometimes two very different groups (like early REM and Simon and Garfunkel) will be right near each other on the scale. But for those groups/artists who do fit into the tetrahedron, it works remarkably well, especially as a rule of thumb for determining people's music likes and dislikes. If your head stops spinning long enough for you to start visualizing all of this.

I don't think I like your system. To start off, it's very limited, and only really works for the past few decades (and maybe not many more). Rap and techno both use the same instruments and techniques with rap (defined as quick rhyming speech over a constant background) more based on improvisational black spirituals and techno more based on rock, blues, and (going back far enough) classical. Similarly, two "metal" groups (lets say Manson and Metallica), which you have lumped together because of the fact that they use the same instruments, have completely different styles, with Manson being more influenced by modern (new wave, metal, etc) and Metallica being astonishingly similar to classical.

Myself, I think of music as kind of a wave of advancement - a person pushes through at one point, and others will follow along, pushing farther and filling in the gaps betweel the peaks, much like what is happening to rock and rap now*. It doesn't exactly organize well, but it seems to fit the situation a little bit better.

*If you think this is a bad thing, I suggest you listen to some Rage Against the Machine and Junkie XL.

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