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‘Tis the season as Spotify launches their annual event throughout the music industry, Spotify Wrapped. While we scroll through our results, an unknown genre a majority of us haven’t heard of before emerges, and we ask ourselves, “what the f*ck is Escape Room?” Although no need to worry, Electric Hawk’s extreme team of researchers has that answer for you! So sit back and learn a little bit from us about what the Escape Room genre is!

Escape Room Cluster 2016
Escape Room Cluster from 2016

So what even is Escape Room?

To answer your question, yes it is a genre! A general definition of what Escape Room is as a genre comes from one of Spotify’s data alchemists, Glenn McDonald, who refers to the genre as “more experimental indie-R’n’B-pop that spins off from the sonics of trap.” Now, what does that even mean? Well, to think about general artists that are categorized in that genre are Lizzo, Charli XCX, KAYTRANADA, Rina Sawayama, and Death Grips. Escape Room is partially a silly play on trap, but also reflects something about the quality of the music to McDonald: “it just sort of felt like it was solving and creating puzzles.”

Other artists in the smaller scale that you may have heard in the genre are Empress Of, COUCOU CHLOE, daine, REI AMI, COBRAH, Shygirl, Princess Nokia, and more that have been emerging from the TikTok scene. So far when you cluster these artists as a group, you tend to notice a pattern of what really Escape Room truly is.

Where did the name come from?

As Spotify saw these clusters of artists in their algorithm, they had to develop a new genre. McDonald again mentions, “I thought of ‘escape room’ both for the sense of escaping from trap, and for the ideas of excitement, puzzle-solving and indoorness implied by the actual physical escape-room phenomenon.” Overall we get a combination of that “hot-girl-shit” energy. Although it definitely has evolved, as most genres do, away from just trap and towards a “sensual-sonic-sexy-dancefloor” energy that you would play with at the pregame. While also sprinkling in PC-music/indietronic/activist-hip-hop kind of vibes, to add to the complexity of the genre.

Despite the expanding growth of all the genres emerging into the scene, we are slowly seeing the development of something new. When we dive deeper through all the playlists that are curated for the genre, it all makes sense why Spotify developed this genre to categorize things. Now is it silly that we are just creating new genres to just fit an algorithm? Maybe, but sometimes for a lot of us music connoisseurs, we tend to look for a way to describe a sound and Spotify tends to develop those terms for us. Like the infamous and still trendy genre, Vapor Twitch, from last year’s Wrapped.

But is it a real genre?

In Spotify terms, yes it is. Currently, Spotify holds 5,071 distinct genres and when it comes to just following the data points, it looks like new genres are going to continue to be developed. Now does that make their Spotify Wrapped event even more complicated? Not exactly. It gets a discussion started and obviously, the Spotify marketing team is superior at getting everyone to talk about it. Nevertheless, is Escape Room a real genre to you personally? That is for you to decide!

Now dive deeper into the newly emerging genre, Escape Room, with this playlist we found below!

Quotes and Resource Coming from Reddit, Festival Peak, and PaperMag

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