Defying Categorization: Lindsey Stirling on iTunes

/ May 23, 2014


Having just released her latest album, “Shatter Me,” YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling spoke to Rhett & Link about the debate on its iTunes placement. She further elaborated her anti-categorization stance for the guys (and listeners) on “Ear Biscuits.”

Entering celebrity status, on YouTube or elsewhere, comes with wracking up titles. The viewing public needs to know what kind of a performer you are in order to find you on content sharing platforms and the internet at large. However, as a dancing, video editing, electronic musician/violinist, Stirling hoped to avoid categorization in her career.

“It’s kind of been a theme of my life that I always hate it when people are categorized,” she admitted, bringing up dancers and models as examples of people who get boxed into certain roles, having to maintain a physical form to go with their job title. Stirling wished to break out of this with her music, which she ultimately decided to classify as “electronic” on iTunes.

As Stirling tells it, there was a sort of “fight on iTunes” over what chart her music would feature in. You may not know it, but there is a different editor for every page on iTunes, and, as an artist, you only get one category in which your album can appear on the charts. Apparently, the classical people were trying to get Stirling to put her music there (for obvious reasons), while the pop section also thought theirs was the appropriate home for her violin hits.

“It could go in so many different spaces,” Stirling conceded, “[but] I like to think of myself as an electronic artist…I got sick of being a classical violinist; I got burnt out.” Playing the same, classical favorites that others have been playing for generations can, of course, get pretty limiting. And in Stirling’s words, she wanted to “entertain, not just impress.”

She ended up accomplishing both, as her album went straight to number one on the electronic chart. It also reached the top of the billboard in the classical section. The moral of the story, here, is that labels don’t ultimately matter; the work an artist has to offer does. Stirling delves further into this on the latest “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.

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