There's something I've noticed that I haven't seen anyone talk about (or maybe no one's really aware), and that is the generation gap between composers and their understanding of contemporary trendy music styles.
Often, when I listen to a professional composer's sample mp3's on his website, I notice that many of the older composers (middle age or approaching it) don't seem to understand the contemporary musical styles of the younger generation. They'd have these tracks grouped under the electronic section, or call a track "trance," when those tracks sound nothing like the genres they are supposed to be. However, the younger composers don't seem to have this problem, probably because they are well-versed in contemporary trendy music genres--be it drum & bass, trip-hop/downtempo, industrial, goth, nu metal, trance, progressive house, jungle, acid jazz, dub, breakbeat, electro..etc.
One of my day jobs was being a director for a CG animation studio, and I recall when working with a local composer, he knew practically nothing about any of the musical styles I described--ones I'd like him to compose for the project I was directing. I'd say something like, "I want something that has a harder ambient electronica edge to it--like you'd hear in the chill out lounge of a club, but add a bit more of the trip-hop melancholly feel, and then for the part where the action picks up, I want a more progressive house sound than straight trance--maybe even a loftier sound, like epic trance but without the 4/4 floor beat--use breakbeats instead." He just stared at me as if I spoke Martian to him. This guy was in his mid-40's or so, and although he was well-versed in jazz, pop, rock, and the typical bread & butter stuff, he had absolutely no idea how to do any of the contemporary trendy stuff.
So my question is--how many of you do make an effort to be well-versed in all musical styles of today's commercial market? How many of you actually recognize, understand, and know the differences between most of the musical styles I just mentioned above? Do you guys feel having that kind of knowledge gives you an edge when dealing with clients--especially when trying to get gigs that require contemporary trendy music knowledge?