What is music metadata?
Music metadata is data embedded in your songs and albums that gets used to display information on digital streaming platforms (DSPs), and make collection of royalties easier.
Music metadata might include…
- Song title, artist name, album title, and release date.
- Genre, tempo, mood/style, and similar artists.
- Songwriters, record label, copyright owner, and publisher.
Four reasons to include metadata
Aside from DSPs needing to show when you dropped your last album, music metadata is vital to conducting business and opening new doors within the music industry.
- Get paid fast and accurately
- Discover your fanbase
- Land more placements
- Avoid rejection from DSPs
Without providing DSPs information like who the songwriters are, who is your publisher, and what are the publishing splits, it can be near impossible to get money earned in the right hands. Make sure that every name and label is spelled correctly so that your collaborators get paid too.
In the streaming era, curated playlists create more first time listeners than any other promotion method. By tagging your music with qualitative data, such as genre and tempo, curators can search for the type of music they need with accuracy and efficiency.
Movies and commercials also have specific needs, and they pay well for it. Music supervisors especially want to know who you sound like and what the arrangement is.The more data you provide about your theatrical ballad, the easier it is to get placed in a film.
Apple Music and Spotify are becoming more vigilant about the quality of metadata, meaning your music could get removed if there isn’t adequate information. Specifying that your song is an original composition or a cover song ensures that there is no copyright infringement.
How do I add music metadata?
While you can include metadata yourself by tagging the original audio file, which is still good practice, DSPs require that metadata be manually entered when submitting for distribution. CD Baby walks you through the data entry process, making sure that all information is correct and thorough.
What does good metadata look like?
Throughout the music industry, metadata is met with frustration because there has yet to be a shared standard. Here are some points to consider that will make DSPs happy.
Spotify really doesn’t like when the titles of your songs is all lowercase for aesthetic. Unless you’re Ariana Grande, apparently, you may run into problems and rejection your album. Capitalization still matters a great deal within music databases, however.
The issue of how to properly credit features, and more-so producers, has yet to be resolved. Mass consensus yields that you should credit your collaborators as a separate artist, and not within the title of your song (feat. like this).
The power of good metadata management
CD Baby has been collecting robust metadata from our artists since before iTunes launched, ensuring the music we deliver to our partners has a low “rejection rate” due to copyright issues, publishing discrepancies, or outright missing info. Being proactive about gathering data that’s not yet the industry standard has kept us ahead of the curve and ready to deliver.