Metadata management is one of those tasks that nobody in the music industry is especially keen on. It takes time, nerves, stamina and in the worst case, it costs you money.
That is when you get it wrong. In other words, when the metadata for your musical content isn’t right.
For example, it can cost you money on streaming services. Without correct metadata, the royalty payment is not going to reach the right person/company.
This is crazy: there is no one standard for metadata in the music industry. However, there are attempts to change this.
DDEX is a format that gets a lot of support from many big industry players. For example from Amazon Music, Universal Music, Pandora or Spotify.
DDEX is a standards setting organisation focused on the creation of digital value chain standards to make the exchange of data and information across the music industry more efficient.*source, DDEX
Metadata Management Strategy
In order to care for your metadata in a sufficient way, you need a metadata management strategy.
What is the bottom line? You need a structure that is clear throughout the whole process of creating a song/EP/LP.
This will ensure that the metadata situation is professional, every step of the way. For one thing, you can ensure that the final metadata is correct.
Clean metadata could help a session musician get the next gig, pay the songwriter’s rent, optimize user experience for streaming services — and save millions to the industry along the way.*source, SoundCharts
What is more, a proper metadata management strategy can help you tackle problems you might have in your back catalogue.
The biggest share of audio streaming in the US in 2018 was ‘Deep Catalog’. I.e. material that is older than 156 weeks. Notably, ‘Deep Catalog’ was responsible for a staggering amount of 254 billion dollars.
Here’s the deal: when your catalogue/deep catalogue metadata is not working, you won’t get a share of this very big streaming pie.
Metadata Management Software
In case I scared you like it’s Halloween tomorrow, fear not! There are metadata management software solutions at hand to help you out.
Gracenote, MusicStory and The Echo Nest are software applications that help DSPs; Digital service providers, i.e. streaming platforms like Spotify.
What is more, they also deliver descriptive and subjective metadata. This helps the DSP with voice search carried out over an Alexa for example.
On the other hand side, there are companies like VivaData, Exploration and TuneRegistry. They help indie record labels, artists and publishers to figure out solutions for metadata management software.
What is more, these software solutions also handle internal metadata management as well as taking care of the back catalogue. You can also fix corrupted/incomplete metadata. What is more, they offer smooth solutions for the data flows you deliver throughout the industry with your metadata.
Here are easy to follow tips on how to execute metadata management best practise. Firstly, try to implement a stringent policy when it comes to handling metadata.
Use software like SoundCredit and Auddly. They can help you embed metadata directly into DAW-files. This is a common file in the recording studio.
That way you can keep credits in the same place and maintain the consistent record of all song versions and collaborators across all music files.*source, SoundCharts
Splits can help you manage music rights professionally.
Songspace can support teamwork. This will achieve the best work-flow and productivity. It unites all different solutions that teams might use like Google Drive or Excel. What is more, you can also take care of metadata over Songspace.
Make sure to talk about the topic of metadata early on in the recording process. That way, nobody forgets it in the rush of finishing the recording. Corrupted or broken ownership metadata means that the collaborators and songwriters will not get paid properly.
Also, a lot of session musicians get their next gig through the metadata information. This makes filling out the metadata so incredibly essential.
There are many pitfalls to that. Luckily, the Music Business Association has created a super handy manual for filling out metadata in the right way.
Metadata Makes You Money
Metadata Management can be a very stressful issue. Including many different parties like producers in the recording studios, record labels and DSPs.
However, at the end of the day, the equation is simple. Good metadata management makes you money.
Bad metadata management can give you all sorts of problems. As well as losing you a lot of money.
What is worst, bad metadata can display your music on Spotify and co. wrongly or it ends up on the wrong profile.
In order to adverse such a horrific outcome, there is just one way. Suck it up and get metadata management right!