Music metadata: What it is and why it is essential to digital distribution
The definitive guide to adding metadata to your music.
What’s music metadata and why is it essential to digital distribution? Read our new guide to discover everything you need to know about metadata and digital music. Learn how to add the right metadata to your music.
Music metadata is one of the pillars of digital distribution.
It ensures you’re credited when releasing your music on streaming and digital stores through services like Sepulchral Silence, and that all parties involved in the creation of a musical piece are paid their corresponding royalties due to their work.
What is music metadata?
Music metadata is the set of information embedded in an audio file describing the creation itself, such as artist name, producer, writer, song title, release date, and more! It’s used to identify, sort, and deliver your audio content.
The more detailed the metadata is, the easiest will be the collection and distribution of the royalties generated.
This crucial information around each audio content distributed helps digital service providers (DSPs) like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, or Tidal (channels integrated with Sepulchral Silence) to link the content to the corresponding rights holders.
Why is metadata so important in digital music distribution?
“The thing about metadata is this: It’s as fundamental to digital music – whether you’re making it, marketing it, or simply enjoying it – as flour is in your bread.” [quote from Spotify for artists]
Adding accurate metadata is crucial when distributing your music online because it helps algorithms in streaming platforms to easily identify tracks and associate them with the right creators.
Music metadata makes content more discoverable.
Not only it helps listeners to identify the content and its rights holders, but metadata also improves their overall experience when using music services as it can be used to recommend similar content based on their listening tastes.
Recommendation metadata describes the sound recording. These tags include options like genre, mood, or similar audio tunes, and are used by streaming platforms to match the right music with the right audience, considering their listening preferences.
Metadata is also used by those curators who are in charge of creating popular playlists on streaming platforms.
Last but not least, metadata has a key role in allocating master and publishing to right holders and related royalties payouts.
Broken or inaccurate metadata can delay your releases and make you and other collaborators lose credit and royalties owed to you.
Just let’s use an example to put things in perspective: A song is written by an artist (not only an interpreter but also a songwriter) and at the time of the recording he/she wants to feature two more artists to collaborate.
The three of them are signed by different record labels and publishers. The song has a successful projection, meaning that thanks to a good promotion and marketing strategy plan, it’s broadcasted on the radio, licensed for synchronization for a movie, and added on a service to be streamed online.
To make sure all the parts are fairly paid, they’d need to include the appropriate metadata and be correctly credited for their work every time they distribute digital music.
If some tags are missing, misspelled, or doesn’t follow the guidelines required by the DSPs when distributing the content, it can lead to insolvent payments to the rights owners involved, despite their talent and efforts.
In such cases, it’s important to ensure ownership and performing rights metadata are in place. These tags refer to the information describing the contractual agreement associated with a song.
This type of metadata can help you calculate the royalties generated.
Main reasons to include metadata
Correct music metadata is crucial to conducting a transparent music business, so let’s summarize the main reasons why it is important to double-check your metadata every time you distribute digital music.
Your music can be released online on time
When distributing your music online, remember that to avoid any copyright infringements or rejection from the DSPs, you’d need to follow their guidelines and submit correctly all the metadata requested by them.
You and your collaborators are credited for your music
Adding as many tags as possible related to every song you release, from the name of the song, artists, collaborators, and album to the release date and name of the producers and record label, will ensure that everyone is properly credited for their work.
Your music can be discovered by audiences worldwide
Curated playlists in streaming platforms are fantastic for music promotion. Getting the chance to get into a playlist isn’t easy, but when distributing your music, make sure to include tags describing the song’s genre or mood as it will help curators to connect your music with other similar tunes and get featured for their playlists.
This also will help users to find your music easily.
You are paid for your music
Making sure that every key player is credited accurately when distributing digital music will provide correct, fair, and fast royalties payouts to the right owners and collaborators. From artists to publishers, all parts count, and need to get adequately remunerated for it.
How to add accurate metadata to your music when distributing your content with Sepulchral Silence
By now, it’s clear that double-checking your metadata when distributing your music online is a must!
Every time you release music through Sepulchral Silence, you’d need to add the corresponding metadata associated with every track and album submitted.
You’d need to add key tags including, amongst others, the ones associated with the artist(s), cover art, label, genre, remix or version, language, album format, publication rights, and the corresponding ISRC and UPC numbers.
Your releases will then go through the Quality Control process which will validate and approve all the content, including audio and metadata, you want to deliver to the selected distribution channels.
Once this is done, your content will be put in front of the right audience and you’ll be able to easily track down your streams and the royalties generated by your music.