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+ WHY DO WE NEED IT?
There are countless stories of music creators who’ve lost income due to music being incorrectly attributed – it’s been going on for decades. Even Emily who created ConnectsMusic, tells of her first ever release Cotton Skies receiving great radio play across the network, but when at college and releasing her debut work, she didn’t know then the importance of metadata.. Her music rights income was lost, never to be retrieved..
This has been going on throughout the history of the recording industry, we even know of a drummer playing on a major pop tune, taking the session fee at the time, and then many years later finding that someone else was registered as playing drums on the track, and receiving all the subsequent royalties. This is not uncommon..
The same way us music creators register and check our tax is correct, we also need to register and check our metadata.
So what is Metadata – it’s data about data.. yes a funny thing to say, but that’s what it is 🙂
Data can be embedded digitally within the music file or can be stored separate from the audio.
You have metadata (descriptions about), and essence (our music that we create). Without metadata, it’s like having a CD or a record without a label.
The important info that needs to be labelled, assigned, and stored about your music is who owns it and who’s played on it, to make sure that those of you who’ve created it or own it, earn money out of it, as people love, engage, and listen to your music.
Basically, music royalty distributors have a pie of money per year that they divide up between right holders, and can only give a portion to those who they know about, and are listed as rights holders, performers etc via their metadata attached to their music output.
If you don’t fill out your metadata, then someone else can possibly receive the portion that should be due to you, as payment for the music you create..
If you’ve not filled out your metadata for your potentially valuable music, then you can only back-date existing music releases up to 5 years..
PLUS metadata not only makes your music traceable wherever it’s played, so you can earn the income from your creative work via music royalties and performance, but metadata also makes it discoverable – so that your existing and new audiences can find it to listen to it with digital/online systems.
Clear metadata = proper credit for your streams.
Best thing to do as a professional music creator is professionalism with your metadata!
To make it easier for you, here is a sample list of data you could expect to include before starting to distribute your music:
Track Title – the name of the piece
Genre – the main genre of the piece
Subgenre – the secondary genre
Primary Artist – the main artist on the track
Featured Artists – any other participated artists on the track
Composer – the person responsible for writing the music
Publisher – the person who represents the composer. If there is no publisher, use the composer’s name again
Additional Contributors – any other people who contributed to the music?
Explicit Content – does the song have explicit content?
Lyrics Language – the language of the sung lyrics?
Lyrics Publisher – the publisher representing the lyricist
Composition Owner – the owner of the composition rights
Year of Composition – the year the piece was produced / composed
Master Recording Owner – the owner of the sound recording
Year of Recording – the year the recording was made
Language of release – the language of the release itself. Even if you are intending to distribute your release in a different country or territory the release language must be the language of the metadata you are entering
If you’re still unsure of what metadata is, you’ll find these two videos helpful:
What is Music Metadata? / Music Biz 101
Music Metadata for streaming platforms – Jean-Luc Biaulet @Music Story – Stream byStream EP2