Metadata. Google defines metadata as: a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. So how does this apply to music? Well, imagine you have burned this wonderful CD of music that you are going to hand to music professionals at a music conference. The music is your latest and greatest. You meet some professionals, publishers & Music Supes and give them your CD. They go back to their office, put the CD into their computer and then they see:
DOH!!! They may love the song, but now it is lost in a myriad of song files they have with no way of contacting you. Sure, they may have the CD cover, somewhere, but usually the songs are uploaded into their vast database and can get lost forever.
So tagging your files with the appropriate metadata will save YOU from this problem and help THEM find your music and contact you. But it does more than that. Understanding how to tag the files appropriately, keep a music catalog with these tags, and use the tags when submitting to music libraries and Music Supervisors, can make your music more visible and findable in this vast music universe.
Here is a list of the tags that you should fill out for each song. Start with a song catalog spreadsheet. One column for each title. Then you can add them to your mp3 files as well. Use iTunes itself to tag files or Mp3tag. You can even have your Mastering engineer embed some of the data into the file itself.
Here is a photo of a line of my song catalog filled out, followed by an mp3.
In the mp3, I would have your email next to the artist or song name and even phone number so the music supe doesn’t have to go digging for your information. Remember that wav files do not retain this info. So, if your music is NOT released, burn an mp3 CD or enter the information into the Gracenotes database. See how to do this here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/how-to-submit-your-track-information-to-gracenote-using-itunes-11/
If your music has been released then you won’t have the issue of Track 1, Track 2 etc. Because iTunes will automatically find it from the Gracenotes database. At least your name, and general info will be on the track.
As far as Keywords and Moods. Be as inventive as you can. Use a thesaurus to come up with various ways to describe the moods, style, what the song can be used for. For a song that is “Happy” Just don’t say “Happy and Fun” Also say, bouncy, joyful, playful, bright, lovely, snuggly, warm, crunchy, car commercial, kids party etc… Make sure you have a list of all the instruments used in the song as well. The more descriptive you can be the better. Keeping these words in a spreadsheet or database will help you save time when submitting music. Each library/publisher has their own forms they want you to fill out, so it is easier to have these all in one place to copy from or easily fill out a checklist.
As far as “ala’s” or sound alike artists, use a google search and go to the Last.fm link that comes up. Try for at least 5 soundalikes. Here is a link from a search I did for “Sounds like Sarah McLachlan” https://www.last.fm/music/Sarah+McLachlan/+similar
I listened through some of the artist’s music that were displayed on that page and took five to put on my list. That will help when describing your music and most publishers want that when filling out their forms.
Start a catalog spreadsheet today, or use a database like Composer Catalog (Composercatalog.com) . If you don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to tag your files yourself you can use a service like Tagteamanalysis.com They will tag your files for about $4 a song.
Making sure that you have the proper metadata information will make your songs and YOU more visible and easy to contact. And we all want that!
Happy Metadata Tagging!
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Michelle is owner and operator of Licensing Songs Academy. She is building a community of songwriters that helps to support each other through the music licensing journey. Her students have a BLAST learning about licensing and creating new music! In addition to the basics of licensing music, students also learn about goal setting, how to be a professional, and learn how to fight fears through actionable steps. Michelle also motivates her students. helps them focus and grow in their musical journey! www.licensingsongs.com
Michelle Lockey is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter sharing the knowledge she has learned over the years writing for Film & TV.
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