The Dreaded Metadata


As a musician, the best part of what we do is creating music. However, if you want to be paid for creating, then you have to get into the boring stuff as well. Enter, the DREADED METADATA!


The word “metadata” sounds a little scary and mysterious, but really, it’s just information about data. It puts data in context.


When you release a piece of music, there is an abundance of information that travels across the web. This sounds technical, or for some of us, even a little nauseating. But when you think about it, it’s not that complicated.   Metadata includes the following:

  • Album Name
  • Artist Name
  • Song Name
  • Copyright information
  • ISRC
  • UPC
  • Writer
  • Engineer/Producer
  • Publisher

Metadata tells the story of what is going on with your music.


As you can tell by the list above, metadata goes hand in hand with your revenue. When a piece of your music is sold, streamed, or played on the radio, metadata helps guarantee appropriate compensation for the creative content you have worked so hard to make. It is an electronic link that attaches your information to the sales, streaming, and royalty figures of a given work.


In other words, accurate metadata helps you get paid.


In the recent past, lack of sufficient metadata worked against musicians. Take this example: In the 90’s, there was a band called Morphine. Their first album, “Good,” was released on Accurate Records, a label owned by Russ Gershon. ‘Good’ was released in 1992 and did great. In fact, it did so well that Rykodisc signed Morphine away from Accurate and re-released the same record in 1993.


Morphine’s compensation package gave them a big upfront from Rykodisc but a smaller percentage backend. Of course, over a song’s lifetime, that backend revenue is worth more than the upfront loan against royalties.


Both versions of the album continued to be played, but back then Radio Station Automation Systems didn’t have ISRC or even record label information as metadata. Consequently, when a song from ‘Good’ was played on the radio, it was usually assumed that the recording played was from the Rykodisc release.  

read the full article here.