The Bare Bones Of Metadata

Here at Quantone, it seems as though our favorite word is metadata. It’s at the heart of everything we do, and we can’t stop talking about it. However, the word metadata by itself is rather ambiguous. Merriam-Webster Online defines the word, which was first coined in 1983, as “data that provides information about other data.” While it may just seem like technical jargon, metadata is pivotal in many aspects of modern life. But how exactly is it important to your music, and what are we doing with it? Take a look and we’ll show you.

Metadata and Music

As we pointed out in last week’s article on the Virgin Disruptors debate, the music industry is an ever-morphing beast. New ways of discovering and consuming music are brought to the market on a daily basis thanks to streaming services and digital music retail to name a few. Unlike the traditional vinyl, cassettes, and (dare we say it) CDs of yesteryear, digital music has gone beyond the production and distribution model. Digital music requires a certain je ne sais quoi to enrich discovery for consumers and monetization for artists and others involved in the production process. How can this be done? With the curation of the right metadata, of course! Our friends at the Music Business Association have outlined two specific forms of metadata that are crucial to digital music. The first is contextual metadata, which is “primarily text-based information assets” such as artist biographies or recording credits. The second is archival metadata, or “information surrounding non-master based media such as images and video footage.” In today’s industry, these two forms of metadata can translate to business opportunities and ways of enhancing consumer engagement with music if used appropriately. That’s where we come in with our new and improved API. We specialize in finding and curating both contextual and archival metadata so that our customers can use this information for anything from creating a new music discovery applications to digitizing their own libraries. With this metadata, we’ve created a web of interconnectivity amongst artists, producers, venues, composers, samples and others involved in the music making process.

Benefits of Good Metadata

We have stressed how well-curated metadata can be used to create a better experience for the music lover. Not only can it lead to new music discovery and better understanding of the music making process, it can also affect a consumer’s direct relationship to an artist. Some consumers may want to learn more about an artists’ lifestyle so that they may adopt it for themselves. Say, for instance, you love Lady Gaga’s nails on the Born This Way album cover. Or maybe you envy Rihanna’s asymmetrical hair style from the “Diamonds” music video. There’s metadata for that, and it can give you the ‘who’ and ‘how’ in case you want to replicate them. In certain cases, we store this type of information in our API for future clients to come along and leverage it to make a new product. Where consumers benefit from good metadata, artists and other people in the industry benefit as well. When metadata is used correctly, it can create revenue through better licensing and enhanced formats. Well-curated metadata can lead to an improved distribution of royalties to the people who have put in the hard work among other things. Overall, good metadata creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. That’s why we put in the hard work everyday to make sure our clients have what they need to create the next new thing that might revolutionize music as we know it. Now do you understand why we’re so crazy about metadata? As always, let us know your thoughts by following and tweeting us @quantonemusic.



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