I have just gone through new singles for the radio station. It’s kind of strange to see how many people don’t really know what is important. Just for fun, I looked back on all the singles we added over the past six months. And these are singles from big PR agencies, Record Labels, and down to the smallest do-it-yourself artist. I checked a hundred songs. Out of that hundred, only eleven had the right metadata.
Yes, metadata is the most important thing you have when you give out music. When it comes to do-it-yourself self-artists I can understand it’s maybe not that easy, but for a PR firm or a record label, this is basic knowledge. The funny part is those eleven actually eight of them were from do-it-yourself -artists.
This problem is definitely not an amateur problem this is a big problem in the whole industry. I just want to help out so I will describe what the metadata I’m talking about and how you actually get it done.
When you send out songs to radio, pr, or anything you need to tag your songs. Most outlets today use MP3. Some people think that yes, I want to send out the highest quality, but the truth is that MP3 is the most used. I have even had songs being placed on big commercials where I asked if they wanted the wav file, but just said an MP3 is enough.
Sending out an MP3 is good enough. If you want to be sure so people can choose, send out both MP3 and Wav files. Here be sure though the metadata or tagging is right. You can tag a WAV file it’s a bit harder, so I won’t get into that since it’s not really needed. never just send out just the WAV file, which means that all that use MP3 have to process the file and both the sound can become bad and the metadata can disappear. It's extra work and a big risk. Try to control all your files that go out, but do it so all the options is there for people to choose.
Tag your MP3 is kind of easy, there are several freeware programs to do it and even include the cover picture. Other than that, you just right-click on the file and take information and fill out the fields.
Why is this important? If you just leave it blank you force the people at the radio station or other outlet that is going to use the file to fill in the information. Since we add over 50 songs a week the risk that we do spelling errors or even get the info totally wrong is kind of high. The problem is if I spell the song name wrong or the artist wrong, it can affect the PRS to match that I played your song, so in that case, you probably won’t get paid.
In reality, you can’t ask me to get all your data that I don’t have to put in right. To be sure that everything is correct you should put this in. As an artist and I tell you that most PR services or other people that send out your song don’t add this crucial information should just make you do it.
Many of the songs I got in also have marks after production. One song had a line in the metadata field “mikes sausage mix late at night”. Since it was in a field that was shown my system actually put that in as the artist's name. I wonder though who mike is and if the sausage was any good?
The lifehack here, any file you send out that is going to be public in any way, fill in all the fields, like an artist, song name at least, but the more the better so we can get everything right and that it will be easier to trace the money back to you. You as an artist are the only one losing on not writing in this info.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes futureechoes.se/. Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the newly launched Record World International.