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Music & Metadata Tips

The following three articles were contributed by guest speakers and experts to NARIP’s Music & Metadata program on June 22, 2016 in Atlanta, GA.  Thank you to them for their contributions!


Article 1:

Michelle Davis’ Top 5 Metadata Tips

© 2016 by Michelle Davis for

Michelle Gilzenrat Davis, Davis Entertainment Law, LLC


  1. Record Data When You Record Music

Head to the studio with a blank spreadsheet in hand and take diligent notes. You are responsible for maintaining a master list that includes information such as song titles, album title, songwriters (and their respective percent of credit, i.e. “splits”), performing artists, producer, recording date, licenses required (did you record a cover? use a sample?), ISRC and ISWC codes as they are assigned. Keep this information somewhere safe and secure—you will need to refer to it many times down the road!

  1. Be Accurate and Consistent with Spelling and Punctuation.

Many royalty streams and tools for discovery rely on semantic matching, so it’s essential that your song titles, artist name and other data are presented identically across platforms and databases.

  1. Embed as Much Metadata As Possible at the Mastering Stage.

Your metadata should be as complete as possible BEFORE it’s released. Any information you cannot embed at the mastering stage should be associated with the tracks before they enter the marketplace; i.e. when assigned to a distributor / aggregator.

  1. Register Your Works.

Time to get your songs out there! To maximize discovery and royalty streams, register your works with a performance rights organization (BMI, ASCAP or SESAC), SoundExchange, Nielsen SoundScan and Mediabase. You can also upload a bio to Rovi, register your works with the US Copyright Office and other relevant databases. See for more ideas.

  1. Be Thorough! Use Every Data Field Available.

Whether uploading a video to YouTube or submitting your music to a PRO, use EVERY field available to describe your music. You want to put as many “hooks in the ocean” as possible to ensure your work is discovered and properly attributed.

Article 2:

Shachar Oren’s Top 3 Metadata Tips

Shachar Oren’s Top 3 Music Metadata Tips


© 2016 by Shachar Oren for

  1. Going into the studio, decide with your team who is in charge of collecting song-specific publishing and ownership data, and filing for ISWC, ISRC and publishing ownership properly (see
  1. Ensure all songs are claimed by the right artist(s) with correct percentage (%) attribution to the right creators as early as you can in the creative process. Labels and publishers can issue you ISRCs and ISWCs, respectively, should you not do so yourself, yet this sometimes causes delay in actual money collection, as it may take weeks after your release date for data to properly be entered into related databases.
  1. Ensure your Publishers, PROs, and record companies all receive properly formatted data from the above-mentioned person responsible for this: proper meta data practices and complete ISRC information. This in turn will allow all those stakeholders to properly pursue revenue from Sound Exchange, YouTube, and wherever else your recordings are exploited.


Article 3:

Your Metadata, courtesy of Kristin Thomson

Used with permission


In The Studio

Prepare For Mastering

Production Work

Databases For Recognition

Prepare For Release

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