How clean is your metadata?

World copyright summit, Brussels As a lyric writer, I’m not usually terribly interested in legal affairs. They are important, I can recognise that. But it’s not something that I follow closely. But skimming through the programme of the World Copyright Summit, I was surprised to see how much data is on the agenda.

Let’s face it, data translate into money. All of our lyrics and music end up as files and are managed in large banks of other files. Whether it be for programming, licensing or the precious work that goes on at authors’ rights societies, if your data is not in order, you won’t get paid.

It’s worth remembering this the next time you make MP3 copies of your files. Check the metadata. Are the composers listed? The publisher? Is there contact info? I usually also add my URL. One of the reasons I mention this is that Last.fm now requires that you add the composer and hopefully the IIRC code to the files so they can accurately credit the people involved. As a reminder, Last.fm pays authors’ rights. I’ve often wondered how they did this, so there’s the answer right there.

Metadata and micro-payments
If you’re wondering what metadata is and how you can add it to your files, check your music software and/or use one of the many tools you’ll find on the web. For Winamp users, click the “view file info” button and you’ll be given all the various options. It’s very easy to use. Get into the habit. Increasingly, authors rights involve recovering multiple streams of micro-payments. You won’t get these without accurate metadata in your files.

Those that are legally-minded might want to get the broader picture at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels for €900 (I told you data means money). Speakers include major publishers, composers, lawyers, authors rights societies, Google or, as the French would say, the complete intellectual property ecosystem. Check the programme.

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