Metadata For Music: The Importance Of Music Metadata - Get It Right and Get Paid!

Metadata For Music: Ensuring your music metadata is thorough and accurate is of the utmost importance. But it’s often overlooked because not enough emphasis is placed on how crucial it is.

Providing the required song metadata could be the difference between success and failure. The metadata involves everyone associated with the music, including artists, songwriters, producers, and record labels. Accurate metadata ensures that those involved are credited and compensated for their contribution.

In this article, we’ll discuss precisely what music metadata is and how it could impact your music career. We’ll also provide you with our top metadata tips to ensure you get it right and get paid.

What is Music Metadata?

Music metadata is a set of data that breaks down all the information relating to a master sound recording, album release, and composition. This includes data relating to ownership, writers, lyrics, contributing artists, genre, and more.

Independent artists and record labels actively releasing music are responsible for providing this information. They must ensure the data is correct and as comprehensive as possible.

Accurate song metadata is necessary to ensure that everyone involved in creating the recording and song is appropriately compensated for their work. Without it, performers, songwriters, producers, remixers, arrangers, and featured artists would not receive royalty payments when the music is distributed, sold, and used commercially.

Some of the metadata can be embedded into the audio files using tagging tools. But it’s essential to input all the correct information through the provided metadata forms when working with a music distributor or when attempting to submit products directly to a digital service provider.

What Does Song Metadata Include?

The more information about the music you include in your metadata, the better. However, these are the core elements that should be included:

  • Primary, Featured, and Contributing Artists
  • Release Title
  • Record Label
  • Track Title
  • Genre and Subgenre
  • Composer
  • Producer(s)
  • Publisher
  • Lyrics and Language
  • Recording and Composition Owners
  • Year of Composition and Recording

With a digital music distributor like Sugo Music Group, you’ll be guided through the process every step of the way. They’ll provide you with a welcome package detailing all the information you should include with your release when signing up.

Why is Song Metadata Important?

First and foremost, accurate metadata is essential to receiving royalty payments and being compensated for your music.

Song metadata is also key to regulating the use of commercial music properly. Without this, your music is available to the world to stream or download. And it’s not always done legally.

You’ll notice that when your music sells on any platform, your artist and release information is shared. It’s visible on the platform and through linked data analytics software.

As a result, users are aware of the registered rights associated with the music. And this makes it easy for rights owners to be compensated for their works.

Steaming services also make use of song metadata to maintain quality control on their platforms. So, if there’s information missing or input incorrectly, you could find the service preventing your music from being released.

What Does Music Metadata Affect?

Incorrect metadata could mean no payment or compensation will be paid to songwriters and publishers of the work.

The omission of accurate song metadata makes tracking statistics near impossible. It will also prevent digital services from placing the music in front of the right audience.

As mentioned above, this could have catastrophic consequences for receiving royalty payments for commercial use of your music. It will also impact the receipt of payment for official sales made through any platform.

Song metadata is crucial to the identification of registered contributors. PROs use music metadata to verify the use of the compositions and distribute royalty payments appropriately. Incorrect metadata could mean no payment or compensation will be paid to songwriters and publishers of the work.

Over and above this, you’ll lose out on statistics that contribute to monitoring your progress as a musician. These include the number of plays you receive and demographic information related to the user.

The exclusion of music metadata will also prevent you from obtaining recognition for your work. Without the credit, no one will know who you are. And this could have a disastrous impact on your success as an artist, songwriter, or producer.

Your music will also be less discoverable on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, and more without the proper song metadata.

Often, if one piece of metadata is missing, the music product will be removed from distribution by the service provider.

Sugo Music Group will help to ensure the correct music metadata accompanies your release. This type of audited quality control ensures that your music product will be available in over 200 streaming and download services partners worldwide.

Your sales and play count figures are also integral to securing potential sponsors. And it’s also something record labels will undoubtedly look at when they consider signing you. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure your metadata is correct once its released.

Distribution of Music Metadata

We’ve established the importance of song metadata and the impact the data can have on an artist’s career and income. But how do you ensure that this necessary data is distributed and collected effectively?

Ease of access to music metadata can be challenging and somewhat limited. But there are two primary sets of data you should be aware of. They are:

  1. The International Sound Recording Code (ISRC): This relates to all information regarding the sound recording.
  2. The International Standard Work Code (ISWC): This is representative of the musical composition.

The problem is that several institutions control different portions of this information. And both sets of data are required for accurate artist identification and royalty payments.

Each platform’s interface currently has a different field structure for inputting credits and information about the music. When synchronized with databases and critical role players, some of this information is lost. This alone highlights the need for the standardization of fields and data shared. Working with a music distributor can ensure accuracy and deployment.

How To Input Music Metadata Effectively

Metadata For Music: Contributor Names!

You must spell the names of those who contributed to the music correctly. If there are any errors, the musician in question may not receive compensation.

Metadata For Music: Language!

Information regarding the language of the release must be included and accurate. What language is the release name written in? What language are the lyrics written in? You should also indicate whether the music contains explicit lyrics.

Metadata For Music: Accurate Data!

Never misrepresent yourself or others by including information that is purposefully inaccurate or false. This will only confuse users and the streaming platforms. It may also harm your reputation.

Metadata For Music: Artwork!

Ensure that your artwork is in line with the style guide requirements and recommendations of each streaming service. For instance, your artwork should not include any social media links or URLs. And refrain from using excessive text on your album or single artwork.

Metadata For Music: Relevant Information!

Input information relevant to your music, genre, and audience. Don’t add information for the sake of appearing in a broader range of searches. This will not serve you as an artist.

Metadata For Music: Stay Informed!

Stay up to date with the latest trends in song metadata. There are changes on the horizon with companies like DDEX working on the standardization of metadata shared. There are also exciting prospects relating to Blockchain and the storing of metadata that could be a game-changer. Working with a music distributor will ensure effective and widespread metadata submissions for your works.


As I’m sure you can see, including the correct metadata for music with your release is paramount to your success as a musician.

At Sugo Music Group, they’ve streamlined the process to make it easier than ever to distribute your music and get your metadata 100% compliant. With over 35 years in the industry, you can rely on Sugo to get your metadata right the first time. All metadata is audited for 100% accuracy and compliance.

The importance of getting the metadata right is equal to the significance of the music itself. And it’s up to you to ensure that proper attention is given to the data shared.


  • theIndie Editor

    Sam Poole is a content writer with a deep love for music and the music industry. As theIndie Editor, Sam aims to provide practical and actionable tips to help indie artists effectively promote their music and succeed.

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