Metadata Costing the Industry More than Money, Delegates Told at NARM ‘Music Biz’ Summit

Panel at the 2013 'Music Biz' summit discussing metadata.

(from billboard.biz, May 7, 2013) The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles was host to the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) ‘Music Biz’ summit on metadata.

Already metadata is costing the music industry considerable money because of misspellings, multiple identities for one artist, and multiple release dates. The summit was convened with a hope of clarifying some of the confusion surrounding metadata and how to approach fixing the problem. There are many stakeholders when it comes to metadata, ensuring data is organized and authoritative will help increase sales and also increase payments to rights holders.

There are many instances within digital metadata where inconsistencies have resulted in a loss of revenue. At Spotify, Beyonce’s music has been referenced three different ways, one with the accent over her name, one without the accent, and one with the accent and additional last name Knowles. When Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s, “Accidental Racist” was released on Spotify it came in as Brax Paisley and LL Cool J. Another inconsistency is when artists change their individual or band name. The band Thirty Seconds to Mars changed their name after previously releasing three albums as 30 Second to Mars making previous metadata difficult to link with new band name.

Release dates have also been a confusing point within the industry. Rhapsody’s senior program manager, Brad Kovacs, asked, “Where is the complexity of release dates coming from?” By having multiple release dates for digital sales and streaming in different territories, there is less promotional opportunity for titles. Currently release dates include when new release information goes up, when track data can be listed, the pre-order date, and when the title can be streamed. A lot of the release dates are impacted by artist tours and different organizations putting different charts and charting periods together. NARM and other metadata organizations are trying to help relieve some of the confusion. Over 200 attended the metadata summit to try and help bring cohesiveness to the industry.