Scott here. When last we talked about embedding metadata in your label’s digital content, we talked about PDFs, photo metadata, and before that, audio metadata. Today we’re going to return to the world of audio meta tags and talk about ways that you can speed up your own metadata processes.
In our previous coverage, we talked about the many varied forms of metadata, pursuant to the particular file type being saved. To recap our larger points:
- Embedding metadata in audio files = a way to hedge your bets for future metadata readability.
- Making meta embedding a regular practice = highly recommended.
- A plethora of graphical user-interface music taggers (both open source and proprietary) exist.
If you read between the lines on that piece, we were subtly aiming at people just starting off with a label, or those without much audio data to steward.
But what happens if you have -- as we have previously termed it -- a buttload of data that needs to be cleaned (or a buttload of files without any tags at all)? Starting from scratch is a daunting process that can really put you off the job.
Luckily, when it comes to humans, we’ve pretty much wrote the book and bought the t-shirt when it comes to batch-automation of otherwise boring work, and metadata automation is just one example. There are a couple ways to do it -- with some more technically inclined than others -- but we’ll show you how to get started.
When it comes to WAV metadata, BWF MetaEdit is the gold standard for the de facto high-rez audio standard. While some freeware (and many hostageware) programs claim to do imports and exports, most will only export the given metadata from a directory. The great thing about BWF MetaEdit is, once you’ve exported and sussed out what metadata needs to be fixed (or in most cases, added from scratch), you can upload the same spreadsheet of data back into BWF ME to overlay on your WAV files.
The same principle can be done with MP3 files -- god knows you won’t be saving your master audio as MP3s (riiiiight?) but if you offer complimentary digital downloads, it’s probably a good idea to embed those meta tags for your paying customers. (It’s just common courtesy!) Or more importantly, if you send off MP3s as promotional or review copies, I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than asking people to give your label’s music a chance, only to find out that your digital audio is as bereft of information as a redacted CIA dossier.
Luckily, I got you covered. Over at GitHub, I’ve posted a fairly simple Python script that will allow you to revise and embed the ID3 tags in your MP3s in almost exactly the same way as BWF MetaEdit (except without the snazzy graphic user interface). You might need to ask one of your nerdier friends to help you install Python on your computer (along with Mutagen, a Python library for editing digital audio metadata), but once you have it up and running, it’s a breeze.