6 State reasons to index a sound recording with metadata

1. Assign proper credit to rights holders and creative contributors
2. Link rights holders and creative contributors to unique standard identifiers
3. Geolocate creative content
4. Adopt DDEX international standards
5. Participate in trans-national standard definition
6. Improve content discoverability

Bruegel l'Ancien (1568) The Blind Leading the Blind

Bruegel l’Ancien (1568) The Blind Leading the Blind

►Create/Produce ►Tag/Declare ►Distribute ►CONSUME ►Measure ►Pay Royalty

1. Assign proper credit to rights holders and creative contributors : a digital musical sound recording is just meaningless orphan binary data if it does not embed or link itself to rights holders, contributors and descriptive information allowing context to emerge, account statement and accurate royalty payment.

Concerned are all lyricists, composers, publishers, performers and musicians, producers, music producers, recording studios, record labels, etc. Public policy supporting the production of original content should make sure those content are properly tagged (Embedded Metadata – Blockchain) before entering the commercial value chain to allow optimal exploitation and return on investment.

The lack of mechanical licenses looms as a major liability for streaming services, and the publishers’ association estimates that as much as 25 percent of the activity on these platforms is unlicensed… Spotify countered that it lacked the data to sort out which publishers had legitimate claims over songs, or even how to locate all the parties… (NY Times)

2. Intellectual propriety assets and contributors must be tied to unique standard iD’s. ISRC, ISWC, IPI, ISTC, IPN, ISAN, EIDR, ISNI are either ISO or industrial standards allowing tracing, disambiguation or machine to machine processes and must be used.

Most type of contributor or rightsholder can be linked to a specific unique identifier. These codes document the whole value chain flowchart and can allow better automated automatch processes.

3. Creative content metadata should include geolocation information with regards to several place of creation, place of birth, place of location of head office and the like. It will allow geolocation within recommendation and several other useful tasks. ISO3166-1, ISO3166-2, UN-LOCODE or .kml (Keyhole Markup Language) should be used when possible.

4. Production companies, digital agregators and content users should adopt DDEX international electronic data interchange (EDI) standards and Message Suite Standards allowing dissemination of metadata : RIN (Recording Information Notification), ERN (Electronic Release Notification), MLC (Music Licensing Companies), DSR (Digital Sales Reporting).

5. Whenever possible or sometimes necessary, Canadian stakeholders should participate in digital trans-national standard definition and engage time and efforts at tables such as : UNESCO, CISAC, ISO, DDEX, ICANN, NCUC, ISOC, W3C-RDF or IETF.

6. The music industry must rebuild confidence between rightsholders and the public, improve content discoverability based on recommendation algorithm, improve access to rich descriptive data often lost in the digital shift, engage efforts in building the semantic Web. We must allow CanCon to thrive!

We are also a bilingual digital culture watch on Delicious, Scoop.it and under hashtag #musicmetadata

TGiT is a Canadian start-up project and software built to empower creators, performers, publishers and record labels. TGiT allows “tagging at the source” for stakeholder and rightsholder. Art should never be anonymous!

Fall 2016 #MusicMetadata endeavours – CISAC ISWC Service, DDEX-RIN and a new unique musical work ID all on the horizon?

This coming fall several workgroups will be looking into new best music business practices and possibly create momentum or tension on the long path to music metadata heaven. Current initiatives are all targeted at improving the delay between the creation/recording of a work and the access to unique ID’s describing or being linked to those digital assets. Such concept is actually forming part of a pre-requisite to allow better content discoverability, a question raised by several legislations or cultural industries components and currently researched by the Canadian government (i.e. Canadian content in a digital world – https://www.canada.ca/en/services/culture/consultations.html).


MusicBiz Metadata Workgroup with collaborations from the Association For Electronic Music (@AFEMORG) is looking to establish best practices for assigning identifiers where a DJ is the songwriter, producer & artist. Collaboration/discussion are happening with digital audio software companies for adding fields to interface. A metadata handbook geared towards the electronic music community could be created as well. The specifics of this DJ community is that all rights holders are often only one individual (re. Robby Towns @NestaMusic). Its a great testing ground. Could the attribution of an ISNI with many linked creative roles for DJ’s be one way to make progress into the issue? It is believed that ISNI will shortly be announcing some new hire.

Consultant and member of the MusicBiz Metadata Workgroup Paul Jessop has been introducing the concept of a Provisional Work Identifier (PWI) – Usage of a PWI (within recording metadata) and its (public-private) registry linked to preferred ISWC are being talked about though we have no indication as to whom would take charge of such initiative. Extremely valid questions are pointed out by stakeholders including 7Digital, which wonders if a PWI would be created at the point of bouncing the audio of a session or when saving the session file of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?

The DDEX Studio Workgroup has recently produced the Recording Information Notification XSD Schema (RIN). DDEX will hold a work plenary for its members in October in Berlin. The consortium might then adopt this new standard. Unique ID’s like the ISRC, ISWC, ISNI and GRid are all part of the ”minimum” RIN Schema, but any idea about introducing a PWI has not been integrated. Could DDEX 29th plenary be a place to further work out consensus on matters of “content indexing at the source of creation”? Read on.

Surely not the least, the CISAC-FastTrack Cross-Industry Taskforce (http://bit.ly/fasttrackpreparing) has been working hard on new business rules and processes to improve the velocity of attribution and usage of the ISWC-ISO work ID (FastTrack has by the way just released the CIS-Net 5 database and Single Work Dashboard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdkLfWn6qiw). A new ISWC “Web” Service with pre-registration and pre-reconciliation processes is being looked into. This ISWC Service would be authoritative before undergoing metadata validation and reconciliation performed by national PRO’s. It could possibly be available even when the creators are known but their shares are not or when all creators and publishers are not members of a collective. The creator’s Interested Party Information (IPI) must be known, but an Online IPI Lookup Service is believed to be coming out very soon. This workflow would be rounded out by an IPI for non-society members attribution process. A searchable web service (machine-to-machine) to retrieve existing ISWC could probably be foreseen. The time delay for issuance of a new ISWC would now be driven down to Same Day/Next Day. One would wonder if real time issuance a future realistic objective of the ISWC Service or if a PWI and its downstream connection to the preferred ISWCs be an interesting alternative proposal? Are the new CISAC ISWC Service and the PWI proposal actually the same and how fast these improvements will be worked into DDEX-RIN? How will all these discussion tables connect to each other?

In the meantime, and after acquiring Medianet and Audiam, Canadian society SOCAN has opened its developers portal and Works Declaration API – https://developer.socan.ca/ We believe new services built on this interface will roll out soon. And again we wonder how well and how fast will the above improvements be taken into account by applications and SOCAN’s API. Lets hope for the best.

In Nashville, moving towards DDEX-RIN and SOCAN registrations

Jean-Robert Bisaillon, founder and CEO of Iconoclaste Music will be present at MusicBiz on the Back To The Drawing Board : New Business Models in Global Metadata panel – monday May 16th at 1PM to introduce new TGiT V2.5.1

Here are the new features added!! Download TGiT V2.5.1

Getting ready for SOCAN and MusicMark new works registration
Original title chain and distribution key
Multiple lyricists, composers, publishers and collective management affiliation

Getting ready for DDEX-RIN format transmissions
Recording studio address and UN-LOCODE location
Multiple contributors and their ISNI ID

Nashville TN (TriEx)

Music Identity (Common Metadata) Standard

(Jump to our Music Identity (Common Metadata) Standard proposal)

The music industry has recently started struggling on the notion of Fair Trade Music certification. In The Metadata Handbook Second Edition, Renée Register and Thad McIlroy review several book industry best practices and certification programs on best practices – notably the Book Industry Study Group Product Certification Program (PDCP). The book industry has regroup into BISG, a large association working on standardized best practices.

But contrary to the book industry, the music industry rights chain is composed of multiple stakeholders. The creation process is often a collaboration of several writers and composers, which can all be living in different countries and be represented by different co-publishers and sub-publishers. Further on, the recordings of those songs are licensed to music labels and TV shows, they are uploaded on the Web. All those stakeholders can possibly register a new work/recording and possibly try to control the process for good or bad reasons. Identification and registration must be done before music starts being streamed by worldwide global services…

At TGiT we think music metadata best practices and possible certification must be built upon the holistic respect of all stakeholders in order to preserve the interest and value for the new digital music listening and consuming offer.

We will soon participate in many industry gatherings and meet many industrial actors involved in discussing music metadata (#musicmetadata) : DDEX Plenary, MusicBiz Metadata Summit, MIDEM, UNESCO-OCCQ International Symposium on the Measurement of Digital Cultural Products.

On the eve of those events, we wish to get more actively involved and to open discussion on the notion of a Music Identity Standard. We are well aware that the field set we are proposing will not encompass all situations and trade needs, but we have based the development of our own open source tool on this set and we think it is a good place for music creators and first rights holders to get started. We are actively seeking collaborations to further transmit this basic set to the value chain, knowing that bridging data is always possible if a minimum is done at early stage of content distribution.

Please comment this post and come over to our panels and presentations. We need to get moving!


TGiT Music Identity (Common Metadata) Standard

TGiT Music Identity (Common Metadata) Standard (EN) (63 Fields)

Work level | A musical creation/composition distinct from its consequent recording
Work level – Title (TrackTitle is used for metadata tagging)
Work level – ISWC
Work level – Writers (Lyricists) (Multiple entry)
Work level – Writers (Lyricists) – Place of creation (UN/LOCODE)
Work level – Writers (Lyricists) – Date of Birth
Work level – Writers (Lyricists) – ISNI
Work level – Writers (Lyricists) – IPI
Work level – Writers (Composers) (Multiple entry)
Work level – Writers (Composers) – Place of creation (UN/LOCODE)
Work level – Writers (Composers) – Date of Birth
Work level – Writers (Composers) – ISNI
Work level – Writers (Composers) – IPI
Work level – Original Publishers (Multiple entry)
Work level – Original Publishers – Location (UN/LOCODE)
Work level – Original Publishers – ISNI
Work level – Original Publishers – IPI
Work level – Lyrics
Work level – Lyrics – ISTC
Work level – Lyrics Language

Track level | The recorded performance of a work by a set of artists, musicians and contributors
Track level – MainArtist – Name
Track level – MainArtist – Place of performance (UN/LOCODE)
Track level – MainArtist – Date of Birth
Track level – MainArtist – ISNI
Track level – MainArtist – IPN
Track level – MainArtist – Attached Picture (Main Artist Photo)
Track level – Musicians (Multiple entry)
Track level – Musicians – Instrument
Track level – Musicians – Place of performance (UN/LOCODE)
Track level – Musicians – Date of Birth
Track level – Musicians – ISNI
Track level – Musicians – IPN
Track level – Featured Guest – Place of performance (UN/LOCODE)
Track level – Featured Guest – Date of Birth
Track level – Featured Guest – ISNI
Track level – Featured Guest – IPN
Track level – ISRC
Track level – Version Information
Track level – Recording Time (Duration)
Track level – Genre
Track level – Tags
Track level – Comments
Track level – Production Company – Name
Track level – Production Company – CMO Affiliation Location (UN/LOCODE)
Track level – Production Company – ISNI
Track level – Recording Studio – Name
Track level – Recording Studio – Location (UN/LOCODE)
Track level – Recording Studio – ISNI
Track level – Recording Date
Track level – Music Producer – Name
Track level – Music Producer – ISNI
Track level – Mixer
Track level – Mixer – ISNI

Project level | A bundle of recorded musical works ready for commercial release
Project level – Release Title
Project level – Compilation (Y/N)
Project level – Label – Name
Project level – Label – ISNI
Project level – Label – Location (UN/LOCODE)
Project level – Label – Release Territory
Project level – Catalog Number
Project level – Barcode (UPC/EAN)
Project level – Release Time (Date)
Project level – Attached Pictures (cover art, booklet, etc.)
Project level – Track Number and Total Tracks (xx/xx)

TGiT Third Party Transmissions under planning

The world of music metadata start-ups and databases is growing at a crazy pace. Making sure the descriptive and work declaration info is transmitted to the value chain promptly has become an amazing challenge. Nowadays, a master recording without its master metadata is a lost asset. TGIT has identified this list of priority targets for music metadata transmissions and has started talks, negotiations and transmissions with several of them. Expanding transmissions is our goal for the months leading to V3.0. Stay tuned.

APEM – Évangéline
Artisti (UDA)
AWAL – Kobalt Music Group
BAnQ (Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec)
Believe Digital


BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
CD Baby
CD1D – 1DTouch
CISAC – Common Information System (CIS) – Common Search Index (CSI) – Common Works Registration (CWR) – International Standard Recording Code (ISWC) – Interested Parties Information Code (IPI)
CMRRA (CSI inc.)
FACTOR Completion Report & Materials
FastTrack – CIS-Net
International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)
International Standard Text Code (ISTC)
Internet Archives
LAC (Library & Archives Canada)
LAST.FM Audioscrobler and Artist Wiki
MusicMark (ASCAP, BMI)
Nielsen Soundscan
ROVI – allmusic (AMG)
Select Digital
Stingray Entertainment
The Orchard
TITE-LIVE Mediabase Pro
Transparency Rights Management
Vericast (BMAT)

Bearing Point France and Berklee Fair Music studies struggling to define music metadata standards

In July 2015 we have witnessed the publication of two important music industry studies on fair remuneration for the music industry stakeholders. The first is European, drafted by Bearing Point, commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, and the second is American by the Berklee School of Music and partly commissioned by the Kobalt Music Group.

Both studies are giving a shot at defining what should be standard metadata fields for the industry. But as it’s always been, they come up with different sets and semantics to define the descriptive information everyone should adopt and provide. As always, there is an obvious lack of communication within our industry.

We at TGiT have been closely involved with several industry partners over the course of time to contribute in solving this issue. We have been involved with creators and with rightsholders at PRO level and recording industry level. We like to consider our project as being co-constructed and open-innovation. We have received public funding from the Canada Media Fund and Musicaction.

Following are the links to the above mentioned studies as well as their proposed information mapping. Finally, we offer you our own mapping and invite you to try the free TGiT B2B Music Tagger.

Bearing Point Study – Feasibility study on the creation of an open cultural data registry, (in french) (France Culture and Communications Ministry), July 2015, page 12.
Short link http://bit.ly/MCCopenculturedata (http://www.culturecommunication.gouv.fr/Politiques-ministerielles/Industries-culturelles/Actualites/Publication-de-la-synthese-de-l-etude-de-faisabilite-relative-a-la-mise-en-place-d-un-registre-ouvert-de-metadonnees)

Name of work (Title)
Names of creators
Names of contributors

Berklee Fair Music Project, Fair Music : Transparency and Payment flows in the music industry, July 2015, page 25, http://www.rethink-music.com/download-page

Title of song played (Title)
Musical composition copyright owner
Sound recording copyright owner
Duration of stream
Type of stream (on-demand, radio)
Year of release
Any special unique work identifiers promulgated by a Fair Trade NGO

Unlike other music taggers, TGiT is an open software project created with professionals with their specific needs in mind. It is now available on this very website. This free software allows songwriters, composers, music publishers, performers and labels to tag and export standard data fields. It currently allows to create single songs or albums projects in MP3-ID3 tags and FLAC Vorbis Comments tags. Its easy and it will evolve. You can save and re-open projects and their associated audio files using the simple text .tgit format extension.

Our mapping includes all the fields identified by the studies mentioned in the current article, and is the following.

Track Title (Title)
Version Information
Compilation (Y/N)
Release Name (Album)
Lead Performer
Lead Performer ISNI
Contributors (Guest Performers, Lyricist, Composer, Publisher, Label Name, Producer, Mixer, Recording Studios, Featured Guests)
Contributors ISNI (coming soon)
Recording Time
Release Time
Original Release Time
Catalog Number
Primary Style
Attached Pictures (cover art, booklet, etc.)
Track Number and Total Tracks (e.g. 2/9)
User tags
User comments

Start using TGiT now! http://bit.ly/downloadtgit2 (MAC and Windows, English and French)

Art is Never Anonymous | #musicmetadata from iconoclaste musique on Vimeo.

Musimorphoses – How to reach a better and more open music metadata eco-system

Indexing at the source by creators, quality of descriptive Small Data, direct allocation of unique ID’s to ease tracking of content – here are the subjects I addressed in Paris at the Musimorphoses conference on November 13th.

In 2008, François-Xavier Nutall, Consultant supérieur / Technology Intelligence at CISAC, presented a visionary keynote on the music metadata eco-system of the near future. Seven years later, lots of it never saw the light of day even if the industry agrees that the current state of digital documentation is far from flawless. My presentation at the Musimorphoses conference this week in Paris will draw from this proposed model and compare it with the current initiatives.

For reference, here is the translation of FX Nutall classic keynote on unique identifiers for the music industry.

This video was shot at the 2008 WIPO conference on collective rights management held in Brussels. François-Xavier Nutall, Consultant supérieur / Technology Intelligence for CISAC, gives a great rap on how unique IDs must be used by the music industry to ease the rights reporting systems. One can wonder what remains from this original vision.


Now that DRM are a thing of the past, we need alternative informations to identify musical works and contents and to allow efficient collective management. Il will try to explain you the new panorama.

Technology has strong impact on rights management. First, rights generated by a single musical transaction have dropped dramatically : 15 cents of Euros for selling a CD, 8 cents of Euros for selling a download and 0,002 of an Euro for an on-line radio stream. Second, monthly transactions received by collective rights management societies are on a drastic rise : 20 millions in 2008, 70 millions in 2010 and an expected 100 millions monthly transactions in 2012. These are transactions our computer systems will need to process. Third, consequence of unlimited digital storage space, the number of recordings available is rising from currently 8 millions to an expected 12 millions in 2012 on iTunes. This is what we need to anticipate.

What should we do about this? Let me give some examples of how inter-related unique identifiers could be used to address these matters. You may already know ISAN, the audiovisual and film identifier. Most films include a soundtrack made of several different recordings who should all correspond to each a unique recording standard ISRC code. Ideally there should be a direct link created between a single ISAN and all of the ISRC for the sound recordings present in its soundtrack. Lets keep on. Each recording encompasses an underlying composition or musical work identified by an ISWC. A one on one link will be created between all ISRC and its corresponding composition ISWC. There is currently efforts involved to allow future automated matching of recordings and works. Rights collectives receive sales reports based on recordings information. We must therefore translate those recordings into corresponding work titles to be able to pay back lyricists and composers. We’ve already mentioned the explosion of transaction volumes, if we don’t increase auto-matching at CMO’s level, we will crumble under management costs.

Lets move further. Also exists the ISMN International Standard for Music Notation for musical charts or the ISTC for texts and which can be applied to song lyrics. Any recordings ISRC can therefore have its matching ISTC if it includes lyrics. Give me the chance to expand on the most recently born identifier, the ISNI or International Standard Name Identifier. CISAC is chairing the development if this new ISO ID which will cover all cultural creative industries – music, audiovisual, literature or photography to name a few. ISNI is a cross-industry bridge identifier. Lets now see how it works – to prevent anyone being afraid of clashes with the CISAC IPI proprietary identifier. ISNI will allow to travel from a creative sector to another. The IPN is the International Performer Number identifier allowing neighbouring rights to be paid out. Its now very difficult to establish a link between the IPI and the IPN, there is no formal bridge between both. We cannot create correspondence between performers and creators. By bringing together both components into a common consortium to allow the ISNI to thrive, it will be possible to create automated matches between such domains. IPI, IPN or the Library of Congress will join efforts around this universal identifier.

The ISNI is made of 16 digits allowing for several thousands of billion combinations. It should be fit for future generations. In this example using Madonna, the metadata used is the name of the lead performer as well as disambiguation data like the date of birth – August 16th and the location of birth – Michigan, to discriminate between possible homonyms. The ISNI database will then offer links to additional data sources. Without disclosing these infos, the ISNI will lead to the IPI and allow to search Madonna for her creators credentials. In a similar scenario using the IDA database, one will be able to search for Madonna data as an actress or director in an audiovisual production.

ISNI will see the light of day via a cross-industry consortium in charge of operating an International-Agency. The agency will be responsible for building, managing and making the database available to search engines like Google or Exalead, to allow for serious, granular searches. We have started obtaining commitments on the project from CISAC, IFRRO and OCLC. Neighbouring rights collective ADAMI in France and GRAMEX in Danemark have given us their support and we could envision the creation of an umbrella structure to allow more neighbouring rights collective to join. We could discuss such proposal with AEPO-ARTIS if it respects their mandate. We have also secured collaborations with the British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Library of Congress. We can already count on a large cross-industry consensus and you can contact me if you wish to join.

François-Xavier Nutall WIPO 2008 Classic Keynote on ISRC, ISWC, IPI and ISNI music IDs from iconoclaste musique on Vimeo.