What should a RIN File contain?
RIN is a complex file format – it has to be, to be able to adequately document the myriad aspects of a recording, mixing or mastering session. Yet, at the core RIN is also quite simple. It enables the storage and communication of who did what to, and with, what resource, where and when. The Resources referred to here can be creations such as musical works, recording components and sound recordings, but also equipment such as instruments or recording devices.
As a consequence, RIN files can be very small, providing very little information about only a few types of entities. Alternatively they can be very large, providing lots of detailed data about many entities, such as musical works, recording components and sound recordings, but also equipment such as instruments, recording devices.
This then begs the question about what a RIN file needs to contain in order to be useful. There is no single answer to this question, for example:
If a session only led to the creation of a new Musical Work, then it is perfectly reasonable to describe this session with just a MusicalWork composite that lists the (potentially preliminary) Title and the Contributors such as writers;
If a session only led to the creation of a new stem, it is equally reasonable to capture the important information in a RecordingComponent composite with just a Title, a list of Contributors and the date and location of the session in the CreationDate element. This would make this RIN file useful especially in combination with the FileCreator tag from the RIN’s FileHeader that provides information about the organisation or person that has a significant role in creating the RIN file and, therefore, for collecting the metadata;
If, however, a RIN file documents the creation of a sound recording, that may (or may not) find its way into the music industry value chain, additional data is needed in order to ensure that all people who contributed to that sound recording can be properly credited and remunerated. The Recording Academy’s P&E Wing has created a list of “credits and recording metadata” that the industry considers to be essential to be collected and preserved for each sound recording. Ideally, all RIN files that document the creation of a sound recording should therefore contain:
The name of the recording artist as it should be displayed to consumers
The name of the individual recording artists and his/her/their identifiers
The title of the sound recording
The ISRC of the sound recording
The writer(s) of the musical work that has been recorded, as well as the work’s music publisher and the Collective Rights Management organisation the writer(s) is/are a member of
The producers, engineers, performers and other contributors to the recording
The date, location and country when and where the recording took place
The format into which the recoding was fixed
Unique identifiers, ideally ISNIs, for all contributors (writers as well as recording artists, producers, engineers, performers and other contributors)