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DDEX has developed Recording Information Notification (RIN), a standard that allows studio equipment manufacturers, including Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) manufacturers, to enable their users to capture and store essential metadata and then communicate it into the commercial supply chain alongside the audio files. As RIN is one of the DDEX family of standards, the metadata will be interoperable with all the other DDEX standards used to communicate data along the supply chain. This opportunity for studio personnel to capture meaningful metadata will ultimately enable retailers to have better metadata about the products they are selling and will facilitate the process by which all rights holders and other contributors are properly remunerated.
A description of the Recording Information Notification is provided for web reading and for printing. Technical information, including the RIN XML Schema Definition, a number of sample RIN files, and a human readable representation of these, can be downloaded as zip archive (via the dark blue box here).

Introduction to RIN

DDEX, Digital Data Exchange has, in the past decade, developed standards for the communication of metadata along the music supply chain. These include: product feeds from record companies to online retailers; sales and usage reports from retailers to owners of rights in sound recordings and/or musical works; messages to support the licensing of musical works; and the communication with and amongst music licensing companies, including those who represent performers.
It is estimated that around  two to three thousand companies, from large multinationals to small or niche companies, that are part of the digital music supply chain and wish to find an efficient way to communicate the necessary metadata, are using DDEX standards.

DDEX standards help to make the flow of essential metadata easier and more efficient. However, companies have to rely on good metadata being put into the supply chain, to allow it to be available to retailers as well as to those organisations that distribute royalties to rights owners such as labels, publishers, writers and performers. One of the best sources for good metadata about music is the place where the music is made: the recording studio.

DDEX has developed its Recording Information Notification (RIN) standard that allows studio equipment manufacturers, including Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) manufacturers, to enable their users to capture and store essential metadata and then communicate it into the commercial supply chain alongside the audio files to which the metadata relates. As RIN is one of the DDEX family of standards, the metadata will be interoperable with all the other DDEX standards used to communicate data along the supply chain.

When studio personnel use this opportunity to capture meaningful metadata, it enables retailers to receive better metadata about the products they’re selling and it facilitates the process by which all rights holders and other contributors are properly remunerated.

Background

The process of capturing sound from a microphone to releasing a finished recording is a complex, iterative one. Every stage in this cycle can lead to new audio creations, be they a new composition, a new guitar track, a new mix, etc. The figure below shows an exemplary diagram of the process that leads to the production of two masters that may find their way into a music product.

In each of these “studio events”, there are a number of metadata elements that may be important to capture. Who performed which musical work? Who played which instrument? When and where was this performance recorded? Who was the sound engineer? Which recording components (or, in studio parlance: tracks) were used to create a specific mix? And which sections of these recording components have ultimately been used? These pieces of information are important for several reasons, including:

  • It is only possible to attribute credits and distribute royalty payments to the correct people if the appropriate metadata is captured and communicated to those organisations that need to have that metadata. Amongst these are music publishers, labels,and rights societies for musical works, sound recordings and performers. 
  • The richer the data provided to retailers, the better they can market their products. That can increase the audience and, thus, the revenue a sound recording may generate. For instance, the information that Elton John was a studio musician on some of The Hollies’ recordings would allow the retailer to include the relevant Hollies’ songs on an Elton John artist page. This may lead to Elton John fans also wishing to listen to and buy some of The Hollies’ songs.

 

It is thus important to include essential information on all recording components, mixes and masters, and to communicate this information, together with the music they describe, into the supply chain. 

How much data is enough?

The more metadata provided, the better. However, capturing metadata about the recording or mixing event is usually not a priority for musicians when they get together in a studio to make a recording.

Clearly there needs to be an easy way to capture the metadata, and DAWs will play a major role in this as their user interfaces incorporate easier mechanisms for the capture of rich metadata.

In this context, there is a minimum metadata set that, if captured and communicated about each recording component, would drastically improve the metadata about recordings that flow through the supply chain. The Recording Academy, through its Producers and Engineers Wing, has developed such a data set and it is available from https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/basiccreditslist.pdf.

RIN, as described in the next section, can capture and communicate all of these data elements, and many more.

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