The process of capturing sound with 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 worth capturing. 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[1]) were used to create a specific mix? And which sections of these recording components have been used? These pieces of information are important for several reasons, including:

  • It is only possible to attribute credits to the correct people and arguably even more important the correct royalty payments, if the appropriate metadata is captured, and communicated to those organisations that need to have that metadata. Amongst these are music publishers, music rights societies for the musical work, and labels and music licensing companies for rights for sound recordings and performers; and
  • The richer the data provided to retailers, the better they can market the products. That can potentially increase the audience and, thus, the revenue a sound recording and all the rights associated with it, 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.Process leading to two masters (exemplary)Figure 1 – Process leading to two masters (exemplary)

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[1]  DDEX decided to not use the term “track” as this term has different meanings in different parts of the music industry and may, thus, lead to confusion. It will, however, be up to the user interface of the RIN-enabled application or equipment to use a term suitable for its audience.