'What about Metadata' - a video primer

A couple of months ago I received a tweet from BartonMeeks to the @bliss_music Twitter account suggesting I take a look at a YouTube video.

The video is produced by Dutch audiophile and writer Hans Beekhuyzen, explaining the basics of music metadata management.

I think it's a great primer on the subject, with some good tips and warnings about common problems. Before I " stick my oar in", here's the video for you to enjoy:

Thanks Hans! He's got more videos on different audiophile subjects in his YouTube channel.

So what are my thoughts?

Hans says to Beware of WAV - but I feel WAV is making a large strides. My thoughts are that its continued popularity amongst audiophiles has meant that programmers have more incentives to write ways to read and write tags. With the support of ID3v2 inside WAV files, we're even seeing embedded cover art inside WAVs. All that said, your general warning is a sound one, as support remains not-as-good as other formats.

One of his most important points is "the dark side". Proprietary storage mechanisms for music metadata might sometimes seem the short term best option for software developers, but long term it leads to problems. That's because the metadata cannot be shared between applications, so you end up with lost metadata, or potentially duplicated metadata (even worse in my opinion!)

It's interesting that Hans discusses Roon in this video; at the time of writing, Roon still stores its rich metadata in-app. To be fair, the highly linked, networked style of metadata doesn't necessarily apply well to the de-normalised nature of music file tagging, but it could be done, at the expense of extra tag management.

One area I disagree with Hans about is keeping artwork as small as possible when embedding. If we are talking lossless files (which we surely are these days), the image size is going to be a small proportion of the audio size, and storage space is pretty cheap. I think that where possible you should always aim to keep a "gold" archive version of your library which is as static as possible. Having lower resolution artwork is just another thing you'll have to fix later.

Finally, I had some interesting thoughts about " genre tree balancing" which I think would help with some of Hans's issues with genre.

Thanks Hans for your informative video!

Thanks to Alan Klim for the image above, and of course Hans for the video!
tags: video community

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.