Music File Tagging Tips

Sharing your music with media sites and podcasts? These tips (and free software) will help you spread the word about your music.

I get thousands of albums/singles/EPs sent to the Disciples of the Watch every year, and there’s one thing that’s consistent: inconsistency.

To best represent your band, use the following tips to make sure your files don’t get lost in the shuffle when submitting for press or airplay.

TAG! YOU’RE IT!

So, you’ve taken all of this time to craft your music, spent money and time recording, so why not take the proper steps to present your music properly, and effectively?

First, find a useful tagging software. One I’d recommend and use (and contributed to!) is MP3tag: https://www.mp3tag.de/ (ENG/Deutsch). Even if you use different software than what I use, the information below is still relatable to properly naming your music files.

I won’t bore you with all of the cool functionality of the software – head over to the site to see all of that.

Here’s a sample of MP3tag in action:

MP3tag software in action

As you can see, I presented the all of the information in a proper category. Remember, spelling is important! 😉

Here’s how I recommend you present the files, starting with the left-hand side of the software:

  • ARTIST – if you have all of the files selected on the right, you can easily modify all of the files at once with information that will repeat for all of the files. This also goes for ALBUM, YEAR, GENRE, ALBUM ARTIST, COMPOSER, etc. See below for proper presentation of this information.
  • YEAR – the actual year of release.
  • COMMENT – this is an optional field. Put the name of your record label, website, etc.
  • COMPOSER – you can list yourself, or whoever composed the track in this field. This is another that’s not mandatory, but can provide useful information.
  • DISCNUMBER – If you’re modifying the files of a multi-disc release, then this is useful.
  • ALBUM ART – again, with all of the files selected on the right, you can add your pretty album art to ALL of the files here! That way, when the file is being played – your art is being presented in the player!

Make sure you hit the ‘save’ icon after bulk-modifying the files, or use ‘[CTRL]+[S]’ (Windows) to save the information. MP3tag’s more recent versions will remind you to save if you forget to click save or use the keyboard shortcut.

Now, on to the details area on the right:

  • The FILE NAME is simple, and presenting the track/title isn’t a bad idea. Some people cram everything into a file name, but if you properly tag the files, that won’t be necessary.
  • Next up is the TITLE. The name of the song. That’s it. No band name, no track number, just a clear representation of the name of the song title. If there’s a reference to a song lyric that’s actually not part of the title (ex: Escape [The Pina Colada Song]) I place those in “square brackets” as they technically aren’t part of the song. As you can see from the picture above, the 3rd track ‘Inner Truths (and Outward Lies)’ is a representation of the actual song title, and I used “curved brackets” to represent this.
  • TRACK – that one is easy, too. I know sometimes artist will use 01, 02 or 1/9, 2/9 instead of how I presented it above. Personally, I like to keep it simple.
  • ARTIST – again, this is important. Make sure you properly list your band name and DO NOT USE ALL CAPS! This is a rookie move. However, if your band is an acronym (such as DVL) then caps are just fine. If this is not a ‘various artist’ release, then you can choose to modify the field on the left-hand side for all of the files at the same time. (See above.)
  • ALBUM ARTIST – this is more useful in a ‘Various Artists’ release, but I tend to repeat the name of the actual artist if it’s not a VA release. If this is not a ‘various artist’ release, then you can choose to modify the field on the left-hand side for all of the files at the same time. (See above.)
  • ALBUM – again, really important information. No artist name (unless it’s a self-titled release), just the NAME OF YOUR ALBUM. And again, unless it’s proper to do so, don’t get crazy with the caps-lock key. (Again, see above for modifying multiple files at the same time.)

Any modifications made while in the right-hand side of the software will automatically save for you when you move between the fields.

If you find yourself using the software quite a bit, please consider contributing to the creator! (And yes, I have put my money where my mouth is!) https://www.mp3tag.de/en/donations.html

ZIPPITY-DO-DIS!

First, file name. When zipping your files, make sure the first thing listed is your BAND NAME, then follow-up with the release year, then the album name:

In this case, the release is a ‘Self-Titled’ release, hence the repeating of the name and the ‘ST’ presented afterwards. This makes it easier to properly identify the album AND the release, and after unzipping, presenting the release in the chronological order:

(Windows upzipping the files to the specified folder. I simply removed the first instance of ‘Mortificator’ as there was already a folder present)
Now the files are presented in chronological order

Some record labels will add their name to the end of the file, and possible release date. That’s great and provides useful information ‘at a glance’. I usually remove that information when I unzip a file, but I also have a record in a spreadsheet to track the necessary information.

YOUR MUSIC IS IMPORTANT!

Make sure you are providing all of the proper details when you are emailing out your files (or posting them in Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) You can also create an ‘EPK’ – Electronic Press Kit – to accompany your music in the zip file.

Documents/PDFs with pertinent information, extra album art files, band photos, etc. It’s also helpful should someone share the files with a co-host so they have all of the information that they may desire when researching/discovering an artist.

Submit your Rock/Metal band at music@dotwpod.com today!

Stay safe, and stay heavy!
– Gene

A show about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music and news, both Independent and the 'Big Time' bands!

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