ID3 tags and the next Master format after DDP

I’m not overly concerned with this because most record labels or their distributors have their own procedures in place for making MP3 files and tagging MP3s or AACs from higher res Wav, CD, or DDP “Masters” we supply, but I wonder why most mastering software don’t include full ID3 v2 tagging as specialized taggers like Jaikoz do. That seems to be the only way to get the ISRC or UPC filled in MP3. It seems most mastering software don’t bother with this, leaving some mastering engineers to search out things like Jaikoz. I’m not too concerned because I don’t want to make MP3’s anyway, with hundreds of ID3 tags, but for those who do, I would think it would be a concern. Maybe Wavelab could add ID3 v2 as an option, not necessarily the complete set of tags, but at least the ISRC and UPC field, so the client would feel like they’re getting something special for their mastering money.

This also got me to wondering what the next “master” format will be after DDP. Maybe a DDP-like full length PCM or FLAC file, but at 48k or 96k 24 bit, with full ID3 tag info replacing the current info in the PQDESCR, and probably a checksum. At some point I would think the 44.1 16 bit limitation will go away, and if someone just “has” to make a CDR from their iTunes 48k or 96k 24 bit files, they’ll just have to live with the built-in sample rate and bit depth conversion.

Maybe someone here has seen discussion about a new upcoming master format, but I’ve yet to run across it. I don’t see the record labels asking for anything different yet, and many of them use DDP at 44-16 as their master archive format, and still ask for vinyl cutting masters on CDR or DDP (which are not the best sources for vinyl), but I think it’s just a matter of time before somebody makes a new “Master” format as the CD declines.

The reason may be that there’s no real ‘need’: mp3 files are provided to the client as a ‘convenience add on’ to the primary deliverable (PMCD, DDP, wave files).

If the label and/or the client haven’t asked for the information to be encoded on the mp3s, is there really a need?

FWIW, I’ve not come across a deliverable yet that has required mp3s to be encoded with this sort of information.

Also, how do you extract the encoded information in a report to get the client to sign off on … like the CD report that WL and PlexTools Professional generate … for encoded mp3s?

Generally, mp3s aren’t useful as media for uploading to major digital distributors like iTunes anyway since they usually require wave files to be submitted. And, for example, iTunes Producer will not read ISRCs, UPCs or CD Text … this has to be separately entered on the upload (at least last time I used it).

Constructively, if you want to provide something ‘special’ in terms of mp3s, maybe focus on the quality of the codec. Like the new Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec for example (very nice by the way).

Future formats are anyone’s guess. If I was a betting person I’d be backing a digital deliverable in higher resolution.

Thanks Paul. I hadn’t heard of iTunes Producer, but it sounds similar to Tunecore in it’s Wav requirement and manual entry of the metadata. I don’t really have a problem with the existing ID3 v1 in Wavelab, but we are often asked for “encoded master Wav files”, “encoded” in the client’s mind meaning the ISRC codes would be encoded in the Wav files somewhere. I’ve heard of people putting ISRC in the bwf “comment” field, but I don’t really see the point, so we generally tell the client there’s no ISRC field in the file to put it in (which is true).

And yes, my main point was about the possibility of a higher res “master” format being accepted sometime soon, and that that format might include a full ID3 framework.

I seriously doubt the requirements for audio delivery to become of a higher standard then the one in use now. Consumers don’t mind buying a collection of 160 kbps mp3s instead of a full Audio CD (and many don’t hear any difference in quality), so what’s the point for distributors to demand 24-96, if the end product will at the most still be 16-44?

Luck, Arjan